L is for Learner Insurance


We’ve teamed up with Marmalade to bring you what we think is the best and most flexible learner insurance there is.

Without affecting your parent’s no claims discount, this is a separate policy in your own name. Click the image to give them a visit and find out more.

Learner Driver Insurance

You want to make the most of your driving lessons, and getting some extra private practise with friends or family can be incredibly useful! Let’s look at how we can do that…

There are two main ways to get insurance;

Named driver insurance

This is where you add yourself to another driver’s insurance policy. This means you don’t have to set up your own policy, but this option can be expensive. If you need to make a claim on the policy, it will affect the policy-holder’s no claims discount and the cost of their insurance might increase next year. This could make them unhappy.

Learner driver insurance

This is where you have your own policy, on your own or somebody else’s car (e.g. a friend or parent) usually with a specialist learner insurance provider. As these types of insurers specialise in learner insurance, the cost can often be lower. This also helps you build up your own no claims bonus in your own name too. If you need to make a claim, it will not affect the car owner’s policy (which will make them happy).

Can anyone supervise a learner driver?

A supervising driver must be over the age of 21 years, and must have held their licence for 3 years or more. They must also meet the minimum eyesight requirements, and must hold a valid UK full driving licence – this means that if they’ve had their licence revoked for driving offences, or revoked for medical reasons etc – they cannot supervise you. They must also follow the same rules as a driver must – such as, no drinking alcohol, no drugs, no using their mobile phone, not being distracted, etc.

You must also display L plates clearly on the front and back of your vehicle, and your vehicle must have insurance, an MOT certificate if necessary, and road tax. It must also be in a good, legal, and roadworthy condition.

Even as a learner, you, as the driver, are responsible when driving a car: even if you are with your supervising driver, or even your driving instructor.

What happens to my learner insurance policy when I pass my test?

It’s very important to note that the second you pass your practical driving test, you are no longer a learner! Your learner driver insurance might become invalid. This means that if you’ve taken your car to your driving test, you are unable to drive home – so it’s worth making sure the family member or friend with you is insured on your car. If you are with your driving instructor, some instructor’s policies allow them to drive other vehicles – you would need to talk to your driving instructor before they decide to drive your car back to your home after your test.

The other option is for you to ring your insurance company the second you pass your test, and change your insurance to a full licence holder policy – you must make sure this has changed over before you drive home. Always double check with the insurance company as to when this will take effect from, as some insurers may tell you to wait 30 minutes for the change to take effect.

Or take out a policy with Marmalade: some of their policies cover you when you pass too!

Should I get a black box?

Often, black boxes are seen as a bad thing – however they can be incredibly useful and reduce your insurance significantly. There are many misconceptions about black boxes, so lets have a look at them. They are very small, and the insurance company will fit it for you, under your dashboard.

How do black boxes work?

Black boxes often work on a ‘points’ system, so the more ‘good things’ you do whilst driving, the more points you get. The more ‘bad things’ you do whilst driving, you are likely to have points deducted.

Here’s a personal experience from Laura:

I personally had a black box when I passed my driving test, and I could access my black box through a dashboard online. With this particular insurance company, you started off with 100/100 points. The insurers explained that if you got below 50/100 points, you would be sent a letter explaining that you need to improve your driving. If you got below 25/100 points, the insurers would consider cancelling your insurance.

If your insurance is cancelled for any reason (such as poor driving, excessively high number of claims, failure to make payments etc – regardless of if you have a black box), you may find it very tricky to get insurance from other insurers.

I often checked my black box dashboard online to see how I was doing, and I was actually surprised that even though I was doing some of the ‘bad things’ (like driving at night as I worked night shifts at the hospital), I didn’t lose that many points! Admittedly I was even speeding occasionally (such as 75 in a 70), and even though it had a small effect on my points, it didn’t affect my insurance dramatically.

You can see your black box data on an app, or online

After my first year of insurance, my insurance HALVED! I was really impressed, and I know that any normal insurance would never have halved my renewal quote – because they aren’t able to see my driving. If you are a relatively good driver, you would be able to take advantage of better renewal quotes because the insurer can see your driving data, know that you are looking after your vehicle, and driving safely.

Black box considerations

Black boxes are often used to track your location, speed, acceleration, braking, and the time of day that you use your vehicle. Lets have a look at what can have a positive/negative impact on your black box points.

Location – Insurers like to know where you are driving, because statistically the safest roads to drive on, are motorways!

Positive impact – Driving on motorways
Negative impact – Driving on country roads

Speed – Insurers can see the speed limits for the roads you have been driving on, and can compare your speed on that road. If you have been speeding excessively, you may be sent a letter from your insurance. It’s important to note that the insurance company can not report speeding offences to the police.

Positive impact – Driving within the speed limit
Negative impact – Driving over the speed limit

Acceleration – Insurers like to see smooth acceleration from you – harsh acceleration may indicate racing type or anti social behaviours, and this is not fuel efficient.

Braking – Insurers like to see smooth braking, rather than harsh/heavy braking. If you are braking harshly it may indicate you are not looking and planning ahead, and are seeing incidents or slow moving traffic very late, not leaving yourself enough time to slow down safely. Harsh/heavy braking can be a surprise to vehicles behind you, could cause an accident, could put unnecessary wear and tear on your brake pads, and is not fuel efficient.

Time of day – Statistically, the time of day you are most likely to have an accident is between 2200-0500. This is mainly due to it being dark and you may be more tired. Each insurer will have their own time frame of when they consider it most unsafe to be driving. This is not to say that you can’t drive during this time, just that your insurers don’t like to see you driving during this time frame for your own safety. Some insurers may also consider it unsafe to drive during rush hour, for example between 0600-0800 and 1630-1830.

Who else provides learner-driver insurance?

We’ve also teamed up with Collingwood Insurance: click the image and get a £20 voucher when you buy one of their policies.

Disability Driving Instructors is a voluntary register of specialist driving instructors.

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