THE PROBLEM WITH YOUNGER DRIVERS

08 JAN

From time to time at Dawes we receive a phone call from a broker with the following enquiry:

“My client would like to add his 22 year old daughter as an additional driver on the policy for his Maserati Quattroporte. He taught her to drive himself and assures me she’s an excellent driver with a clean record.”

While that may well be true, unfortunately, the answer is always no. Though this may be frustrating, in reality insurers are protecting the safety of the young driver as well as their car.

How young is young?

For the types of vehicles we insure at Dawes, a young driver is considered to be someone under 25. This may seem quite old but it’s backed up by statistics – drivers aged between 17 and 25 represent 25% of all Australian road deaths but just 10-15% of the licensed driver population.

Dawes’ approach is one born out of our experience in the prestige motor insurance industry. “We’ve seen the trends on these types of vehicles,” says Dawes Motor team leader, Stephen Macri. “We’ve seen the higher claims frequencies and there are higher claims costs associated with younger drivers.”

It’s for these reasons that, when it comes to certain vehicles, we set the minimum age limit even higher.

“Our lower age limit can vary according to the make, model and value of the car or motorcycle. In the case of some high-performance vehicles, which are also of a high value,  such as a Ferrari, we set a minimum age of 30,” he says.

Claims insights

When it comes to younger drivers in prestige cars, there are a few issues that can create a greater potential for problems.

  • Vehicle size and power – a younger driver used to cruising around in a hatchback or small convertible can find parking a large luxury SUV, or lowered sports car, a challenge. Additionally, the powerful engines in some makes and models can be harder for an inexperienced driver to handle.
  • Driving judgement – failing to give way or not reading the traffic conditions and overestimating the amount of time they have to brake are just some of the judgement failures we see made more regularly by younger drivers.
  • Distractions – be it using a mobile phone while driving or trying to impress a carload of passengers, claims experience shows us that younger drivers are more susceptible to distraction type risks.


Other restrictions to be aware of

Mr Macri says that beyond younger drivers, there are a few other driver restrictions that brokers should be aware of.

Drivers from overseas will need to hold an Australian driver license, or if they hold an international driver licence, then sufficient experience driving in local conditions on local roads.

We don’t cover learner drivers or provisional licensees regardless of their age. We also apply upper age limits depending on the vehicle and risk assessment.

“We do have older age restrictions in place and not every scenario is the same so it is best to call us to discuss.”

Similarly, in the underwriting process, Mr Macri says that Dawes “crosses the t’s and dots the i’s a little more than your standard motor insurer or insurance underwriting agency”.

“When assessing claims history, we want to know the number of motor claims a driver has made over a five-year period (rather than three) and the cost of those claims. While we don’t specifically look at the number or type of driving infringements, we do consider the consequences of any driving infringements such as a loss of licence.”

First class insurance with Dawes

With Dawes, your client’s prestige or classic cars and motorcycles are in safe hands. Visit our website or call us on 1300 188 299 to learn more about our first class insurance for first class vehicles.