If you're going to get into a vehicle, insurance needs to be on your radar, regardless of if you've been behind the wheel for years or you're still learning. You've got a few options for when it comes to insuring a learner driver.
You can get them their own policy and work towards a no-claim discount earlier, or you can just tack them onto your existing policy, as long as they're not the main driver. We go through these two options in more detail below.
Compare and you might save on car insurance for learner drivers
How do you get car insurance for learner drivers in Australia?
When insuring a learner driver, there are two main ways to do it:
Take out a separate policy. A separate policy is required if the learner driver has their own car and is the one who drives it most often. They will receive the same kind of cover as any other driver, though with potentially higher premiums. The good news with this is that they can start working towards their no-claim discount sooner.
Add them onto an existing policy. A learner can be added to an existing policy as long as they're not the main driver of the car. Sometimes this won't affect your current car insurance premium. The worst that can happen is if the learner causes an accident, the policyholder will be charged a young or inexperienced driver excess.
Is it better to get a learner their own policy or add them to an existing one?
In most cases it is better to add a learner driver to your policy than it is to take out a new one just for them. Here are a few reasons why:
It's easier. Many insurers will automatically cover learner drivers or let you add them with little fuss.
It's usually less expensive. Adding a learner driver to your policy does not usually result in an increased premium. You're only charged extra in the form of additional excesses when it's time to claim.
You're in control. A learner driver cannot drive without a licensed driver supervising them, even in their own car. By having them on your policy rather than their own, you have a little more control over when they can drive.
But you can't add a learner driver to your policy if they're the main driver of the vehicle.
What is the cheaper option?
We got quotes from a few providers to figure out if it was cheaper to add a learner driver as an additional driver or for them to take out their own policy. Across the board, it was cheaper to just add a learner driver onto an existing policy, except for Coles and Bingle, where the price was the same.
Keep in mind that these costs are indicative of how much the cost can differ between adding a learner driver to your policy and them taking out their own policy. They're not a guideline for what you can expect to pay as this will be dependent on your own circumstances.
Driving a silver 2016 Ford Falcon 2.0L Auto Ecoboost 4dr
Driving up to 15k kms per year
Kept in garage
2 years no claim bonus
No other car
No age restriction
Main driver is male, born in 1970
Learner driver is male, born in 2003
How do I add a learner driver to my policy?
Adding a learner driver to your policy couldn't be simpler. Some insurers will automatically cover learner drivers as long as there's a licenced driver in the passenger seat. :
Add the driver to your policy. Phone your insurer or visit their online member portal and add the driver to your policy.
State the driver's details. Your insurer will want to know important information about the driver including licence status and age.
Accept any new excess. Instead of charging you an added premium to cover the learner driver, insurers will usually collect their fee on the back end by charging you an additional excess if you have to claim on this driver.
Make sure they're supervised. You'll only be covered for the learner driver if another licensed driver is supervising from the front passenger seat.
Is separate learner car insurance worth it?
There's really only one situation in which it's worth it to pick up a separate policy for the learner, and that's if they have their own car and plan to drive it. Whatever you do, don't insure their car in your name if they're going to be driving it more than you are. That is called car insurance fronting and is considered fraud.
In the end, it makes more sense to hold off on buying them their own car until they are experienced enough for their premiums to come down. Your policy will most likely cover them for free anyway, so there's not much to lose. If they get into an accident, you'll have to pay an additional young or inexperienced driver excess but that potential charge is better than definitely having to pay high premiums month after month.
How to get insurance for learner drivers on a parent's car?
The good news is, there's usually not much for you to do at all! Most car insurance policies automatically cover learner drivers for free, no questions asked and no need to let them know in advance. Learners are basically treated as listed drivers on a parent's policy even though they aren't technically listed on the certificate of insurance.
If your insurer does require you to list your learner driver on your policy, the process is still quite simple. Here's what to do:
Get the learner listed on your certificate of insurance. You can do this by phoning your insurer or visiting your online member portal and adding the driver to your policy.
State the driver's details. Your insurer will want to know important details like the driver's age and licence status.
Make sure they're supervised. You'll only be covered for the learner driver if another licensed driver listed on the policy is supervising from the front passenger seat.
Understand that instead of charging you an added premium to cover the learner driver, insurers will usually collect their fee on the back end by charging you an additional excess if you have to claim on this driver.
Want to save cash easily? Look for policies with low excesses
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:
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.
Here's how excesses stack up between 4 underwriters
Driver under age 21
Driver aged 21-24
Auto & General
Insurance Australia Group
How to get car insurance for a learner driver with their own car
If you can't avoid a separate policy for the learner driver, you'll need to first help them take out Take out Compulsory Third-Party (CTP) insurance. This is the mandatory insurance that all cars on the road must have. The purpose is to pay for medical bills for anyone the driver injures in an accident. In some states, CTP comes with your registration.
On top of that, there are three optional levels of car insurance that offer additional protection. You can choose one to add to the learner's CTP. These are:
Third-party property damage (TPPD). TPPD covers damage to other people's property if the learner causes an accident. This can be a stranger's car, a light post or a perfectly manicured lawn.
Third-party fire and theft (TPFT). TPFT covers what TPPD does but adds a bit of protection for the learner's car, specifically damage due to fire and theft.
Comprehensive.Comprehensive cover includes everything the other two policies do plus a wide range of possible damages to the learner's car including storm damage, damage the learner causes and damage from uninsured drivers.
Save on car insurance for learner drivers with their own car
If you have to take out a separate policy for your learner driver, you'll want to save wherever you can. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
Choose a safe and reliable car. The safer and more reliable the car is, the lower the risk and the lower the premiums. Think sedan vs. sports car.
Choose an inexpensive car. An inexpensive car that wouldn't bankrupt you if you had to replace it would allow you to take out a lower level of insurance, like third-party property damage. Even with comprehensive cover, having a cheaper car would also translate to cheaper premiums.
Promote safe driving skills. If you can help your learner keep a clean slate over a few years, their premiums will eventually begin to drop.
Think about security. If you park your learner's car in a locked garage and make sure its anti-theft systems are up to scratch, your insurer will likely charge you less.
Choose a higher excess. Most insurers will let you choose a higher excess in order to lower your premiums. However, this is usually only available on comprehensive policies. Just be careful with learner drivers: claims can get expensive since they will also attract an a young or inexperienced driver excess.
Drive less. Insurers will often adjust your premiums based on how many kilometers you say you drive. You can keep you premiums down by limiting the kms your learner puts on the car every year and you can even consider a pay as you drive policy.
Look for discounts. Car insurers will often offer discounts, including discounts for buying your policy online or for insuring multiple cars with them.
The best learner driver insurance is the one that offers you and the learner driver the appropriate amount of cover based on your individual needs. This will differ based on whether you're getting them a separate policy or you're adding them to yours.
You're getting them a separate policy
Here's how to find the best policy for your needs and the learner's needs based on your situation:
The learner drives a hand-me-down. If the learner drives a used car that you can easily replace if damaged, the best policy would be a third-party property policy. This will cover damages to others' property, but you won't be wasting money on premiums to protect a car you can replace anyway.
The learner driver drives an expensive car. If it would be difficult for you to replace the car, a comprehensive policy will be best since it protects the car from almost every type of damage including damage the learner causes. Just be aware that this will probably have a hefty price tag.
You or the learner owes money on the car. If you owe money on the car, your lender will probably require you to have comprehensive car insurance. Since you'll have no choice in the matter, comprehensive will be the best one in your case!
You're adding them to your policy
If you're adding your learner to your policy, the best policy will be one that makes it easy to insure them and doesn't break the bank. You'll want to make sure your policy allows you to do the following:
Automatically cover the driver for free. The best policy will automatically cover learner drivers so you don't have to list them on your policy or pay any extra on your premiums.
Keep the excess low. Everything else being equal, the best policy will have the lowest young or inexperienced driver excess. This excess can differ by as much as $800 based on the policy and if the learner gets into an accident you'll have to eat this extra cost.
Tips on teaching your learner to drive
If you've got a learner on your car insurance, there some things you should think about that could help make the process less painful or expensive:
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. If you get a choice between training your learner on manual or automatic transmission, remember that a driver who has obtained their P1 licence on an automatic can't legally drive a manual until they have their P2 licence.
Consider a driving school. Teaching a learner driver can be a trial - especially if they're your child! An accredited driving school may require some financial investment, but could be worth it in the long run.
Find the right learning environment. If your learner is new to driving, don't throw them out onto busy city streets right away. Search for quieter streets in suburban areas or even deserted car parks to practice some of the trickier parts of driving.
How many demerit points do learners have?
As a learner, you'll have to keep an eye on your demerit points just like any other driver in Australia. Just remember that you don't start out with a bunch of demerit points and then lose them when you get a ticket. You start out with zero demerit points and then collect them during each offense.
If you collect too many, you can lose your licence.
The following table shows you just how many demerit points is too many in each state.
As you can see, in most states you have less room for error than people with a full licence. The penalty listed is just the starting point. In many states, the penalty can increase the farther over the demerit threshold you go.
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