Car insurance for learner drivers

Looking for learner driver insurance? Here’s how to find the right cover.

Congratulations, your child has passed the driver knowledge test and is now ready to get behind the wheel. You now need to learner-proof your car before they start driving. The first step is making sure they know the unspoken road rules (all other drivers are crazy). The second is making sure your car insurance is ready to cover them without costing too much.

L-Platers are accident prone. Make sure you've got the best protection.

Name Product Name Agreed or Market Value New Car Replacement Pay Monthly At No Extra Cost Choice Of Repairer Roadside Assistance Hire Car After Theft
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Optional - If your car is written off in the first 3 years
No
No
No
Optional - Up to $50 a day until your claim is settled
Save 24% on your policy if you've been claim free for 3 years.
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Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
Buy online and save 15%.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off or stolen in the first 2 years
No
Yes
Yes
Yes - Reasonable costs (Max 14 days)
Emergency roadside assistance included in Comprehensive policies.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
No
Optional
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
Save up to 10% when you buy online.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years or is under 40,000 km
No
Yes
Optional
Yes - Up to $1,000 (Max 14 days)
Save 15% when purchasing online. Eligible customers can earn 5,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer Points when purchasing a new policy by 31 Dec 2018. Excludes NT. T&CS apply.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
No
No
Yes - Up to $70 per day (Max 14 days)
Transforms your driving so it's 100% carbon neutral.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first 2 years
Yes
Yes
No
Yes - Up to $100 per day (Max 30 days)
Buy online and save up to 10% on your policy.
Agreed
Yes - If your car is written off in the first year or is under 20,000 km
No
No
Optional
Optional - Up to $60 per day (Max 14 days)
Save up to 20% on car insurance when you purchase cover online.

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Contents of this guide

How car insurance covers L-Platers

To make things easier, many insurers will automatically cover learner drivers on their parents’ policies. However, you will typically need to pay an additional excess for claims made as a result of them being behind the wheel.

  • Basic excess. The standard excess will always apply, whether it’s you or your child driving.
  • Learner driver excess. Learner drivers often have their own excess applied.
  • Young driver excess. If they’re under 25, a young driver excess is applied on top of everything else.
  • Undeclared driver excess. If you’re keeping your premiums down by not listing the learner driver on your policy, an additional excess may apply.
  • Optional excess. If you’ve opted for an extra excess to lower your premiums, this will be added on as well.
  • Inexperienced driver excess. This generally applies to learner drivers over the age of 25.
  • Car excess. An additional excess may be applied based on the age of your car or its type.

When your child gets behind the wheel, the excesses can quickly add up. If you’re not careful, these excesses might become unaffordable, preventing you from making claims. Listing the learner driver on your policy will generally help keep them down, at the cost of higher premiums.

Depending on your needs, reducing the excess and then offsetting the L-plater premium increases with discounts may be the way to go.

Check your car insurance product disclosure statement (PDS) for the following:

  • Whether you need to list the learner driver on your policy to have them covered.
  • What additional excesses will apply for claims made while they’re driving and how it will differ depending on whether you list them on your policy.

If you do opt to switch, try planning ahead of time. You can switch mid-policy, but it’s usually preferable to do it at renewal time instead.

How do I add a learner driver to my policy?

It’s actually quite simple. You can usually either:

  • Add an additional driver online through your insurer’s policy management portal
  • Phone your insurer directly to let it know you need to add a learner driver to your existing policy

As we touched on above, it’s usually cheaper to add a learner driver to an existing policy rather than taking out a separate policy in the learner’s name. This is simply due to a few simple facts:

  • Young drivers are heavily over-represented in Australian road crash statistics. For example, figures from Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission reveal that in 2016, 19% of drivers killed in Victoria were aged 18 to 25, despite the fact that this demographic represented only 10% of licence holders.
  • Insurers view young drivers as more likely to take risks and engage in hazardous activities
  • L-platers are also inexperienced drivers, so even if you’re over the age of 25, if you’re a learner insurers will still classify you as being a high-risk customer

How to drive down the cost of cover

Want to lower your car insurance premiums? Remember a few simple tips:

  • Keep a clean record. If you can manage to establish a clean driving record – no speeding fines, traffic infringements or insurance claims – over a few years, your premiums will quickly be reduced.
  • Don’t get separate cover. If you’re a learner driver, it usually works out cheaper to get added to your mum or dad’s policy as an authorised driver than to take out separate cover.
  • Choose the right car. A safe, reliable sedan or hatch will be cheaper to insure than a high-powered sports car.
  • Security. Cars with immobilisers and sophisticated anti-theft systems can also enjoy lower premiums.
  • Garage your car. Vehicles kept overnight in a secure, locked garage cost less to insure than cars that are left parked on the street.
  • Choose a higher excess. By adjusting your excess higher when you buy a policy, you’ll receive a lower premium.
  • Drive less. If you’re not a frequent driver, you can save money on the cost of cover by choosing a low-kilometre or pay as you drive car insurance policy.
  • Look for deals and discounts. From online discounts to premium reductions for loyal customers, keep an eye out for any special offers to help you lower the cost of car insurance.
  • Shop around.Compare car insurance quotes from a range of companies to find the best value for money.

For more information on how to lower your premium, check out our in-depth guide to the cost of car insurance.

girls-on-vacation (1)What you should know before you go for your driving tests

L-plates

To get your Ls, you’ll need to complete a written (or computer-based) road rules knowledge test. You can find details of the information included in the test in the road rules handbook for your state or territory. This is available from the roads or transport department where you live, and you may even be able to complete a sample test online.

P-plates

Most Australian states and territories (with the exception of the Northern Territory and the ACT) enforce a two-stage provisional licence system. This means you’ll need to prepare for two tests:

  • A hazard perception test. This computer-based touchscreen test assesses your ability to recognise potentially dangerous situations when driving and respond accordingly. The test uses film clips of real traffic situations, and you’ll find information and practice modules to help you prepare for the test on your state roads and transport department’s website.
  • A driving test. This is a practical test of your on-road driving skills and is completed with a testing officer from the roads and transport department. Once again, your state roads and transport department’s website will contain all the information you need to know to prepare for the test.

Driving restrictions imposed on L and P-plate drivers can vary slightly depending on where you live, so make sure you’re fully aware of what you can and can’t do on the road before getting behind the wheel.

Did you know?

In order to supervise a learner driver, you must:

  • Hold a current full Australian driver’s licence
  • Have a good understanding of the road rules
  • Be a competent driver
  • Be able to effectively communicate with the learner driver
  • Have a blood alcohol content under 0.05
  • Not supervise while under the influence of drugs

Learners need to log 120 hours of supervised driving before they can go for their P1 licence. This driving time can be recorded in a paper log book or using a digital log book app.

Tips on teaching your learner to drive

Teaching a teenager how to drive can be a frustrating and frightening experience for any parent. But with at least 120 hours of driving supervision in front of you, it’s a good idea to be prepared for what lies ahead. Remember these simple tips to make the learning process as smooth as possible:

  • Safety first. Learning to drive is a stressful experience for everyone, so give your L-plater one less thing to worry about by making sure your car is in tip-top condition. If it’s due for a service, book it in straight away. Replace any old or worn tyres and make sure everything inside and out is in good working order.
  • Brush up on your road rules. Are you completely up to date with the requirements on indicating on roundabouts? How about turning right at traffic lights when there’s no green arrow? It’s pretty easy to pick up some bad habits over a lifetime of driving, so it might be worth giving yourself a little refresher to make sure you teach your learner to do things the right way.
  • Manual vs automatic. The transmission your learner drives will obviously be determined by the car you own. However, if you have an automatic and a manual at your disposal, remember that if your L-plater gets their P1 licence in an automatic, they can’t drive a manual until they graduate to a P2 licence (unless they have an unrestricted driver beside them in the passenger seat).
  • Find the right learning environment. Don’t throw a learner in at the deep end and take them straight onto rush hour city streets or a busy highway; find quiet streets in industrial estates or suburban areas, or even a deserted carpark where your learner can learn the basics without too much pressure. As their confidence and skills grow, you can gradually introduce them to more traffic and slightly more difficult driving situations.
  • Take it slowly. Learning to drive takes time, and despite their insistence otherwise it’s not uncommon for learners to feel completely overwhelmed. Start by teaching your learner how to adjust the cockpit to their liking and go from there, remembering to focus on basics like steering, braking and changing gears before you worry about anything too advanced.

Excesses for learner driver insurance claims

If you have comprehensive insurance or another type of optional car insurance, whenever you make a claim you’ll usually need to pay a basic excess. This is the amount you’re required to contribute to the total cost of a claim, and you’re often able to adjust your excess when you take out cover.

However, in order to protect themselves against the additional risk associated with insuring a learner driver, insurers also impose a number of extra excesses. If you make a claim for an incident where a learner driver was behind the wheel of your car, you’ll need to pay one or more of those additional excesses on top of the basic excess.

These learner driver excesses vary between insurers and may include:

  • Young driver excess. This additional amount usually applies to claims involving a driver who is under the age of 25.
  • Learner driver excess. Some insurers will charge an additional excess for all claims where your car is being driven by a learner.
  • Inexperienced driver excess. If you’re over the age of 25 but you haven’t held a full licence for a specified period of time, such as two years, your insurer may charge this excess instead of the young driver excess.
  • Undeclared driver excess. If you think you can reduce your premiums by simply not listing an L-plater on your policy, be warned that you’ll also be charged an undeclared driver excess if that learner is then involved in an accident.

Tips on teaching your learner to drive

Teaching a teenager how to drive can be a frustrating and frightening experience for any parent. But with at least 120 hours of driving supervision in front of you, it’s a good idea to be prepared for what lies ahead. Remember these simple tips to make the learning process as smooth as possible:

  • Safety first. Learning to drive is a stressful experience for everyone, so give your L-plater one less thing to worry about by making sure your car is in tip-top condition. If it’s due for a service, book it in straight away. Replace any old or worn tyres and make sure everything inside and out is in good working order.
  • Brush up on your road rules. Are you completely up to date with the requirements on indicating on roundabouts? How about turning right at traffic lights when there’s no green arrow? It’s pretty easy to pick up some bad habits over a lifetime of driving, so it might be worth giving yourself a little refresher to make sure you teach your learner to do things the right way.
  • Manual vs automatic. The transmission your learner drives will obviously be determined by the car you own. However, if you have an automatic and a manual at your disposal, remember that if your L-plater gets their P1 licence in an automatic, they can’t drive a manual until they graduate to a P2 licence (unless they have an unrestricted driver beside them in the passenger seat).
  • Find the right learning environment. Don’t throw a learner in at the deep end and take them straight onto rush hour city streets or a busy highway; find quiet streets in industrial estates or suburban areas, or even a deserted carpark where your learner can learn the basics without too much pressure. As their confidence and skills grow, you can gradually introduce them to more traffic and slightly more difficult driving situations.
  • Take it slowly. Learning to drive takes time, and despite their insistence otherwise it’s not uncommon for learners to feel completely overwhelmed. Start by teaching your learner how to adjust the cockpit to their liking and go from there, remembering to focus on basics like steering, braking and changing gears before you worry about anything too advanced.

Don't want the pressure? Try a driving school

Using a driving school allows you to learn from a professional driving instructor. By completing training with a driving school, you can acquire the skills and confidence you need to become a safe and competent driver.

Before choosing a driving school, make sure you’re aware of the following:

  • Accreditation. To become an accredited driver trainer or driving instructor in Australia, a person must obtain a Driving Instructors’ licence from their state or territory road agency. To get this licence they must:
  • Pass a road rules knowledge test
  • Pass a driving test
  • Have a satisfactory criminal record and pass a working with children check
  • Complete a Certificate IV course in Training and Logistics (Road Transport-Car Driving) through a Registered Training Organisation.
  • Cost. The cost of a driving lesson generally ranges anywhere from $50 to $75, but shop around to get an idea of the cost of lessons in your local area.
  • Insurance. Before booking a lesson, check with the driving school to find out whether it has appropriate insurance in place to provide cover if you’re involved in an accident while in the instructor’s car.
  • Free lesson. The Australian Government funds a national driver training program that provides a free driving lesson to novice drivers. Find out more about the Keys 2 Drive program on its official website.

Frequently asked questions about insuring L-Platers


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Andrew Munro

Andrew writes for finder.com, comparing products, writing guides and looking for new ways to help people make smart decisions. He's a fan of insurance, business news and cryptocurrency.

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