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
7
minute read
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Last Updated 5 AUGUST 2022

What is provisional licence car insurance?

Provisional licence car insurance provides you with the cover you need while you’re learning to drive. It's designed to cover you when you’re either taking lessons with an instructor in your own car or if you’re practicing in a friend or relative’s car.

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

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, unless you’re using another car to practice in-between lessons. 

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. See our guide to choosing a driving instructor 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.

Penalties for driving without insurance

If you’re caught driving a vehicle you’re not insured to drive, even as a learner driver, the police could give you a fixed penalty of £300 and six penalty points.

If the case goes to court, you could get an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving.

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

Who can supervise me when learning to drive? 

Anyone you pay to teach you to drive must be either:

  • A qualified and approved driving instructor
  • A trainee driving instructor.

Anyone you practice driving with (without paying them) must: 

  • Be over 21
  • Be qualified to drive the type of vehicle you want to learn in: for example, they must have a manual car licence if they’re supervising you in a manual car
  • Have had their full driving licence for three years (from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein).

You can be fined up to £1,000 and get up to six penalty points on your provisional licence if you drive without the right supervision.

How much does provisional licence car insurance cost?

51% of learner drivers between 17 and 24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £550** for their car insurance. Bizarrely, it’s less expensive than cover for an average fully qualified young driver at £1,156***, but more about that later.

You’ll also need to think about buying your provisional licence – it costs £34 to apply online or £43 if you apply by post – and paying for driving lessons. See more on the costs of learning to drive

If you have your own car, don’t forget to factor in costs like servicing and MOT, repairs if needed and fuel. See our guide to the cost of running a car.

**51% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £550 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2022. ***51% of young drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £1,156 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2022.

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 injuring someone. 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 long do I need provisional licence insurance? 

It depends. It’s possible to get learner driver insurance that covers you for practicing in someone else’s car for just a few hours. Otherwise, if you’re regularly getting driving practice in your own vehicle or someone else’s, you could get a policy for a year and update it if you pass your test during that time. This could be the best option if you plan to keep using the same car once you get your licence.

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 or safer model could help to push down costs.
  • 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 the excess 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 if you want to keep costs to a minimum while you’re learning, it’s worth considering keeping your policy to the bare minimum you need. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to add extras to your policy once you’ve passed your test and are driving more frequently.
  • 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. So, for example, it might be cheaper to be a named driver and borrow your parents car rather than buying your own to start with. 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?

As a newly qualified driver, your premiums could go up. 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 and gaining experience, but you’re on your own.

You must tell your insurance provider that you’ve passed your test, otherwise your insurance will be invalid. And if you pass your driving test in the middle of the insurance year, the cost of your insurance might go up. 

If you pass your test in your own car, you should tell your provider straight away. To be able to drive home you must have an insurance policy that allows you to drive without supervision.

See 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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