Your guide to learner driver insurance

5 minutes

Learner driver insurance can prove vital if you’re taking to the road for the first time in someone else’s car.

When receiving informal lessons from a loved one, it helps you both avoid more stress than necessary should things not go exactly to plan.

Read on to find out all about the different learner driver insurance options available and how to choose the right policy for you.

What is learner driver insurance?

As the name suggests, learner driver insurance is a specialist type of policy for people working towards their driving test. It gives you the freedom to legally drive on UK roads when you only have a provisional licence. These policies are designed for short-term use, offering financial protection while you’re having informal driving lessons in a friend or relative’s car.

Learning to drive is an exciting experience, and you’ll never forget the thrill of mastering clutch control, three-point turns and even tricky roundabouts for the first time. But in the rush to pass that all-important practical test, it’s essential to remember insurance is a legal requirement - even for informal lessons.

How does learner insurance work?

Learner driver insurance was specifically created for motorists taking informal lessons in another person’s car. This means it won’t be suitable for every learner driver. For example, it might not be appropriate if you already have your own car. 

You have two options when learning to drive in a vehicle owned by a family member or friend:

  • Becoming a named driver on their policy. Your loved one could formally add you to their existing car insurance policy, covering you for any mishaps or bumps in the road when you’re receiving driving lessons from them. On the flipside, this may not always be a cheap option, and any accidents could cause your friend or relative to lose their no-claims bonus.
  • A specific learner driver insurance policy. In contrast to becoming a named driver, a tailored learner policy will only cover you for a short period – anything from a couple of hours to a few months depending on the insurer. However, as it’s separate to the car owner’s insurance, you won’t risk their no-claims bonus if you experience the odd bump, scrape or worse. Learner driver insurance can be fully comprehensive, but always check the small print before signing up.

It’s useful to remember that specific learner driver policies differ between insurers. Some companies only offer these deals if you fall into a particular age category, while others may limit the time of day when you can drive. It’s also worth looking out for any restrictions on the driver supervising you – and whether your practical driving test is covered.

Do learner drivers always need insurance?

Under provisional licence driving rules, learners always need to have a recognised form of car insurance when using the country’s road network. This applies whether you’re taking professional lessons, receiving learner driver supervision in a friend or parent’s car, or using your own vehicle.

Insurance is one of the biggest costs when learning to drive. But it’s vital in financially protecting you and your fellow road users if you’re involved in an accident. The rules are strictly enforced – you could end up with a driving ban , an unlimited fine, or up to eight penalty points if you drive without proper insurance

Other car insurance options for learners

As we’ve mentioned, motorists with a provisional licence can insure themselves by seeking out specific learner driver insurance or getting added to a policy as a named driver. But things are slightly different if you’re considering professional tuition instead or already own a vehicle:

  • Getting insurance with an instructor. Generally, your car insurance needs should be taken care of when you book formal lessons with a company or professional instructor. Your insurance cover is usually built into the price you pay for each session. However, always double-check that this is the case.
  • Seeking cover on your own car. You’ll likely need a full car insurance policy if you’re lucky enough to have a vehicle of your own. The person supervising you during lessons can then be added as a named driver.

Who can supervise a learner driver?

It goes without saying that qualified instructors are allowed to accompany learner drivers during formal lessons. But you’ll need to keep certain rules in mind when receiving learner driver supervision from a friend, parent or another relative.

Your supervisor will need to:

  • Be at least 21 years old. Some insurers may have a higher age requirement too.
  • Have owned a full driving licence for at least three years.
  • Be qualified to drive the car you’re learning in. For example, if you’re learning in a manual car they’ll need a manual licence.

Getting the right insurance for a learner driver

It’s important not to rush any decisions when it comes to learner driver insurance. Your choice of supervisor and the car you plan to use are some of the main factors to consider.

Follow these steps to make sure you get the right policy for you:

  • Decide on a supervisor. Professional lessons from a qualified instructor generally won’t require you to take out insurance. But you’ll need to do some homework if you’re opting for less formal sessions with someone you know.
  • Choose a car to learn in. You’ll need to research a full car insurance policy if you plan to use your own vehicle. Other learner driver insurance options are available when using someone else’s car. These include buying a specific learner policy and getting added to a loved one’s existing insurance as a named driver.
  • Shop around. Searching for a policy isn’t just about comparing learner driver insurance costs. Instead, look for a deal that combines a fair price with a suitable policy term and level of coverage.
  • Watch out for any restrictions. Make sure your supervisor meets any age and licence restrictions advertised with a policy.

Once you’ve passed your test, you’ll need to change your insurance. You can stay with the same provider, but you’ll need to let them know the good news. You can also always change insurers to find the best car insurance policy for you.