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How to add a learner driver to car insurance

Provisional drivers often need extra practice outside formal lessons. They can be added to existing car insurance policies - read on to find out how to add them and what the pros and cons are of letting a learner behind the wheel of your car.
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Car insurance for provisional drivers - how much does it cost?

Learning to drive is exciting, but also stressful. No one wants to go through the process more than once, which is why it makes sense to get in as much practice as possible before taking your driving test. In many cases this will include driving a friend’s or relative’s car, which could see the learner added to your insurance as a named driver.

Car insurance is expensive for young, inexperienced drivers, including learners. This is why many choose to learn to drive, in addition to professional lessons, in someone else’s car.

Adding a provisional driver to car insurance comes with a risk for the car’s owner too. But, if you’re happy to have a learner driver added to your insurance until they pass their test there are some things you should know.

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Why should I add a learner driver to my car insurance?

It's usually a friend or family member you could add and when deciding whether you should go ahead with adding a learner driver to insurance it’s worth considering the benefits to them.

These include:

  • if they don’t have their own car, they’ll struggle to get enough experience to feel confident about taking the practical test;

  • it may be cheaper for a learner to be added as a named driver to an experienced motorist’s policy than to take out temporary insurance in their own name;

  • the level of cover ranges from third party only to comprehensive with the latter potentially being too expensive for a young learner.

How do I add a learner driver to my car insurance policy?

It's easy to add a provisional driver to insurance by contacting your insurer but there are rules you need to follow.

For example, you can only be named on another driver’s insurance policy if you’re not the main owner or driver of the car. Being insured as a named driver when you are in fact the main driver is called fronting, and it’s illegal.

You should only be added as a named driver to an insurance policy if you’re going to be using the car occasionally – learning between your paid-for driving lessons, for example.

Also, someone else can’t take out a car insurance policy as the main driver when another person, such as a learner, does the lion’s share of the driving. This form of fraud is another form of fronting, which could see both parties charged with a criminal offence.

In short, if a learner has their own car, they’ll need to take out their own insurance. They can opt for standard car insurance or provisional driver car insurance.

Will adding a learner driver to my car insurance policy increase my insurance?

Many providers will agree to insure a learner driver as a named driver on the policy, but bear in mind this may be subject to admin fees and premium increases.

This is because there is a higher risk that learner drivers will be involved in accidents. We recommend you call your insurance provider to discuss this in detail before broaching the subject with the other driver. 

If the result of adding a named driver is an increase in the premium and an extra admin fee, you’ll need to think about who’ll cover this cost.

Car insurance fronting

Is adding a learner driver to my car insurance policy a good idea?

Whether you agree to insure a learner on your insurance will depend on your and their circumstances. 

Aside from the increased cost to you as the policyholder, you need to think carefully about other possible outcomes, which include:

  • Claims: If the learner has an accident that results in a claim, this may affect your no-claims bonus. Check with your policy provider whether your no claims bonus is fully, partly or not at all protected if there is an incident where the named driver was behind the wheel.

  • Their no claims bonus: As a named learner driver your friend or relative won’t be able to build up their own no-claims bonus while they’re insured on your policy.

  • Your relationship: If the named driver is in charge of the car at time of an accident, the resulting damage to the car, as well as the hassle of a claim – regardless of who’s to blame – could test your relationship with the other driver. 

If, after mulling over these issues, you or the learner driver are uneasy about proceeding, they could take out temporary insurance policy to cover them while driving your car. 

This option can often work out cheaper and pose less of a risk to your existing policy. Plus, in many cases they’ll be able to start building their no-claims bonus before they’ve even passed their test.  

What are the restrictions of driving on a provisional licence?

Even with a provisional licence in place, there are certain laws that govern driving as a learner. These include:

  • you must have valid car insurance for the vehicle you are driving;

  • you must be accompanied by an experienced driver (aged 21 or over and with a valid licence for at least three years);

  • you must avoid driving on motorways;

  • you must always display L plates on the front and back of the vehicle you are driving, even if you are driving someone else’s car as a named driver.

How can I get cheaper provisional car insurance?

Provisional car insurance is expensive and young drivers and those with no experience pay some of the highest prices for insurance. But there are ways to cut the cost:

  • Pay in one lump sum if you can, rather than monthly which can cost more

  • If you add a more experienced named driver to your policy this could lower the overall insurance risk and could make the insurance cheaper

  • Increasing your excess could lower your monthly payments, but make sure the amount is affordable as you'll have to pay it if you make a claim

  • Lower your mileage but make sure give an accurate estimate for how far you plan to drive in a year

  • Choose your car carefully, those in higher up insurance groups will be more expensive to insure.

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