MoneyTimes - August 13, 2013

Posted by Jill Kerby on August 20 2013 @ 09:00

YOUNG DRIVERS ARE A WORRY…SO IS INSURING THEM We learned to drive quite late: I was 28. My husband was 40 – and he only bothered to get a license because we were expecting our first child and I didn’t fancy driving myself to the maternity hospital. We are untypical (especially since I come from North America) but not unique: we have always lived in inner cities with good public transport links. I still have friends – well into their middle age now - in Dublin, Montreal and New York who still don’t drive. Yet driving is a great skill and one I’m pleased to have – like knowing how to type and navigate the internet, to cook, cut hair (I did a basic course in my comprehensive secondary school), balance a bank statement and sew and knit, though I haven’t done much of the latter two in the last 20 years. I still wish I was a better swimmer and knew how to grow my own vegetables and do rudimentary plumbing, but these are high on my evening course bucket list. Self-sufficiency, and this includes safe driving, isn’t something we teach in our schools or college but as a parent I believe my only child, especially because he’s an only child, must learn most of these skills too. And there’s the problem. He’s 19 and about to go to college, wants to learn to drive after being in Canada since the end of his Leaving Cert exams, where every kid, including all his cousins over the age of 17, drive. Their town is part of the huge, sprawling Greater Toronto area with congested, multi-laned roads and highways, poor public transport, expensive taxis and very little by way of cycle lanes. Last week, Aviva Car Insurance produced the results of a study about parents’ attitudes about their children driving. It found that just over half – 53% - would trust their kids with their car and 60% would put them on their insurance. According to the study, “Most parents worry about their teenager having an accident (79%) caused by distractions like other passengers (68%), phones (63%) or speeding (62%), while nearly half (47%) say that their teen would be distracted by listening to music while driving.” Two other issues – the high cost of insurance and lessons are colouring the reluctance of 90% and 64% parents respectively to encourage their teen’s desire to drive. It concerns me too. My boy, who fancies living in Canada some day, and with his eyes set on becoming a geologist, will have to learn. It isn’t as pressing a skill requirement so long as he lives (and gets summer work) in Dublin, but there are many more parents outside the capital or other cities whose young people must learn to drive at an early age to get to college or work. Adding a learner-permit driver to your own insurance policy “can be very expensive” says Aviva, but they insist that their deal (13 lessons for €499 with free cover on the parent’s policy for those six learning months) is good value when compared to the required 12 lessons all must drivers must take and then the cost of them becoming a driver on your policy. Meanwhile, if the young person achieves a top Module 3 competency level and a full license at the end of their instruction, the second six month period will be charged to the policyholder as if the young person had a full license, not a provisional one. If your child applies for their own insurance, the Module 3 achievement gets them a substancial discount on the cost their insurance. As an Aviva customer I will be carefully comparing this deal with the cost and quality of other driver schools and then the cost of putting my child on my existing policy or from a new provider. This won’t get over my nervousness about him driving at 19, and driving my car, but this is a life and job skill that he absolutely needs. And it reminded me of something my mother once said about each of her five children: “For as long as you all lived under our roof, we worried every day about you driving.” PS: The Insolvency Service of Ireland (see www.isi.ie) has finally launched its personal insolvency practitioner register. At time of writing there were only 14 names listed, four in Dublin and Tipperary, two in Meath and one each in Limerick, Meath, Louth and Waterford. More are expected to be added weekly, said the ISI. Next week, we will look at the different terms and conditions that the listed PIPs will be setting for new clients, who include those people who are applying for both Debt Settlement Arrangements with unlimited unsecured debts only and those applying for Personal Insolvency Arrangements with secured and unsecured debts up to €3 million. So far, only the Grant Thornton PIPs have stated that their payment will be derived from the overall creditor settlement and not from upfront fees

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