New insurance offers low premiums for young drivers - with a catch

Automobile Association of Singapore president Bernard Tay speaking at the launch of the Young and Inexperienced Drivers Scheme on April 23, 2019.
Automobile Association of Singapore president Bernard Tay speaking at the launch of the Young and Inexperienced Drivers Scheme on April 23, 2019.ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - Most young and new drivers face steep insurance premiums, but the Automobile Association of Singapore (AA Singapore) is willing to go low - on two conditions.

In a bid to educate young and inexperienced drivers on road safety, AAS Insurance Agency, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AA Singapore, will require drivers interested in the Young and Inexperienced Drivers (YID) Scheme to undergo a mandatory, four-hour driving programme.

"We are trying to help develop good habits right from the beginning," said AA Singapore president Mr Bernard Tay.

Its policy, offered in collaboration with Liberty Insurance Singapore, also requires drivers to download and use an app which tracks driving behaviour for six months.

The app encourages good driving habits as it ranks the user against other new drivers, as well as suggests areas for improvement.

With these two conditions checked, young drivers below the age of 24, or those with less than two years' driving experience, will be entitled to lower premiums.

For example, a 20-year-old male motorist driving a 2016 Toyota Altis would usually pay about $4,125 with $3,000 excess, but under the AAS YID scheme he would pay about $3,780 with $1,000 excess.

While there are currently no statistics on the correlation between young drivers and accidents in Singapore, general trends show such drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents.

According to the United States National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014 youth drivers represented six percent of US licensed drivers, but accounted for nine per cent of total fatal crashes. "This is definitely a higher risk group, and we hope to mitigate some of these issues," said Mr Lee Wai Mun, chief executive officer of AA Singapore.

 

Mr Chang Sucheng, chief executive officer of Liberty Insurance Singapore, added: "Everyone starts out as a young and inexperienced driver. We hope the classes help the community to steer towards better road safety."

Ms Thea Tan, a 21-year-old who obtained her licence a month ago, said: "The scheme looks rather enticing, but I will still compare it to other insurance policies.

"It also seems quite tedious to remember that the app must be constantly on while driving in order for it to track your road habits."

Another new driver, 19-year-old Nadine Wickeremasuriya, said: " As I am already under my parent's current insurance, I would rather stay on it than go through all this training."