Young drivers may soon be forced off the road as the car insurance price hikes of nearly 50% hit them hard in the pocket, writes Alaric Nightingale.

The claim comes as actuaries and management consultants Tillinghast-Towers Perin (TTP) publishes its comprehensive report into motor premium trends.

The firm's latest statistics on motor insurance rate hikes make grim reading for all policyholders – not just the young – with average increases of more than 35%.

But by far the worst hit is age group 17 – 25 which faces having to pay on average 45% more for their insurance than they paid last year.

TTP consultant Jim Ryan said: “We expect that the high premium increases will create pressure for young drivers to move towards cars in the lower risk profiles.

“However, our research shows that the average increase for the past year has been over 45% even for these cars.”

Ryan said the changes would make it increasingly difficult for younger drivers to afford insurance at all.

“Insurers need to consider new methods of further segmenting the young driver market and perhaps introducing new rating factors,” he said.

Ryan said younger drivers who had taken advanced driving tests should be able to obtain cheaper cover.

TTP's study analysed the prices paid by one million policyholders, breaking down responses by geographical region, age group, gender and vehicle type (among other groups).

The over-50s have suffered the upswing in premium rates more lightly than other age group, but even they have had to endure rises averaging 30%.