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Learning to drive is an exciting time! It means you’ll soon no longer be reliant on public transport, or lifts from friends and relatives. Alongside the added freedom it comes with, driving itself can be enjoyable too.
However, learning to drive can also come with lots of questions, in addition to added costs, such as insurance. Here’s everything you need to know about learner driver car insurance, including the types of cover, and if you even need it.
Learner driver insurance, or provisional insurance is common amongst those learning to drive, but not always essential. If you’re solely driving, taking lessons with a school or professional instructor, chances are they’ll include insurance in the cost. If this is the case, you won’t need additional driving insurance.
However, many also practice outside of those lessons to build up confidence on the road, and work on manoeuvres. If you choose to drive supervised in someone else’s car, or perhaps your own, then car insurance becomes essential.
Finally, if you’re not using a school or instructor at all, and prefer to be taught by a relative or friend, insurance is mandatory.
There are three main car insurance options for learner drivers, and the best will depend on your personal circumstances.
This type of policy lasts for twelve months but begins with a provisional licence. After you pass your test, it can be amended to reflect your full driving licence. This is often the best route for those that already have their own car.
Short-term or temporary car insurance usually lasts for about 28 days and gets you insured on someone else’s car while you learn to drive. If you’re already learning with a school or instructor, this gives you the freedom to practice, supervised outside of lessons. If you’re learning to drive solely with a friend or relative, then it allows you 90 days to get ready for your test.
Learner drivers can also be added to existing policies as a named driver. This allows you to drive your parents’ or friend’s car like the two policy types above, but it’s often cheaper. The only catch? It’ll affect the main policy holder’s premiums if you have an accident while driving the car.
Be aware that the person who drives the car the most must always be the main driver; doing otherwise is illegal and called Fronting.
‘Driving schools usually come with learner driver insurance included, but it doesn’t cover practicing outside of lessons. Driving as much as possible, with an eligible supervisor, is great for building up confidence and getting the hang of car control. It helps most learners get even more out of their lessons, but you’ll need to invest in a provisional licence policy to do it’
Curtis Moldrich - automotive journalist
Although the types of policy are very different for learners, the levels of insurance for those on a provisional licence are largely the same as standard insurance policies.
This the most basic level of insurance and the minimum legal requirement. Simply put, it’s able to cover any damage you do to a third-party’s person, vehicle or property – but it won’t cover anything on your own car.
In addition to the above, third-party fire and theft adds cover for any damage done to your own car if it’s stolen or damaged due to theft, as well as fire.
Fully comprehensive covers everything third-party fire and theft does, but also covers damage done to your own car in an accident that’s been determined to be your fault.
Insurance is partly calculated on the type of car you’re trying to get insured on. Cars are grouped 1-50 for insurance purposes, and generally the lower the group, the lower the premiums. If you’re just learning to drive, get a car that keeps the costs down.
It’s possible to cut costs by upping your voluntary excess and agreeing to pay more before the insurance company pays the rest. However, while it may seem like a great idea to hike your voluntary excess up, remember that you may have to pay it one day – so make it affordable.
Designed to record data such as speed and acceleration, a black box essentially records your inputs and shows if you really are a safe driver. Premiums could go down if you’re willing to have your driving monitored.
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Fronting is when someone with a full driving licence adds a provisional licence holder to their policy as a named driver but the provisional licence holder uses the car most of the time. This is illegal.