Interview with New User, Edward Crane


Edward Crane is a young student from Norfolk seeking options to bring his car insurance premium down. In this interview Edward explains how simple to use VouchForMe is and how he could get an affordable premium through the platform. His experience has been described in an article by The Sunday Timesas well.

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 19 years old and I am training to be an auto engineer. I work and study at the same time. I live in the UK, in Norfolk, on my parents’ farm where I grew up. It’s a mainly rural county.

So you can’t avoid driving from an early age?

Exactly! The towns and villages around me are spread far apart and there is very little public transport. As a young person you have to be driven around a lot by your parents, so it works for everybody if you can drive yourself as soon as possible.

What was your early experience of looking for motor insurance?

Like most young drivers, I’ve found it horrifically expensive to have it in my own name — but that’s the only way to build up a no-claims bonus and get to cheaper motor insurance more quickly. Nobody wants to be a named driver on their parents’ policy unless it’s the only option.

How did you spot the cheapest policies?

Affordable premiums on a reasonably nice car were generally only available with a ‘black box’ (telematics) tracker fitted. I had one in my first year driving, but I’d rather not. I don’t think it gives a truly accurate picture of my driving behavior, but many insurers insist on them for drivers my age.

Why do you think you’d be misrepresented by a black box?

Insurers don’t like young drivers to use their cars a lot at night. Black boxes often place great importance on of you drive after 10 pm. When you live in the countryside, it’s inevitable. You can’t stay in every night when your friends live many miles away. In the UK, around 11 million people live in rural areas — and lots more all around Europe. Also, the speed limit on even minor rural roads in the UK is often 60 mph / 95 kmh. It’s legal and safe, but might seem quite fast when recorded. Going out late and driving at that speed doesn’t make me a bad motorist.

How did you hear about VouchForMe?

I came across the company while reading about social proof businesses online. I looked at the VouchForMe website and thought it was very interesting.

What made you try it?

The idea of a higher excess was no problem for me because I was ready to back myself to be a good driver. VouchForMe gave me the chance to spread that risk to get a discount, by involving people who know me as a safe driver.

How easy was it to use?

It was very easy. I just needed to get some quotes — which I was doing anyway — then once I’d decided on the best one offering a good reduction for a higher excess, I uploaded the details and set up a vouching agreement with people to guarantee the extra amount with credit card details — in my case, my mum and girlfriend.

What sort of deal did you find?

I shopped around a lot online and I found a ‘big name’ UK insurer willing to increase my deductible from £250 (€280) to £1100 (€1235) in return for a £415 premium reduction to £2704 on my Audi A3. It’s still high, but it’s a worthwhile discount. A cheaper car would probably work out even better, but because I’m obviously good at fixing cars, my repair costs are lower than for most people. I was then able to split the extra £850 of deductible between my two vouchers.

Did you find your family willing to help?

Yes, they didn’t take much persuading. They know how ridiculously expensive car insurance is for young people. And they know I’m a safe driver, so they didn’t see it as particularly risky. Over the next couple of years, my insurance will start coming down a lot, so it really helps.

Would you have approached friends to vouch for you as well?

I could have had my grandmother as a third person vouching, but with my mum, I already had two, which seemed enough. I think the family is always more likely to share financial risk, but I certainly know one or two good friends who would have done it for me and I would have returned the favor.

Would you recommend it to your friends?

I already have — and some of them are looking at it at the moment.

Do you think it will catch on?

Why not? It offers me to get a better price without being monitored by some addition tracking devices in my car. And I believe it encourages people to drive safely, too.