If you read my post yesterday, you will know just how much I’ve loved having a teenage son who is able to drive. It has taken a lot of pressure off me.
But I didn’t ever want him to drive to school. There is a reason why I have a car and that’s because I need it myself. I need it for various things, but particularly for driving my younger son to school. If I don’t have my car, I can’t drive my younger son to school.
Apart from driving my son to school, there are things that crop up in the day. I often need to do a bit of shopping (I can walk, but walking eats into my work time and I can’t carry very heavy stuff). I may have appointments in the day or be called for a meeting with a client.
In short, I need my car.
But my eldest was forever asking to take the car to school. I know it was so he could show off to his friends, and I could kind of get that.
Last week, my son needed to carry something big and heavy to school, which he couldn’t take on the bus. So I let him take the car for only the third time ever. It wasn’t convenient as it meant my husband had to take my younger son to school and pick him up again – setting off for work late and leaving early.
Around 1pm, my son rang me. He never rings me during the day. It had to be something bad.
‘I’ve crashed the car.’
It wasn’t a bad crash, he wasn’t hurt, and it was totally the other driver’s fault. The other driver had admitted liability and had even let my son photograph his insurance documents. There was a witness, not known to either my son or the other driver, who confirmed the other driver was at fault and had given my son his name and number.
I was shocked, but calm. My son was fine. There was minimal damage to my car (although it would need fixing). As it wasn’t my son’s fault, there was no horrible excess to pay.
I rang the insurance company to report the ‘non-fault’ accident. They were very nice and very helpful and I had all the information they needed.
As it happened, I’d intended to phone the insurance company that day anyway, to make some changes to my policy, due for renewal in a few days. I’d had to think carefully about whether we wanted to renew, as having my son on the insurance meant it would go up to £1,100 (from just over £200) for the year. But I knew I wanted to have him on the insurance, both for himself and for me.
So I got asked to be put through to the renewal department to give them the extra information. I wanted to increase my annual mileage limit from 7000 to 9000 (because the mileage on my car was definitely increasing with having an extra driver) and I needed to report a claim on my husband’s insurance. Back in the summer, I’d managed to scrape another car in a car park, while driving my husband’s car. There was no damage to his car, but the other car was scratched quite badly and we’d had to claim on my husband’s insurance.
Despite being a slightly clumsy driver, I had nine years’ no claims on my own insurance.
Yet suddenly my renewal quote was £2,710.
TWO THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND TEN POUNDS.
I had to ask him to repeat it, because I didn’t understand what I was hearing.
How does that make any sense? The cost of a year’s insurance was more than the value of my car.
Because I’d scraped my husband’s car and claimed on his insurance. Because I’d been responsible and asked for the annual mileage to be increase. And because my son had had a NON-FAULT ACCIDENT.
I don’t mind telling you I was very upset about this. If only we hadn’t let my son take the car to school that day! The premium had gone up about £200 for my accident. The bulk of it was to do with my son’s accident, which the other driver had admitted liability for.
I will shop around to see if I can get a better quote, but it looks like the decision whether or not to insure my son on my car has been taken out of our hands. My son won’t be on my car insurance any more. My lovely few weeks of having some of the driving pressure taken off me is over.
The likelihood is that he won’t be able to get any insurance, either on my car or a car of his own, until he turns 20. By which time he will pretty much have forgotten how to drive.
How can that be fair?