To really make the most of your lessons, it pays to practise regularly. That means hitting the road in a friend or family member’s car under their supervision. You can’t just jump in anyone’s car, you’ll need to arrange insurance. Broadly speaking there are two options to consider, either being added to the owner’s insurance or arranging your own learner driver cover…
How can I keep learning outside of my driving lessons?
Professional driving tuition is expensive, and it’s this cost which can easily limit the amount of time you get behind the wheel. However, if you’re able to practise independently you’ll build experience and confidence that much faster. Your parents may well have a suitable car, but affordable cover may be elusive – which is where learner insurance comes in.
Learner driver insurance allows you to practise in somebody’s car, and instead of you having to be covered by their insurance, you’re covered by your own. You’re comprehensively insured, too, which means that if you prang your mum’s car, she won’t have to claim on her policy.
There are lots of these schemes available, with prices typically starting at around £70 per month. These policies generally allow you to learn in most types of car, as long as it’s under supervision, and with the owner’s permission. Policies typically range from a month to a whole year, but once you’ve paid for that initial period, you can normally top up just a week at a time.
When you pass your test you’ll usually need to arrange normal insurance cover or you’ll be driving uninsured. If you’re lucky enough to own your own car before you’ve swapped your provisional licence for a full one, there are companies who will cover you while learning in your own car, too.
As with any insurance cover, you have to read the small print. One thing that tends to upset insurance companies is young drivers piloting something expensive and powerful, so you’ll need to make some checks. For example, there may be an insurance group limit, while a car’s value may be another obstacle. Whoever supervises you is probably going to have to be at least 25 years old, and should have had a licence for at least three years.
There may be other restrictions, too, such as driving at night, and any car you learn in must already be covered on a conventional annual policy. Also, the chances are you’ll have to buy a separate policy for each car, if you practise in more than one.
Being insured as a named driver
Many learner drivers are added to someone else’s insurance policy as a ‘named driver’. This saves on the need to set up your own policy, but it can be expensive. As well as bumping up your parents’ insurance premium, if you have a mishap they could lose their no claims bonus. And that could make things pretty tense at home!
Putting learner insurance to the test
Chloe Hodgson, 17, from Manchester organised her own motor insurance policy with Adrian Flux so she could take extra lessons in her father’s car. It was cheaper taking a policy of her own rather than being added to his policy which could put his no claims bonus at risk.
She said: “Adrian Flux does all the hard work for you, shopping around until they find something that’s just right for you. There’s no complicated online forms, just one quick phone call. And when I pass my test they’ll help me find the best deal for my new annual policy. I will definitely use Adrian Flux again.”