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Johannesburg - Statistics from Alexander Forbes Insurance Company revealed on Monday that 70 percent of young drivers aged 18-25 were driving hatchbacks, 30 percent of these being Volkswagens.

Alexander Forbes said the average claim for drivers in this age category in the 2017 financial year was R40,976, up from R36,055 in 2016. The average claim amounts among young drivers showed cabriolets have the highest average claim amounts, followed by coupes, SUV's, hatchbacks, and sedans.

The top three had averages of between R50,000 and R70,000 per claim, with hatchbacks and sedans averaging R37,000 per claim. Colin Mchunu, senior manager at Alexander Forbes Insurance, said 87 percent of youth-driven vehicles were insured on policies where the main policyholders were older than 32 years of age.

"We recommend that parents arrange for their children to rather take out their own insurance cover as soon as they acquire their first vehicle," Mchunu said.

"Even though this can cost more to start, the benefits are that the young driver builds their own safe driving history sooner and accidents would not be on the parent’s record." Mchunu said insurance companies generally classified young drivers as high-risk due to their lack of motoring experience. On average under 25's pay about 30 percent more than drivers over the age of 25.

"Because youth are more likely to have an accident in the first year after getting their driver's licence than at any other time in their motoring career, this results in this category being charged higher premiums.

"The likelihood of a young, relatively inexperienced driver being involved in accidents is high owing to among other factors, driving at higher than the regulated speed limit and risky driving behaviour."

Mchunu suggested that for the youth to reduce car insurance premiums they need to, among others, drive a vehicle with a small engine, upgrade safety features, limit their mileage, install a tracking device for stolen recovery purposes, and build up a good claims track record. Don't "pimp" your car as aftermarket changes to the engine or body can end up costing you, Mchunu said.

"In addition, another good way to keep risk down is to enhance the security features of your car, and consider taking defensive driving courses."

African News Agency