Car insurance and your provisional licence – a simple guide

Car insurance and your provisional licence – a simple guide

Learning to drive is probably one of the most important things you’ll ever do, it’s a means to independence and freedom. However, before you even get into the driver’s seat, you’ll need to sort out your provisional licence and learner driver insurance. But what happens after you pass your test? How does the whole insurance thing work then? Here’s what you should know.

Daniel Hutson From the Motor team
4
minute read
posted

What should I look out for when getting learner driver insurance?

You’ll need to read the details of whatever policy is in place, but things you might want to check and consider include:

  • flexibility – some insurance providers will let you take out insurance on a month-to-month basis, so you don’t pay for more than you need
  • supervision criteria – you may be restricted over who can help you practise; the government may say the minimum age of a supervising driver is 21, but some insurance providers may say 25
  • refunds – check if you can get a refund on any remaining months if you pass your test before the policy runs out
  • time restrictions – you can get time sensitive policies where you can only drive between certain times (for example 6am to 10pm). This might also mean that you pay less for your cover

What is a provisional licence?

You’ll need a provisional licence if you want to learn how to drive, ride a motorbike or moped. You can apply for one as a young driver when you’re 15 years and 9 months old (to be exact), so make a note in your diary.

When you’re 16 you can start driving a moped or quadbike and at 17 you can start learning to drive a motorbike or car. Applying online at Gov.UK, is the quickest and cheapest way of getting a provisional licence (it’ll take about a week compared to three if you do it at the Post Office).

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What about car insurance – how does this work when I’m learning to drive?

Car insurance for learner drivers depends on who is teaching you how to drive. Driving schools and professional instructors will usually have their own insurance in place, so when you’re having lessons, you probably don’t need to worry about it. However, along with the average 47 hours it takes in formal driving lessons to pass your test, it’s estimated you’ll also need around 22 hours of practise with friends or relatives.

Legally, you can practise with someone who’s held a full licence for three years, is over 21 and is qualified to drive the car you’re learning in (so they must be qualified to drive a manual car if that’s what you’re practising in). If you do take this opportunity, then you’ll need learner driver insurance.

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When can I get my full driving licence?

When you’ve passed your theory and practical driving tests, you’ll be able to exchange your provisional licence for a full driving licence. The average pass rate for the practical driving test in the UK is 50.6% for men and 43.9% for women.  

If you have a photocard provisional licence and your details haven’t changed, then your examiner will usually take it from you and send it off to the DVLA – you’ll get your shiny new full licence in about three weeks.

If any of the details on your provisional licence have changed (like your name) or if you’ve got an old-school paper one, then you’ll have to apply by post. You’ll also need to provide documents to prove you are who you say you are, as well as a photo – you can find out exactly what you need at Gov.UK – apply for your full driving licence

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When I get insurance after passing my test – do I include the time on my provisional licence as well?

In short, no. When you apply for car insurance, you’ll be asked about the type of licence you hold, and you’ll be able to specify how many years you’ve had it. Sadly, this means you won’t be able to include the time you’ve had your provisional licence for.

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