Car Insurance: Mini motorbike offences drive up premiums
August 14, 2006
They are tiny bikes that reach great speeds and make a lot of noise. But police have had enough of youths creating havoc on mini-motorbikes and now have powers to seize the annoying and sometimes dangerous toys.
What’s more, if children are riding these miniature vehicles on the pavement or road, they face prosecution just like adults. Any penalty points handed out by the court will be kept on file and activated as soon as they are old enough to apply for a driver’s licence.
For those who have penalty points, it becomes increasingly expensive to gain car insurance. And with respect to mini-motorbikes, you could have a situation where children have been prosecuted for dangerous driving on these vehicles and then struggle to find an insurance company willing to offer them a policy to insure their car once they are at the age of 17 and have passed their driver’s licence. The best case scenario is probably going to be that their premiums are sky high.
A spokeswoman for Direct Line Insurance says mini-motorbikes are now being treated as road vehicles and drivers of them have to abide by all the same traffic rules as anyone else. But while police can now prosecute youths on mini-motorbikes, they are not entirely sure yet what the nuisance makers will be prosecuted with. “You could get prosecuted for uninsured driving, paying no road tax or driving without a licence,” she says.
She also points out that just how high insurance premiums will be for those with mini-motorbike offences will depend on what police prosecute the offenders with. “It depends on what the points are for…For a speeding offence it is not going to make a big difference, but for a drink driving offence it is going to make a massive difference.”
She says for example of how prosecutions can drive up premiums, take an 18-year-old boy living in Hove, East Essex. The youth drives a 2001 Ford Fiesta car. He has been prosecuted for dangerous driving and has only had his driver’s licence for a short time. To obtain fully comprehensive cover under a Direct Line insurance policy he would pay annual premiums of £2473.80. Without the conviction the price would be £1908.90.
What is interesting about this is that if you take a female of the same age, driving the same car and from the same area, she would pay just £1218 without a conviction and £1576.05 if she had a driving conviction. So she would in fact pay less for insurance even with a conviction than a male her age without one. Why the difference in price between young men and women? The spokeswoman says that it is because statistics show that one in three young men have a serious accident within their first year of driving.
A spokeswoman at the Association of British Insurers says the chances are if you have been caught speeding on a motor bike you are going to be more at risk behind the wheel of a car than others. It’s a known fact that young men are the most at risk of having a car accident, which is why they pay so much more for their car insurance. “I think they make up 3% of the driving population but account for over 30% of all of the driving convictions. It depends on the insurance company, but we (the insurance industry) insure on risk and therefore we calculate our premiums accordingly.”
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