Driver Knowledge Tests

Learner driver insurance

There are two options if you have a learner driver in your house:

  1. Extend your existing policy to cover them
  2. Get a new car policy (e.g. if they have their own car)

Parents of learner drivers can be stressed about how their son or daughter will cope with driving and whether they will have an accident. Getting a good driving instructor will reduce the risk, rather than passing on bad habits, and will help them pass sooner and be a more competent driver. Driving instructors already have insurance for the learner to use their car.

To extend a policy is simple: call up your insurance company and tell them you have a supervised L plater who will be driving your car. You must put L plates on your car – it is an offence not to have them as you will be fined and the learner driver will get 2 demerit points. Once they get their P plate you must remove the L plate and put a P plate on it. Call the insurance company as soon as they pass and move to a P plate as this will affect your policy.

If the learner driver owns their own car it may be better to insure it themselves. Check with the insurance company. If the parent is sitting with them then they might be covered, but as soon as they’re on a P plate and driving alone, they will need separate insurance for that car.

Price changes when insuring a learner driver

  • The premium (the amount you pay each month or year) might increase.
  • If the learner driver is a named driver and is driving, the excess will usually be higher (the excess is the voluntary amount you pay before the insurer tops up the rest).
  • If the learner driver is not a named driver but is driving, the excess will be higher. Parents sometimes do this to avoid the increase in premiums.
  • If the learner is under 25 a young driver excess may be applied.
  • If the learner is over 25 years old then an ‘inexperienced driver’ excess will apply.
  • If the car is particularly expensive or powerful then there may be other excesses that apply.

If you have an expensive car it might be less risky to purchase a cheaper car for your offspring to use and insure that. Insurance companies sting learner drivers because they are high risk: they tend to be young (and reckless) and inexperienced. They are much more likely to have an at-fault accident than someone that’s been driving 5 years. Less than 15% of the population are aged 17-25 (and many of them don’t drive) but they make up over 20% of the yearly road toll.

How to reduce the cost of your car insurance policy

  • Garage your car – cars left on the street are more likely to be broken into.
  • Get an alarm and/or steering lock – it deters thieves.
  • Move to a different place (not totally practical, but it could drop your insurance premium if it’s deemed a less risky place by your insurer)
  • Choose a policy based on how much you drive – you’ll need to use your car less, though.

Darren is an expert on driving and transport, and is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists

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