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Provisional licence car insurance and learner drivers

Compare car insurance for learner drivers with a provisional licence

Find out how to get cover if you’re taking private driving lessons or learning in a family member’s car with our no-nonsense guide to provisional licence car insurance

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 19 November 2020

Young woman driving a car

What is provisional licence car insurance?

Provisional licence 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. Professional driving instructors usually have their own insurance in place, but 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.



What is learner driver car insurance?

Learner driver car insurance is another term for provisional licence car insurance. It covers you for the lessons and practice sessions you do before getting your full licence.


Based on MoneySuperMarket data from fully comprehensive quotes for drivers holding a provisional driving licence, data collected between January and September 2020, correct as of November 2020.


Do learner drivers need car insurance?

Even if you’re 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 due to 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.

Do I need car insurance if I have a provisional licence?

You’ll always need to be insured to drive, even if you only have a provisional driving licence and you’re taking lessons. However you might not need to take out cover yourself, depending on how you’re learning to drive:

  • Lessons with a driving instructor: If you’re receiving lessons from a driving school or instructor, they’ll almost always have insurance in place already – and the cost of cover will be included in the overall price of the driving lesson
  • Private lessons: Private lessons are a different story, and you’ll generally need to take out a car insurance policy to cover you
  • In your own car: If you’re lucky enough to have your own car to learn to drive in, you’re legally required to have at least a third-party insurance policy
  • In your parents’ car: If you’re learning to drive in a relative’s car, they can add you as a named driver to their existing policy. However, this will push up the cost of their insurance, so you may still want to consider taking out a separate learner driver policy

What type of car insurance do I need as a learner driver?

There are several types of learner driver car insurance to consider. These include:

  • Short-term cover: You might prefer a short-term car insurance policy if you’re using a car solely for your driving lessons – you’ll be able to drive your own vehicle or someone else’s as long as you’re accompanied by a full-licence holder. You should ideally aim for a policy lasting between three and six months, which is how long it takes most people to pass their test
  • Full annual cover: You could also take out a full car insurance policy lasting a whole year, so when you pass your test you’ll be able to update the policy or cancel it completely. However, you should be aware of any cancellation fees you might have to pay, and bear in mind that the premiums on a full policy tend to be very high if you’re aged between 18 and 24
  • Named driver cover: An alternative to taking out your own policy is to add yourself as a named driver to a car insurance policy in someone else’s name, such as a parent or partner. This is usually cheaper than taking out your own policy, but it also means the car’s main driver will have to pay higher premiums – even more so if you stay on as a named driver after passing your test

What does provisional licence car insurance cover?

The cover you’ll get from your provisional licence car insurance policy will vary between insurers, which might offer various levels of protection as standard, for an extra cost or not at all. It’ll also depend on the level of cover you take out – you’ll be able to choose from three different options.

What levels of car insurance can I get as a learner driver?

As a learner driver with a provisional licence you can take out the same levels of insurance as full licence holders, including:

  • Third-partyThird-party car insurance is the minimum legal requirement for drivers taking out car insurance. It’ll cover you for damage you do to another person, their vehicle or their property, but it won’t pay out for any costs relating to your own car
  • Third-party, fire and theftThird-party, fire and theft is the next step up, and adds cover for your own car if it’s stolen or damaged as a result of an attempted theft or fire
  • Fully comprehensiveFully comprehensive policies also cover damage done to your car in an accident you have caused

What extra cover might I need if I’m learning to drive?

When you take out car insurance you’ll normally have the option of adding extra cover to your policy. However, some aspects of cover will not be so useful if you’re only learning to drive – you probably won’t need cover for a sat-nav or stereo equipment, for example. Types of extra protection that might come in useful include:

  • Legal cover: Car insurance legal cover pays out for any legal fees you might face as a result of a car insurance claim
  • Breakdown cover: A breakdown policy covers you for the cost of any roadside assistance you might need if your car breaks down
  • Courtesy car cover: With courtesy car cover, you’ll get a replacement car to drive while yours is being repaired
  • Personal accident coverPersonal accident cover pays out if you’re injured or killed in a road incident

How much does provisional licence car insurance cost?

Car insurance is generally more expensive for younger drivers as they are more likely to be involved in road accidents. However, car insurance premiums for provisional licence holders are on average 36% lower* than for people with a full licence – mostly because if you’re a learner driver you’ll generally always have a more experienced driver next to you.

If you’re looking for a policy to cover you while you learn to drive, there are also other things you can do to get an even cheaper quote.

* Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between January and September 2020, correct as of November 2020


Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between January and September 2020, correct as of November 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, such as a parent or guardian – to your car insurance policy 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.

It’s important the named driver does occasionally drive the car, though, as your policy could be invalidated if this is found not to be the case. Pretending a more experienced driver is the main driver – a process known as fronting – is also insurance fraud.

What is fronting?

Fronting is when a full driving 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 the young driver is really the main driver, it is against the law.

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

It’s worth considering the following before looking for a provisional licence car insurance quote:

  • Choose the right car: The car make and model you drive has a big impact on your insurance premiums; a smaller and less powerful car will help keep costs down
  • Become a named driver: Being a named driver on another person’s car insurance policy is generally cheaper than taking out your own
  • Ask about black box: Some insurers offer black box or telematics cover for learner drivers as well as new drivers. It works by monitoring your driving habits and rewarding good driving with lower premiums
  • Pay more excess: The excess is the amount you pay towards the cost of a car insurance claim. Agreeing to pay a higher voluntary excess tells insurers you’re only likely to claim when it’s worth the extra cost, and they’ll reward you with lower premiums as a result
  • Trim your policy: As you’re only insuring yourself while you learn to drive, you probably won’t need too many policy add-ons. Stripping down your insurance to the basic aspects of cover can help reduce your premiums, and you can always add extra cover to your policy once you’ve passed your test


Data collected by MoneySuperMarket between January and September 2020, correct as of November 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, the increase won’t be as big as adding a newly qualified driver, as insurers assume learner drivers won’t be driving the car frequently - meaning the risk doesn’t increase by as much.

What are the rules on driving with a provisional licence?

There are certain things you cannot do when you have a provisional driving licence rather than a full licence. This include:

  • Driving on motorways (unless you’re in a car with dual controls and accompanied by an approved driving instructor)
  • Driving anywhere without supervision by another driver aged over 21 who’s held their licence for at least three years (and is fit to drive)
  • Driving without ‘L’ plates – or ‘D’ plates in Wales – fitted to the front and back of you vehicle

What happens after I pass my driving test?

If you take out an annual learner driver car insurance policy, you’ll be able to continue using it once you get your full licence – just need to update the details with your insurer. Just be aware that your premiums are likely to shoot up at this point, as you’re now free to drive without supervision. Alternatively, you can cancel your cover and look for alternative car insurance – although you might face cancellation fees to do this.

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. But this can still be a cheaper option than having your own policy.

Compare provisional licence car insurance

It’s easy to find and compare learner driver car insurance quotes with MoneySuperMarket. All you need to do is tell us a bit about you, your driving history (if you have one), and the car you want to insure, and we’ll show you a list of quotes tailored to your requirements.

You can compare deals by the overall cost of the policy, the cover you’ll get, and the excess you’ll have to pay to make a claim. Once you’ve found the deal you want, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.

When you pass your test, you will need to update your insurance, and you can either stick with the company you choose for your provisional insurance, or compare again and pick a new provider.





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