Learner driver insurance

  • Buy learner drivers insurance for up to £581/year[1]

  • Enjoy a whole year of Meerkat Meals & Meerkat Movies*

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[1] 51% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £581 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2022.

A handy guide to learner driver car insurance

It’s an exciting time if you’ve just got your provisional licence and are about to take to the road. But it can be a confusing and expensive time, too. Fear not – we’re here to help.

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

Plus, check out our Young Drivers tool, which will give you an idea of all the other costs involved in running your own car, information on the cheapest cars to insure and our guide for new drivers that’s full of practical help for newbies.

 Find out all you need to know about young driver's car insurance, including car insurance for 21-year-olds.

At a glance

Do learner drivers need insurance?

If you’re having lessons with a professional driving school, then most of them 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 insurance.

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

Types of car insurance policy for learner drivers

Getting cover for a learner driver is quite similar to insuring a qualified driver, with several options 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 – includes the benefits of all of the above, but also provides cover for injuries or damage sustained to you and your car

As a learner driver, you should also consider the length of policy you need:

  • Annual cover – this is the most common form of car insurance, providing you cover for the whole year, and is automatically renewed at the end of the term
  • Short-term or temporary cover – this covers you for a specified period. This could be from as little as an afternoon, up to 30 days. This may be ideal if you’re only looking to take private lessons with a friend or family member as you approach your test date, but it’s more expensive as a daily rate compare to annual cover

If you’re going to be taking regular lessons with one friend or family member in particular, you should consider being added as a named driver on their policy. This will afford you the same level of cover as they do, and allows you to drive their vehicle whenever you need a lesson. However, this will usually increase your friend or family member’s premiums, so they should be aware of this before agreeing to adding you to their policy.

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, but they must be at least 21-years-old and have held a full driving licence of their own for at least three years. However, some insurance providers may have their own limits, such as a minimum supervisor age of 25, so you should check for any limits to your cover. Other limits could include the time of day you’re allowed to drive. 

It’s important to know that, while learner driver insurance can cover you for your driving test, if you then pass the test, you’ll no longer be covered to drive the car home as a qualified driver.  

A learner driver insurance policy acts as a separate policy to your supervisor’s insurance. This means that you don’t need to worry about their policy and potential no claims bonus being affected if you get into an accident while driving their car.

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. There are three main types of cover available:

  • third party only  – this covers you for any injury you cause to other people and any damage to their property
  • third party fire and theft  – similar to a third-party policy, except that it also includes cover for the theft of your vehicle or damage by fire
  • comprehensive  – includes all the cover of a third-party fire and theft policy, but also protects you as a driver and can pay out for damage you cause to your own car. You might think this would be the most expensive type of policy but that’s not always the case, so it’s worth comparing your options to get the right cover for you

How can I reduce the cost of learner driver insurance? 

While cheap insurance for learner drivers can seem hard to find, there are some things you can do to make it cheaper: 
 
Share your car with an experienced driver - you could reduce the cost of your premium by adding them 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. 
 
Offer to pay a higher voluntary excess - although this could cost you more in the event of a claim, as you’ll need to pay the  voluntary excess  you choose, as well as the compulsory excess set by the provider, it could mean a cheaper monthly premium in the short term. Just make sure you could afford the total in the event of needing to make a claim.

Black box insurance for learner drivers

Yes – black box, or telematics, policies come with a little device or an app that monitors your driving habits. These are particularly good for learner drivers without a long record of driving safely, because insurance providers perceive learner drivers to pose a greater risk. A black box monitors your speed, steering and braking, as well as where, and how far, you drive. If you can prove that you’re a safe driver, you could save on your insurance.

Why are learner drivers more at risk? 

Learner drivers might have the guidance of a professional or experienced driver alongside them at all times, but that doesn’t make them immune from accidents and other mishaps on the road which might accrue points.  

There are a number of reasons why learner drivers might still find themselves in trouble: 

  • Overconfidence. While very few people start out super confident, it only takes a few good lessons to gain an increased amount of confidence. Some drivers fall into the trap of thinking they’re ready to tackle the road at the same level of competence as experienced motorists. As many as 98% of young drivers think of themselves as safe. Unfortunately, this is almost always not the case. 
  • Poor assessment of hazards. Most learners won’t be familiar with all the different kinds of hazards and risks you’d normally find on the road. This comes down to a lack of on-road experience, rather than anything else. Experienced heads will spot a red flag before an incident occurs. A learner may not.  
  • Unfamiliar conditions. Whether it’s because of rain, a lack of light or even having more passengers in the car than normal, conditions play a huge factor in driving. While an experienced motorist will be able to quickly adapt, it can be jarring for newcomers to the road. The net result of this could be a greater risk of danger.  

Learner driver insurance FAQs

Are there typically any eligibility criteria to get a policy?

While criteria may vary slightly between providers, here are some basic requirements that are applicable to most insurance providers:

  • You must hold a valid, clean UK provisional driving licence
  • You must be aged between 17-35 
  • You’re a permanent UK resident 
  • You’re insuring a vehicle which is registered and legally eligible to drive with a valid MOT 
  • Have made no previous claims 
  • Have no previous driving offences or convictions 
  • The car is under a specified value (this may vary between providers)

Why is learner driver insurance so expensive?

Younger drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident than older drivers.

Insurance providers keep a close eye on statistics, and teens (17 and 18 year olds) and early 20-somethings of student age tend to be involved in more accidents (and worse accidents, for that matter) than older and more experienced drivers. In fact, of 1,460 reported road deaths in 2020, 207 of those killed were between 17-24 years old.

How long does learner driver insurance last?

Learner driver insurance lasts until the moment you pass your test.

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

Does learner driver insurance cover me for my driving test?

Yes, learner driver insurance should cover you for your driving test.

However, many 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. 

If you’re using your own car, learner driver insurance will cover you for your test. 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.

What happens after I pass my driving test?

As soon as you pass your driving test, your learner driver insurance becomes invalid.

This means you won’t even be insured to drive the same car home. So, you’ll need to call your existing provider and change your policy, or cancel it entirely and compare car insurance quotes as a new driver to find a cheaper quote.

What happens if I fail my driving test?

If you fail your test, you should still be covered to carry on practising.

Your learner driver insurance policy is valid up until you pass your test. However, if you only took out temporary insurance up to the day of the test, you’ll need to take out a new policy once your temporary cover has expired.

Who can supervise me when I drive?

The minimum legal requirement for a driving supervisor is someone aged 21 and over, with a full driving licence for at least three years.

However, some insurance providers may have different criteria, so it’s important to check carefully before taking out a policy. It’s not uncommon for insurance providers to require supervisors to be aged 25 and over. 

How does learner driver insurance affect the car owner’s no claims bonus?

A learner driver insurance policy is separate, so if you were to have an accident while driving someone else's car, the owner of the car won't need to claim on their policy, leaving any no claims bonus intact. 

If you were listed as a named driver on their vehicle, any accidents would affect your supervisor’s insurance and no claims bonus.

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 decent no claims bonus, 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.

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.

Does my learner driver insurance cover me to drive at any time, day or night?

You should check the policy details, as some providers will restrict your cover to certain times of the day.

For example, if it’s not your own car, you might only be covered to drive under supervision between 6am and midnight.

Will taking Pass Plus courses help me get cheaper car insurance?

Yes, taking Pass Plus courses could help to increase your experience as a new driver and could decrease your car insurance premium as a result.

What extra cover is available for learner drivers?

Here are some useful 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.

How much does learner driver car insurance cost? 

According to Compare The Market’s latest data, 51% of learner drivers could achieve a quote of up to £581[2] for their car insurance. 

[2] 51% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £581 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in November 2022.
 
 

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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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Why use Compare The Market?

We compare 150 car insurance provider products[3]

Get a quote in just 6 minutes[4]

As of January 2023 Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 23,670 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’. Find out more

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[3]
Correct as of December, 2022.
[4] Correct as of December, 2022.

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 12/01/2023
by Alex Hasty