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Learner driver insurance

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[1] 51% of learner drivers could achieve a quote of up to £771.49 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in March 2024.

A handy guide to learner driver car insurance

Whether you’re learning to drive in your parents’ car or getting your friend to teach you, you’re going to need the right provisional insurance. To help you find a good deal, we’ve put together this easy-to-follow guide.

Do learner drivers need insurance?

Yes, anyone driving in the UK is legally required to have car insurance. You'll also need a valid UK provisional driving licence.

Most professional driving schools include insurance in the price of the lessons. But if you want to practice in your own car, or in a friend’s or relative’s car, then you’ll need your own insurance. If you’re intending to have driving lessons with a driving instructor in your own car, make sure your policy will cover this as some will not.

Please note that Comparethemarket offers car insurance quotes for drivers aged 17 and over.

How does learner driver insurance work?

Learner driver insurance works by giving you cover that’s separate from the vehicle owner’s car insurance. This means that if you have an accident, it won’t impact their no claims discount. Getting cover for a learner driver is similar to insuring a qualified driver. You'll have to be a UK resident and the vehicle will need to be registered with a valid MOT.

Types of car insurance policy for learner drivers

As with all car insurance, there are three levels of cover to choose from:

  • Third-party only – this is the minimum cover required by law. It covers you for damage or injury you cause to other people
  • Third-party, fire and theft – as well as the benefits from third-party only, this type of policy also includes cover for your car being stolen, or damaged by fire
  • Comprehensive – this includes the benefits of all the above, but also provides cover for injuries or damage sustained to you and your car.

As a learner driver, you should also decide on the length of policy you need. The driver and vehicle standards agency (DVSA) suggests that on average, it takes 45 hours of professional instruction and 22 hours of private practice to learn to drive. So think about how many lessons you’ll need. You have the choice of:

  • Annual cover – this is the most common form of car insurance. It gives you cover for the whole year and can be easily renewed at the end of the term.
  • Short term cover – some providers offer learner insurance by the day, the week or the month This may be ideal if you’re only looking to practice with a friend or family member as your test date, nears, but it can be more expensive as a daily rate compared with annual cover.

If you’re going to be practising with one friend or family member in particular, you can be added as a named driver on their policy. This allows you to drive their vehicle while supervised, though it may increase your friend or family member’s premiums. Unlike learner driver insurance, if you have an accident, it will also affect their no claims discount.

What does learner driver insurance typically cover?

A dedicated learner driver insurance policy will cover you for your practice lessons in your own time as long as you’re with a qualified and eligible supervisor. This can be a friend or family member.

They typically must be at least 21 years old although some providers require them to be 25. They must also have held a full driving licence of their own for at least three years. If someone is teaching you to drive in the car or is supervising your practice, it’s a good idea to have them as a named driver in case they need to take the wheel at any point.

See government guidance on supervising learner drivers.

Will learner driver insurance cover me when I take my test? 

Yes, learner driver insurance will cover you for your test if you take it in your own car. However, the moment you pass the test, you’ll no longer be insured and will need to take out a new, separate policy before you’re able to legally drive again. If you fail your test, you should still be covered to carry on practising but check to make sure. And if you timed your learner insurance to end on the day of your test, you’ll have to extend it.

Most professional driving instructors will allow you to take your test in their car, which should be fully insured for tests. If you’re learning through a driving school, they’ll likely have similar cover, but it’s always best to check if unsure.

When is the best time to take my driving test?

You can take your driving test at any time of the year, but our recent research has found that there are some months with significantly higher pass rates than others for learner drivers taking their tests in the UK.

April is the month in which learner drivers are most likely to pass their test, with a pass rate of 52.4%. The summer months of July (52.1%) and August (51.4%) also have high success rates, while February has the worst pass rate of just 49.4%, suggesting perhaps the warmer, dryer months will provide the best conditions for you to pass your test on the first try.

What’s the most suitable type of car insurance for learner drivers?

Comprehensive car insurance may be the ideal type of insurance for you as a learner driver, as it provides the most cover. However, finding the most suitable policy as a learner driver will depend on your personal circumstances and how much you can afford.

How can learner drivers get cheap insurance?

Insurance for learner drivers is unlikely to be cheap. This is because they’re seen as more of a risk than experienced drivers due to their lack of experience. But while cheap insurance for learner drivers can be hard to find, there are some things you can do to reduce the cost:  

  • Choose your car carefully - some models are much cheaper to insure than others. How much you pay depends on which insurance group your car is in – the lower the group, the less you’ll pay. Different models in the same range may be in higher groups, so you could pay more if you opt for a bigger engine or a GTi rather than a more vanilla model.
  • Consider black box or telematics insurance - these policies come with a little device or an app that monitors your driving habits, including speed, steering and braking, as well as where and how far you drive. If you can prove that you’re a safe, careful driver, you could save on your insurance.
  • Share your car with an experienced named driver - you could reduce the cost of your premium by adding an experienced driver to your insurance policy. The insurance provider takes both drivers’ information into consideration and creates a price based on each of you sharing the car. However, it’s important that you’re honest about a named driver. They do actually have to spend time driving the car. Otherwise, you could invalidate your policy. On the other hand, pretending that someone else is the main driver, is ‘fronting’ and is a type of insurance fraud.
  • Offer to pay a higher voluntary excess – this is the amount you contribute to a claim. Although this could cost you more if you claim, it could mean a cheaper premium. To see how much of a difference it’ll make, try changing the voluntary excess when getting a quote.  Just make sure you could afford the total if you do need to claim.
  • Shop around for a competitive quote – using a comparison site can help you compare quotes from lots of different companies.

Get more tips on getting cheaper car insurance.

Learner driver insurance FAQs

Why is learner driver insurance so expensive?

Insurance providers keep a close eye on claims statistics. Teens (17 and 18-year-olds) and early 20-somethings tend to be involved in more accidents (and worse accidents, for that matter) than older and more experienced drivers.

In fact, younger drivers made up around a fifth of all those killed or seriously injured in car accidents in 2021.

According to government statistics, the most common contributory factor for younger drivers involved in fatal or serious collisions with another vehicle is failing to look properly. And younger drivers were found to be more likely to lose control, exceed the speed limit and drive carelessly and recklessly.

How long does learner driver insurance last?

Learner driver insurance lasts until the moment you pass your test or need to renew.

Once you’ve passed your driving test, you’ll need to get in touch with your insurance provider and get them to cancel your learner insurance policy. As soon as you’re fully qualified, you’ll need to take out a new car insurance policy.

What are the rules for learning to drive?

As a learner driver, you’ll be on a provisional driving licence. This means that there are some things you can’t do, compared to a full licence holder. These include:

  • Driving without supervision – the accompanying driver must be over 21, fit to drive, and have held a licence for at least three years
  • Driving on motorways – unless you’re with an approved instructor and the car is fitted with dual controls
  • Driving without ‘L’ plates – by law, ‘L’ plates must be displayed at the front and back of the vehicle whenever you are driving.

Will adding a learner driver to my policy increase my premiums?

Learner drivers are seen as a greater risk at the wheel, which means you’ll probably find that your premiums become more expensive.

If you’re an experienced driver, particularly one with a clean history and a decent no-claims discount, you should think carefully about adding a learner driver.

However, it’s normally not as expensive as adding a driver who’s recently passed their test. This is because there’s an assumption that a learner driver won’t be driving as often, and only under your supervision as a more experienced driver.

Can you add a named driver to learner driver insurance?

Yes, you can add a named driver to your learner driver insurance.

If someone is teaching you to drive in the car, they’ll need to be insured to take the wheel at any point.

Having a more experienced driver as a named driver on the policy usually makes your insurance cheaper. This is because it signals to your insurance provider that you’re not the only one driving it, lowering the risk of the car being in an accident.

However, it’s important that you’re honest about a named driver. They do actually have to spend time driving the car, otherwise, you could find your policy is voided. On the other end, pretending that someone else is the main driver, is ‘fronting’ and is a type of insurance fraud.

Will learner driver insurance count towards a no claims discount?

Generally yes, it will if you don't have an accident or make another type of claim while you're learning, but you'll need to check with your provider to make sure.

Can I get learner driver insurance if I need to retake my test because of a conviction?

If you need to retake your test because of a previous conviction or ban, you're unlikely to be able to use a standard learner driver insurance policy. You'll need to get a specialist policy aimed at convicted drivers.

Can more than one learner driver be insured on the same car?

Yes, but each learner driver will need to have their own separate policy.

Can I be insured for more than one vehicle?

You can get learner driver insurance for more than one vehicle, but you’ll need a separate policy for each car you drive.

Can I get car insurance if I’m aged 16?

Some 16-year-olds can get car insurance, but we only compare quotes for drivers aged 17 and above.

You can legally drive a car when you’re 16 if you receive the higher rate of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for mobility. If you have a car provided by the Motability scheme, insurance comes as part of the package. However, if you’re looking for insurance to drive a non-Motability car, it’s likely to be trickier. Car insurance providers typically don’t cover drivers aged under 17, so you may need to look for a specialist provider. An insurance broker may be able to help.

What extra cover is available for learner drivers?

Here are some examples of extra cover you might want as a learner driver:

  • Personal accident cover – this pays out if you or a passenger are injured or killed in an accident.
  • Motor legal protection – this helps cover the costs of legal fees you might face as a result of an accident.
  • Breakdown cover – this will get you roadside assistance to get you back on the road as soon as possible.
  • Courtesy car cover - if your car is in the garage for repairs, you’ll probably need another set of wheels to get you by.

Why compare learner drivers’ insurance with Compare the Market?

We independently compare a wide range of trusted UK car insurance providers to offer provisional licence drivers great car insurance deals.  

We’ll show you policies based on price, policy cover level, add-ons or annual or monthly payment terms – helping you compare based on your needs. 

We compare 170 car insurance provider products[2]

Get a quote in just 6 minutes[2]

Rated Excellent on Trustpilot[3]

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Correct as of March 2024.

[3] As of April 2nd 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 41,487 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

How much does learner driver car insurance cost? 

51% of learner drivers between 17-24 could achieve a quote of up to £772 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in December 2023.

What do I need to get a quote? 

To get a learner driver car insurance quote, just give us a few details about yourself, including:

  • Your name, how old you are and where you live
  • Your car registration number
  •  Your past driving history – whether you been involved in an accident, or made a claim in the last three years

Once we have the info we need, we can send you a list of suitable quotes to compare.

Comparethemarket offers quotes for those aged 17 and over only.

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Author image Rebecca Goodman

What our expert says...

“Everyone needs insurance when learning to drive, but the choice of cover – and the cost –can seem overwhelming. If you’re having professional lessons, then learner driver car insurance is usually included in the price. If you want to practice with a friend or parent, you could ask them to add you as a named driver to their insurance policy, which will give you the same level of cover as they have.”

- Rebecca Goodman, Insurance expert

Page last reviewed on 11 JANUARY 2024
by Alex Hasty