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Learner driver insurance

Find out about provisional driver insurance and how to keep learner driver insurance costs down. If you or a family member is a learner driver, here’s everything you need to know.
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Car insurance for provisional drivers - how much does it cost?
Learner driver insurance

What is learner driver insurance?

Learner driver insurance, or provisional driver insurance as it’s also known, covers drivers who haven’t yet passed their test.

If you’re learning to drive and want to practice outside lessons with a professional instructor, you’ll need to make sure you have insurance in place.

What does learner driver insurance typically cover?

As with standard car insurance, there are three levels of cover for learner driver insurance:

  • Comprehensive, or fully comprehensive learner driver insurance is the highest level, covering your car as well as other people and their property. It also gives you everything you get with Third party, fire and theft cover

  • Third party, fire and theft (TPFT) learner driver insurance covers your car against damage caused by fire or theft as well as other people and their property

  • Third party is the legal minimum you need to drive on UK roads. It only protects other people and their property. Despite being the lowest level of cover, third party learner driver insurance isn’t always the cheapest option.

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

Yes, learner driver insurance will cover you if you want to take your test in your own car.

But remember, the instant you’ve passed your test, you’ll no longer be covered as your provisional driver insurance won’t be valid. You’ll need to contact your insurer to get your existing learner driver insurance policy updated straightaway or buy a completely new car insurance policy instead.

Most driving instructors will let you take the test in their car – your instructor’s car should be covered for driving tests.

Do I need insurance as a learner driver?

Car insurance is a legal requirement to drive on UK roads and that includes learner drivers.

As a learner driver, you’ll need to buy learner driver insurance if:

  • You’re driving your own car

  • You’re driving a friend or relative’s car and you haven’t been added as a named driver to their policy.

You don’t need to worry about taking out learner driver insurance to cover lessons with a professional driving instructor as they should have insurance in place.

How much is learner driver insurance?

How much you pay for learner driver insurance depends on various things. Younger drivers, aged 17-24, generally pay more as insurers view them as riskier. The type of car you’re driving is also especially important – car insurance premiums are higher for more powerful, pricier cars.

But learner driver insurance tends to be more affordable than for newly-qualified drivers. Unlike learners, newly-qualified drivers no longer need to be supervised and are also allowed to drive on motorways. So, if you go from being a learner driver to holding a full driving license and insuring your own car, your premiums can rise significantly.

How much you pay for car insurance generally depends on:

  • The car you drive

  • Your age

  • What you do for a living

  • Where your car’s kept

  • Where you live

  • Your car’s security

  • Your mileage.

What’s the cheapest way to insure a learner driver?

Learner drivers can be added to a friend or relative’s existing car insurance policy as a named driver if they’re going to be practicing in their car. But this could be the more expensive option, especially if it’s for a young learner driver. The policyholder also risks losing their no-claims bonus if the learner has an accident.

While learner driver insurance isn’t cheap, for a shared car it’s often cheaper to buy a separate learner driver insurance policy rather than adding a learner to an existing policy as a named driver.

Here are some ways to cut the cost of learner driver insurance:

Black box insurance

Black box insurance, or telematics insurance as it’s also called, allows you to reduce the costs of your car insurance if you can show you’re a good, safe driver. A device fitted inside the car, or sometimes an app on your phone, monitors things like your speed, acceleration and braking.

Choose a higher excess

Opting for a higher voluntary excess will cut your learner driver insurance premiums. On the other hand, it means you’ll have to pay more towards covering the cost of damage to your car if you make a claim.

Temporary learner driver insurance

Buying temporary learner driver insurance can be cheaper than taking out annual cover. This could be a good choice if you only need provisional driver insurance to practice in someone else’s car for two or three months until you pass your test. You could save money with temporary car insurance as it can mean you only pay for the cover you need.

Add an experienced driver

If you’re learning to drive in your own car, you could add an experienced driver to your policy as a named driver provided they’ll be driving the car from time to time. The person who’s added as a named driver must be using the car less than the policyholder – if it’s the other way round, this is known as ‘fronting,’ which is illegal.

Compare quotes

Always shop around and compare quotes. Think about the various ways of insuring learner drivers so you make the best choice for you.

Can I get learner driver insurance if I own my own car?

Yes, if you own your own car, you can get learner driver insurance. When you get a quote as a learner driver you should select ‘UK provisional’ in the section asking you about your license.

With learner driver insurance, you’ll be covered to drive the car only when supervised by an experienced driver who meets the learner driver insurance rules.

Once you’ve passed your test, you’ll no longer be covered by your learner driver insurance policy so you’ll need to tell your insurer immediately if the policy hasn’t ended. You can ask them to update the existing policy for you or take out a new car insurance policy instead.

The bad news is that your car insurance premiums are likely to rise when you pass your test as car insurance for newly qualified drivers is generally more expensive than learner driver insurance.

How long will I need learner driver insurance for?

Most people need around 45 hours of professional driving lessons and 22 hours of practice, so it could typically take three to four months before you’re ready to take your test. But how long you’ll need learner driver insurance depends on you – some people learn to drive more quickly than others.

You’re automatically insured as part of the cost of your lessons when you use an approved driving instructor. But you’ll need learner driver insurance when you practice with family or friends – they can add you to their car insurance policy as a named driver or you can take out a separate learner driver insurance policy.

What are the cheapest ways of learning to drive?

Learning to drive can be costly, so here are some potential ways to cut the cost of learning to drive a car.

Paying a professional driving instructor

Pro: if you rely on regular lessons you won’t need learner driver insurance, as the lesson fees include the cost of them being insured on your behalf.

Con: the cost of getting professional lessons can add up quickly, with many instructors charging around £35 an hour.

Learning with friends and family

Pro: if you have a relative or friend who can supervise you in their car on a regular basis, you could save on driving lessons.

Con: you’ll either need to be added as a named driver on their insurance policy or take out separate learner driver insurance.

In practice, many people tend to take professional driving lessons as well as get practice with friends and family. Combining help from a professional with as much additional driving practice as possible can help you pass your test more quickly. The sooner you pass the test, the less you’ll spend on learning to drive.


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