Want to insure a learner driver? Here’s what you need to know
if your teenage son or daughter has just started driving lessons, or is eagerly awaiting the day they can do so, it probably won’t be long before you find yourself having to navigate the world of “learner driver insurance”.
There are lots of companies offering insurance designed for learners, from household names to smaller specialists – but spool back a decade or so, and this type of cover virtually didn’t exist.
And the cost can vary hugely: a quick Guardian Money price test of a few of the leading providers found that a month’s cover for a 17-year-old living in north-east London could cost anything from £71 to £126.
So what exactly is learner driver insurance, how does it work and what should you buy?
If you are taking lessons with a driving school, insurance will almost certainly be included in the price you are paying.
But if you want some extra hours of supervised practice to help improve your chances of passing your test, using mum or dad’s car (or that of a relative or friend), then you will need to obtain insurance.
According to the RAC, the average learner requires 20 hours of additional practice outside of their driving lessons.
The traditional solution was that a parent would simply add their son or daughter to their own policy. While that may still be viable for some people, adding a provisional licence holder to a main motor insurance policy can be costly – and some insurers don’t allow it.
Learner insurance is designed to sit alongside the existing insurance on the car that the young person will be practising in. Typically, it provides fully comprehensive cover when the learner driver is behind the wheel and also during their driving test if they intend to use the same car.
Crucially, for the main policyholder, this means that if the learner prangs the vehicle, a claim would be made on this policy – leaving the car owner’s main policy untarnished and any no claims bonus protected. There are now thought to be dozens of companies offering this cover. Learner driver insurance can often be bought by the day, the week or the month, and, in some cases, even by the hour.
One of the latest firms to move into this sector is miDrive, which has rolled out a new type of pay-as-you-go insurance called Anytime, where the minimum price for just one hour is £12.70 and the minimum for a month is £90.95.
But one of the issues with this type of cover is that – as Guardian Money discovered when we went shopping for quotes – it doesn’t lend itself to price comparison sites.
If you are looking for a policy, the best bet is to log on to several providers’ sites, fill in some details and get a quote, or ring round a few of the companies.
With some, you can get an indicative quote in a matter of seconds – you simply key in a