Insurers right to limit cover for young Ferrari drivers

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 October, 2012, 2:32am


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A Ferrari driver will only occasionally be able to get out of second gear on Hong Kong's congested streets, but that does not stop well-heeled residents from wanting to own one. Everyone knows that the Italian sports cars are fast and there is prestige in being behind the wheel of one, especially for those who have come into money at a young age. Insurers do not always look kindly on youth and high-performance vehicles, though. Some firms refuse to write a policy in the name of drivers under the age of 28. For the determined, that means swallowing pride and having parents pay for cover and, should there be a mishap, shoulder the financial consequences.

The rule seems harsh, especially when Hong Kong makes so much noise about being a free market and society thinks so highly of those who are successful. Anyone who has the means should presumably be able to drive what they want in their own name, as long as it is roadworthy and they have a licence. But Ferraris are not ordinary cars, nor are the people who own them typical drivers. About 100 are sold in our city each year and vehicle insurance data shows sports cars are more frequently involved in claims, especially when there are younger drivers.

Higher insurance premiums are inevitable for high-performance and luxury vehicles. Parts, repairs and replacement are more costly than for less expensive makes and models. Driving records are also crucial considerations when offering a policy. Globally, younger drivers, particularly men, are more prone to recklessness. That is frustrating for young, careful, drivers, but it is a reality ground into the consciousness of the insurance industry.

Popular culture, built on decades of movies, songs and books, has it that young men and fast cars lead to accidents. It holds that where there is the possibility of speed, there will be temptation. Statistics provide backing. Individual cases can be made and argued, but until there is a marked shift, there is no reason for insurers to change their rules.