Learner Driver Car Insurance

Find affordable car insurance while you’re learning to drive

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Driving schools aren’t the only way to get experience behind the wheel. You can also use your own car as a learner driver – here’s how to find cover.

Young woman having driving lesson

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What is learner driver car insurance?

Learner driver car insurance is what you’ll need if you have a provisional licence and you’re taking driving lessons privately, rather than with a driving school. This means if you’re using your own car, or a car belonging to a friend or relative, you’ll need to take out your own cover – whereas driving schools will normally have their own insurance policies in place.

Do learner drivers need car insurance?

Even if you’re only learning to drive, and you only have a provisional licence, you’ll still need at least third-party car insurance in place to be road legal in your own car. This is because of the continuous insurance enforcement rules brought in as part of the road safety act in 2011.

If you are using a driving school then they’ll almost always have an insurance policy in place for their vehicles.

What level of car insurance should I get as a learner driver?

Motor insurance in general comes in three standard levels:

  • Third-party cover, as mentioned above, is the legal minimum level of cover required to drive on UK roads. It’ll cover you for the cost of damage you cause to another person (the third-party), their vehicle or their property whilst driving
  • Third-party, fire and theft cover is the next level up, and adds protection for your own vehicle if it’s stolen or damaged by fire or an explosion
  • Fully comprehensive cover includes all of the above, as well as insuring your car if it’s damaged in an accident where you’re to blame

Fully comprehensive cover not only offers the most cover, but is also usually the cheapest policy available on average.

94% of learner drivers take out fully comprehensive cover, saving at least £200 compared to third-party, fire and theft

Based on provisional licence holders only, with no other drivers on the policy. MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and June 2020, accurate as of July 2020

What type of car insurance should a learner driver get?

Taking out an annual car insurance policy isn’t the only way to get cover as a learner driver – you might also consider:

  • A short-term car insurance policy: Taking out temporary car insurance can be a cheaper way to get the cover you need if you’re only using a car while learning to drive. You’ll be able to take out a policy on your own car or someone else’s, so long as there’s a full-licence holder also on the policy
  • Adding yourself as a named driver: You can also be added to another person’s existing car insurance policy as a named driver – for example, your parent or partner’s. This will cause their premiums to go up, but assuming you’d be paying the cost this can be a cheaper option than taking out your own cover

If you do take out an annual policy, you’ll be able to continue using it once you get your full licence – you’ll just need to update your details with your insurer – but you’ll also be able to cancel your cover completely.

You might face cancellation fees if you do this, while if you continue with your policy your premiums are likely to shoot right up, as car insurance is almost always more expensive when you’re under 25.

If you’re a named driver on someone else’s policy and you pass your test, their premiums will also go up again when you have your full licence. This can still be a cheaper option than having your own policy, however you should be aware of an illegal practice known as fronting.

What is fronting?

Fronting is when a full drivers licence holder adds a young person to their policy as a named driver – but crucially, not as the main driver – in an effort to get cheaper cover for the young driver. If the full licence holder uses the car most of the time then this would be ok, but if they’re lying, and in reality the young driver is using the car for the majority, then this becomes illegal.

How much does car insurance cost for learner drivers?

As you might expect, the younger or more inexperienced you are, the more you’ll pay for car insurance in general. This applies differently for learner drivers, however:

  • When you hold a provisional licence insurance you won’t be allowed to drive on motorways
  • You’ll only be allowed to drive when supervised by another driver aged over 21 who’s held their licence for at least three years
  • You’re also unlikely to be using the car outside of your actual lessons

These factors substantially lower the risk of you being involved in a road accident despite your inexperience – as such, insurers usually charge less for provisional licence holders.

As an example, over the first half of 2020 the average annual car insurance quote for drivers aged 17-19 was £2,881 if they had a full UK licence, and £1,190 if they had a provisional licence.*

However for all other age groups having a full licence means your insurance premiums are much lower than if you were still a learner – as the benefits of being an older and more experienced driver outweigh the factors above.

*Based on fully comprehensive policies with only one driver. MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and June 2020, accurate as of July 2020

Will adding a named driver to my policy save me money?

It’s likely that adding a second driver – usually someone older and more experienced on the road, such as a parent or guardian – will help you get lower premiums while you’re learning to drive. This is because it will demonstrate to insurers you won’t be held solely responsible for the vehicle.

Between January and June 2020 just over ten percent of provisional licence holders looking for car insurance had another driver on their policy – but this group also paid over £500 less for cover.*

Of course there are always a number of other factors that insurers take into account when setting premiums – some of which you can’t control, but others which you can.

On average, adding a named driver can reduce a learner driver’s premium by £531

Based on fully comprehensive policies with provisional licence holders as the main driver and policy holder. MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and June 2020, accurate as of July 2020

How else can I get cheaper car insurance as a learner driver?

When you’re learning to drive, you might be able to find a cheaper quote by doing the following:

  • Using a car in a lower insurance group: Insurers use these groups to sort cars from least to most expensive to insure, and this is based on factors including the value of the car, its performance, the cost of repairs and replacement parts, and its safety and security features among others
  • Ask about telematics cover: Telematics insurance lets you earn cheaper premiums by driving sensibly over time. It’s usually targeted towards young drivers who have recently passed their test, but some providers offer it for learner drivers too
  • Pay more excess: Your excess payment is the amount you contribute towards a claim before your insurer pays the rest, and offering a higher voluntary excess shows insurers you’ll be less likely to make smaller or frivolous claims – so they’ll reward you with lower premiums. You can also take out cover for your excess payments, usually for a little extra on your premiums
  • Avoid unnecessary policy features: Car insurance policies can come with a range of features that bolster your cover, and while some might be included as part of fully comprehensive insurance, not all do. You may be tempted to add these policies as extras, but they will likely increase your premiums – and you might not need all of them, especially if you’re only using a car to learn how to drive

On average, the cheapest car to insure as a learner driver is the Volkswagen UP! at £809 a year with no named drivers, or the Citroen C1 at £671 a year with a named driver

Based on fully comprehensive policies with provisional licence holders as the main driver and policy holder. MoneySuperMarket data collected between January and June 2020, accurate as of July 2020

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

If you hold a full driving licence and you’re thinking about adding a learner driver (such as your child) to your policy, it’s likely your premiums will go up. However this won’t be as much as adding a newly qualified driver, as it’s assumed learner drivers won’t be driving the car frequently so the risk doesn’t actually increase by as much.

Compare car insurance quotes for learner drivers

If you’re a learner driver looking for car insurance, comparing quotes on MoneySuperMarket is a quick and easy way to find the cover you need at an affordable price. Just tell us about yourself and the car you want to be insured on, and we’ll search the market for a list of quotes tailored to your needs.

You’ll be able to compare policies by the overall cost, the cover you’ll get and the excess you’ll need to pay to make a claim. Once you’ve found the deal you want, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.

As with any kind of insurance, keep in mind the cheapest option isn’t always the most suitable – we recommend balancing the cost with the cover you’ll get, so you know you have the protection you need at an affordable price.

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