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Learner driver insurance

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[1] 51% of learner drivers could achieve a quote of up to £745.26 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 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.

What is learner driver insurance?

Learner driver insurance is a policy that covers you to drive a friend or family member’s car while you’re learning to drive.   

Provisional car insurance gives you the cover you need to drive legally on the roads while under supervision. It also protects the car owner’s no-claims discount (NCD), so if you do have a bump, it won’t affect their NCD. 

Learner insurance can be bought as an annual or short-term policy. An annual learner driver policy will cover you for the whole 12 months while you’re learning. Temporary learner insurance could be handy if you just want some extra practice in the run-up to your test.

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 practise 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 won’t.

Please note that Compare the Market 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 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 temporary learner insurance by the day, week or month. This might be ideal if you’re only looking to practise 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?

Depending on your policy, learner driver insurance could cover:

  • Accidental damage, fire damage or theft. 
  • Third-party liability – if you injure someone or damage their property.
  • Medical expenses – if you or one of your passengers is injured. 
  • Taking your driving test.

What isn’t typically covered by learner driver insurance?

Learner driver insurance typically comes with restrictions, so check your policy carefully for any exclusions. These could include:

  • Restrictions on when and where you can drive. 
  • A limit on how many miles you can drive.
  • Driving without a qualified driver – see government guidance on supervising learner drivers.
  • Driving after you’ve passed your test – learner drive cover ends as soon as you pass your test, so you’ll need to arrange a lift home from the test centre.

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. Also, 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.

Who is eligible for learner driver insurance?

Terms and conditions can vary between providers, so you’ll need to check if you and the car are eligible for learner driver insurance. In general:

The learner driver must: The vehicle must:
Hold a current, provisional UK driving licence Be UK registered with a valid MOT and no modifications
Be a permanent UK resident Be less than 40 years old
Have no motoring offences, penalty points or convictions Be worth less than a certain amount – usually £40,000
  Not be a hire or rental vehicle

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.

February has the worst pass rate of just 49.4%, suggesting that the warmer, drier months might provide the best conditions for you to pass your test on the first try.

Increase your chances of passing with private practice

Alongside professional lessons, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recommends getting as much private practice as possible before attempting your driving test. During January 2024, 53 out of every 100 driving tests in Great Britain were failed.

The DVSA urges learner drivers to move back the date of their driving test and give themselves more time if they don’t feel ready to pass. According to research, those who can manage more than 100 hours of driving lessons, plus extra practice, will also be much safer on the road after their test.

The DVSA’s Ready to Pass? campaign provides useful advice and tips on increasing your chances of passing your test. This includes help and guidance on learning vital skills, managing your nerves and taking mock tests.

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 much is learner driver insurance?

51% of learner drivers between 17-24 could achieve a quote of up to £746[1] for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data.

[1] 51% of learner drivers could achieve a quote of up to £745.26 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2024.

How can I get cheap learner 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 learner insurance can be hard to find, there are some steps you could take to help 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 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

Excess is the amount you contribute to a car insurance 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 many different insurance providers.

Get more tips on getting cheaper car insurance

What do I need to get a learner driver insurance 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 Julie Daniels

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.”

- Julie Daniels, Motor insurance expert

Why compare learner driver 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 182 car insurance provider products[2]

Get a quote in just 7 minutes[2]

Rated Excellent on Trustpilot[3]

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[2]
Correct as of June 2024.

[3] As of July 1st 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 43,115 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

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.

According to government statistics, one in five new drivers are involved in a collision during their first year of driving.

The most common contributing factor for younger drivers involved in fatal or serious collisions with another vehicle is failing to look properly. 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?

Adding a learner driver to your policy could push up the price of your premium. This is because learners are seen as a greater risk at the wheel.

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 is usually considered one of the cheapest ways to insure a learner driver. 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, 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, learner driver insurance will count towards a no-claims discount 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?

More than one learner driver can be insured on the same car, but they will need to have their own separate policies.

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 might 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.
Page last reviewed on 11 JULY 2024
by Julie Daniels