Published: 07/09/2022
  • Seven in ten 17-24-year-old drivers (70%) have received financial support from their parents to help them run their car over the last 12 months
  • Parents contributed an average of £781 to their child’s car running costs in the last year
  • More than half of young drivers (53%) say that, without parental contributions to motoring costs, their job would suffer

07 September 2022 – Seven in ten (70%) of drivers between the ages of 17-24 say they have relied on financial support from their parents towards their motoring costs in the past 12 months – receiving an average of £781 – according to new research from Comparethemarket. The Tank of Mum and Dad report highlights just how dependent young drivers are on their parents to help them pay for insurance, petrol, repairs and motoring taxes during the cost of living crisis.

More than half of parents (55%) who contributed to the costs of their child's driving did so for the first year after they passed their test. More than a quarter (28%) contributed for the first two years during which their child was on the road, and 8% kept up the contributions for three years or more.

How much are parents giving?

The cost parents contribute the most towards is their child’s car insurance – paying out an average of £277 towards insurance policies. The average car insurance premium for a 17-24 year-old now stands at £1156 according to Comparethemarket’s figures, meaning some parents are paying more than a fifth (23%) of this annual expense. Repairs and maintenance costs are the second most common financial contribution, costing parents £197 a year, followed by fuel (£176) and then vehicle taxes and MOTs (£131).

In addition, 46% of parents said that they helped their children purchase their first car – contributing an average of £2,514 to the cost of the car.

  Insurance Fuel Repairs & maintenance Vehicle taxes Any / total costs   
Percentage of parents who have contributed to their child’s driving costs in the past 12 months 48% 43% 32% 31% 70%
Average amount parents have contributed to their child’s driving costs in the past 12 months £277 £176 £197 £131 £781

Impact on young people’s lives

The research from Comparethemarket shows that for many young drivers, their careers, social and family lives are dependent on parental support. Over half (53%) of young people say that their job would suffer if their parents did not contribute towards the cost of running a car. Nearly half (48%) of young drivers said that their social life would suffer without parental contributions to their motoring costs, while 39% said they would see their family less without that support.

As the cost of living continues to rise, many parents are finding it difficult to help finance the running costs of their child’s car. Nearly six in ten (58%) of parents agree that having to support their child with costs associated with their car is a “financial burden” on them. Nearly half of parents (48%) also do not expect their children to pay them back. Young people are very reluctant to receive the support in the first place, with almost six in ten (58%) saying that they feel guilty that they need to ask their parents for financial support to run a car when their parents are also struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Julie Daniels, motor insurance expert at Comparethemarket said:

“It would be difficult for many people to comprehend how they would get by without a car. It gets us to work and to see our friends and family. However, our figures show that for many drivers, the cost of running a car is becoming impossible. A concerning proportion of young people rely on the generosity of family members to stay on the road, placing a considerable financial burden on those supporting them. It also means that, if costs continue to rise, some of those who can’t rely on parental support may not be able to get to work.

"Compared to other age groups, young drivers tend to pay a lot more for their car insurance. However, there are a few ways that they could save money. It is a good idea to shop around and compare policies to see if there is a better deal available. Switching to a telematics policy may be a good option for young drivers to consider, as well as adding an experienced named driver to their policy. However, young drivers should take care to avoid fronting. This is a type of insurance fraud, where a more experienced driver claims to be the main driver of a car, when in fact they’re not. Finally, a quick and easy way for any driver to find a great deal ahead of their renewal can be by signing up to automated car insurance renewal quotes. Comparethemarket automatically notifies customers whose policy is about to end about any available deals and savings to be had”.


Notes to editors

51% of young drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £1,156 for their car insurance based on Comparethemarket data in June, 2022.

Censuswide surveys on behalf of Comparethemarket of 2,000 young drivers and 2,000 parents of young drivers conducted in July 2022.

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