Provisional licence car insurance

You’ve got your provisional licence and you’re ready to hit the road. But what about car insurance? Here’s what you need to know.

You’ve got your provisional licence and you’re ready to hit the road. But what about car insurance? Here’s what you need to know.

Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
minute read
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Posted 5 NOVEMBER 2019 Last Updated 1 DECEMBER 2021

What is provisional licence car insurance?

We get it. You’ve been itching to learn to drive since you started careering around the playground in pedal cars. But you can’t just jump in and away you go. Like so much in adult life, there’s paperwork involved. And insurance – really important insurance. 

Provisional licence car insurance is insurance that provides you with the cover you need while you’re learning to drive.

Do I need car insurance to drive on a provisional licence?

The short answer is yes. Before you get behind the wheel, you’ll need to have valid insurance in place. Having said that, getting provisional insurance will depend on how you’re learning to drive. 

Are you learning through an approved driving school/instructor? 

If you’re learning to drive with an approved driving school or an instructor in their car, they’ll have arranged your insurance. You don’t need to worry about getting your own insurance until you pass your test. 

Be aware that it’s illegal for someone to charge for driving lessons if they aren’t qualified or registered, or don’t have a trainee driving instructor licence. Look out for the green badge that must be displayed in their vehicle window, which indicates they’re fully qualified. And check your instructor's details against those held at the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).  

Are you learning in a friend or relative’s car? 

Some insurance providers offer ‘learner driver insurance’, which the car owner can add to their policy. You’ll just have to sort out who pays for it between you…  

Are you learning with another driver in your own car? 

If you already have a car before you’ve even passed your test, that’s pretty good going. But you’ll still need to arrange your own insurance policy and add the person who’ll be taking you out in the car as a named driver. If you take out cover while you’re driving with a provisional licence, you’ll start to build up your no claims discount, which could reduce your car insurance premium in future.  

Find out more about learner driver insurance in our useful guide.

How much does provisional licence car insurance cost?

51% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £510** for their car insurance. Bizarrely, it’s less expensive than cover for an average fully qualified young driver at £1,069**, but more about that later.

**51% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £509.23 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in October, 2021. 51% of young drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £1,068.14 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in October, 2021.

What does provisional licence car insurance cover?

The cover that your provisional insurance policy offers will depend on the type of policy you opt for. It will also vary among insurance providers. Just like fully licensed drivers, you’ll be able to choose from: 

  • Third party insurance: the minimum level of cover required by law. It can provide you with cover for causing damage to another person’s car or property, or to the person themselves. It won’t cover any costs associated with damage to your own car.
  • Third party, fire and theft: this is one step up from third party insurance and can cover you for any damage to your car caused by fire. It can also cover your car if it’s stolen or damaged as a result of attempted theft.
  • Fully comprehensive: along with all of the above, fully comprehensive provisional licence insurance can offer cover for damage to your car and injury to you.

How to reduce the cost of provisional licence insurance

If you can share your car with an experienced driver, adding them to your policy could reduce the price of your premium.

But make sure you’re not fronting. That’s when you claim another, more experienced driver is the car’s main user to save money. It’s illegal and you could be prosecuted if you’re caught.

What else can I do to reduce the cost of provisional insurance cover?

If you’re keen to potentially save money on your provisional insurance premiums, here are some tips: 

  • Choose your car wisely: large cars with powerful engines cost more to insure, especially when they’re being driven by young drivers. Opting for a smaller, slower model could help to push costs down.
  • Increase your voluntary excess: in some cases, increasing your voluntary excess can have a positive effect on premium price. Try running a couple of different quotes, varying only the voluntary excess, to see what the impact is and whether you think it’s worth it. Also make sure you’d be able to pay it if you had to claim.
  • Only buy the cover you need: we’re all told that buying insurance is about the right cover at the right price, not just the cheapest premium out there. But in these circumstances, if you want to keep costs to a minimum now, it’s worth considering keeping your policy to the bare minimum. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to add extras to your policy once you’ve passed your test.
  • Consider telematics insurance: some insurance providers offer telematics or  black box insurance to learner drivers. This involves the use of a device installed in your car, or an app on your phone, to monitor your driving. The better and safer you drive, the lower your premiums are likely to be.
  • Become a named driver: adding yourself as a named driver on someone else’s policy is often cheaper than taking out a new policy on your own. However, as already mentioned, it’s important that you only do this if you’re learning in someone else’s car.

Will passing my driving test affect my insurance?

Probably, but maybe not in ways you expect. As a newly qualified driver, you’ve suddenly got a certificate that proves you know what you’re doing and a set of skills you didn’t have this time last year. But actually, your premiums could go up. And if you pass your driving test in the middle of the insurance year, you may have to pay an extra premium. 

That’s because provisional licence holders, who are always driving under supervision, present a much lower risk to insurance providers than newly qualified drivers. Once you pass your test, you’re still learning, but you’re on your own.

Learn how to save money as a new driver. Or start a quote today and find out how much your cover could be.

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