Learner Drivers & Insurance

By Liberty Insurance Ireland on 9 September 2016
Learner Drivers & Insurance

When we asked young drivers what they wanted to know about car insurance, there were lots of questions about cover for learners.

When you’re learning to drive, there are a lot of decisions to make. What car will you learn in? Who will teach you? How many lessons will you need? Then of course there’s the insurance to think of. So when we invited questions in from young drivers, unsurprisingly there were plenty about cover for learners.

Although you don’t legally need more cover, it is worth looking at all the additional benefits provided by insurers

Q. What level of car insurance do I actually need as a learner driver? Do I need an increased level because of my lack of experience?

A: The level of cover you need as a learner is the same as someone who has passed their test. Cover for liability to others is known as Third Party Only cover. However, the minimum cover offered by some insurers is Third Party Fire & Theft, which gives you cover for loss or damage by Fire or Theft as well as cover for your liability to others.
Although you don’t legally need more cover, it is worth looking at all the additional benefits provided by insurers – at a cost – including things like Breakdown Assistance Cover.

Q. My instructor is telling me to get more experience outside of lessons, but I don't know how I'd afford insurance on the car as the main driver with my provisional licence?

A: Good question – sometimes it seems like a Catch 22 situation, but there is a way around it. If you have your own car, then you will need to get a policy in your own name. However, if you just want to get more experience outside of lessons, you could consider adding yourself as a permanent or temporary driver on your parents’ car until you take your test.

Q. Do insurance companies cover learners on their own, or do they have to be a named driver?

A: It doesn’t matter how long you have been driving and how many learner permits you have held - you must be accompanied. Also, the person who’s with you must hold a full driving licence for the category of vehicle you are driving for a continuous period of 2 years. This is a serious issue because if you don’t comply with the rules of your licence, then your insurance may be invalid. You don’t have to name the accompanying driver on your insurance, but it would make sense to do so as you may need them to take over driving for you. This way, you can make sure they are fully covered.

Q. I’m learning to drive – any tips?

A: Absolutely. We developed a booklet a few years ago spelling out everything you need to know when learning to drive. Check it out here.

Petrol cars are not necessarily cheaper to insure as the overall power of the vehicle is generally more relevant than the vehicle’s cc

Q. Any advice on buying a petrol or diesel car? Petrol is cheaper to insure but diesel is more fuel efficient?

A: This is a bit of a common misconception. Petrol cars are not necessarily cheaper to insure as the overall power of the vehicle is generally more relevant than the vehicle’s cc.

Q. What kind of insurance should I get? Third Party Fire and Theft Vs. Comprehensive?

A: It really all depends on your needs - and what you can afford. Third Party Fire & Theft covers your liability for other parties and also loss or damage to your car by fire, theft or attempted theft. Comprehensive Cover, on the other hand, also covers damage to your own vehicle, e.g. malicious damage, or damage to your car in an accident. Often there are other benefits that may come as standard on Comprehensive Cover, including breakdown assistance and windscreen cover. Obviously, Comprehensive Cover will be a fair bit more expensive as it's covering you for more risks, so it's a matter of deciding what you can afford right now. If you're a younger driver, chances are that you’ll be looking at Third Party Fire & Theft.

Q. Does my insurance allow me to drive other vehicles?

A: There’s no simple answer to this as it will vary from insurer to insurer, and your own personal details such as your age, occupation or your type of licence. Some insurers may offer this cover as an optional extra, so it's worth checking out where you stand with your current insurer.

Q. What is NCB Protection?

A: Full No Claims Bonus Protection is an optional cover – usually available at an extra charge when you have four or more years NCB (No Claims Bonus). The conditions may vary slightly by insurer. At Liberty Insurance, you can have one claim in a year without your NCB being affected. For example, if you had five years NCB and had no more than 1 claim per year, then your NCB would stay at 5 years. Some insurers may have different rules so it’s best to check with your insurer. You should also note that your NCB years are protected but your premium may still be impacted by claims you make on your policy. Again, if you’re unsure about this, I suggest that you check with your insurer.

Step-back protection stops you from losing all your hard-earned No Claims Bonus in the event of a single claim

Q. What is Step Back?

A: This may sound a bit confusing, so let’s simplify it for you right away. Step-back protection stops you from losing all your hard-earned No Claims Bonus in the event of a single claim. It applies when you have four or more years NCB, and may be added as optional cover or may be included as standard depending on your insurer. If you have four years NCB and had a single claim, it would step back to one years’ NCB, while if you had five or more years NCB, then you would step back to 2 years NCB. Liberty Insurance’s policy includes step back protection as standard on our policies.

That’s it for part three in our Q&A series. If you missed them, you can check out the first two blogs in the series here:

Part 1: Young Drivers & Car Insurance

Part 2: Young Drivers & The Cost Of Cover

Got questions? The quickest way to get in touch with us is either through our Facebook page where you’ll find us Mon-Fri 9am-5pm, or our boards.ie page where our reps are waiting to answer your questions Mon–Fri 10am-4pm.
If you’re a young driver looking for your first insurance policy, get a car insurance quote online now.

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