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Warning issued to anyone who passed their driving test with an automatic licence

Warning issued to anyone who passed their driving test with an automatic licence

It's all to do with insurance, and it's not good news for anyone with an automatic-only licence.

It's an obvious shortcut - learning to drive in an automatic car instead of a manual one could help you snag a licence a whole lot quicker.

It means you don't have to worry about changing gears or figuring out how to use the clutch pedal - it's basically like driving a glorified go-kart.

Seems like the smart choice - but it could be a very expensive mistake.

Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty
Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty

New figures from Compare the Market suggest that the insurance costs for drivers in the UK are way more expensive if they hold an automatic licence compared to a manual one.

The figures are particularly harsh on drivers under the age of 25, who already pay the highest insurance rates due to higher rates of accidents in their demographic.

The average figure for car insurance annually for a sub-25 driver on an automatic licence is now £2,803, a massive increase of £916 compared to last year.

By comparison, the overall average for all drivers under 25 sits at £2,009, showing that automatic drivers are paying a real premium.

Julie Daniels, Compare the Market's motor insurance expert, said: "The increasing cost of car insurance is concerning for young drivers across the board, particularly those who have only learnt to drive automatic cars."

The average is one thing, but that huge annual rise of over £900 is worrying since it could repeat year-on-year to create bills that are challenging or impossible to actually pay.

Of course, someone holding an automatic licence (or looking to earn one soon) might counter this whole argument by pointing out that their everyday driving experience is so much easier, making it worth the extra cost. This is especially true if they often have to drive in the sort of heavy traffic that requires a lot of stopping and starting.

Jung Getty / Getty
Jung Getty / Getty

After all, not having to worry about gear changes, clutch management, or all of the admin that comes with it does make life easier.

Many people know they'll face higher costs well before they choose to learn on an automatic, too - it's long been established that rental cars, for example, cost a good whack more if they're automatic, so it isn't a major surprise that insurance follows the same pattern.

There might come a time when this starts to change, as automatic cars become more and more widespread, but these new insurance figures suggest we're not there yet.

The rise of electric vehicles could definitely help turn the tide, as they're uniformly automatic.

There are clearly plenty of people still willing to take this supposed risk and go the easier route, though - according to the DVLA, 138,354 people apparently passed their test in an automatic car in 2022-23, so there are still loads of drivers opting for automatic.

Featured Image Credit: AHMET YARALI/ Oleksandr Siedov/ Getty