A simples guide

Car insurance options when you're learning to drive

Learning to drive brings with it a real mixed bag of emotions. The excitement of finally being behind the wheel is hard to beat.


With it though could come some worries about what happens when things don’t quite go to plan. 


Choosing lessons

Though there is no minimum number of lessons, or minimum hours spent behind the wheel, the Driving Standards Agency suggests that the average driver will need at least 47 hours of lessons. That’s not all, they reckon they’ll also need another 22 hours of private practice.

It can be quite an expensive time. Many of us take driving lessons with a registered driving instructor. With this option your fuel and insurance is covered by the driving school. But what happens if you want to learn with a family member? Or if you just want to practise in between lessons? 

Before you jump in your friend’s car with them and take to the road, it’s important to make sure you’ve the right learner driver insurance in place. Failing to do so could land both you and the car owner in hot water. 


Car insurance for provisional drivers

When you’re learning to drive and indeed for a while after you pass your test, you’re likely to find that your car insurance is expensive. Unfortunately, new and young drivers are considered risky by insurers because of their inexperience.

Statistics suggest that new drivers are likely to have more accidents than those who have been driving for longer. You’ll also have had no chance of building up no claims bonuses which will help keep your premiums down later in life. 

There are a few insurance options that you should consider to ensure that you have the right cover in place before hitting the road.

Getting added to someone else’s insurance

It is possible to be added as a named driver to someone else’s insurance policy. This means you could ask to be added to your parents, relatives or friends insurance. While this is possible in theory, the price will depend on who the other driver is and the insurer concerned. Some insurers may not like a learner driver being added as a named driver, and with others the costs could be significant. There may also be an admin charge just to make the change to the policy.


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Obtaining learner or provisional cover

Learner or Provisional driver cover is a policy which will allow you to practice in any car. Of course, you’ll need the driver’s permission and as a learner driver, you will need to be properly supervised. Failing to do this could land you with a £1,000 fine and 6 points on your licence before you even pass your test.

To supervise, the other person must be a qualified driver who's over 21 and has had their full licence for at least three years. You might find that some insurers set tougher rules than that, so you’ll need to check the details in each insurer’s terms.

Most learner driver policies will set limits on the value of the car that’s involved. This means you’re more likely to be practising in your friend’s Fiesta than your Mum’s Ferrari!

Provisional driver insurance can offer flexibility in the length of time the policy is in place. Some policies will offer an initial fixed period of say a month, with renewable short term periods thereafter.

Important terms

Be sure to check for any other important terms when taking out your cover.  Make sure you are happy with the excess on the policy. Remember though if you want to reduce the excess, you’ll likely pay more in premium. Some policies will also restrict the hours during which you can drive the vehicle. That said, taking a driving lesson in the middle of the night probably wouldn’t be that sensible anyway!

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’ve got good cover in place. Cover that is right for you. The best way to do this is to compare insurers and find the best deal to suit your circumstances.