You may have read in the news today that the Motor Insurer’s Bureau has published statistics that there are an estimated 25,000 drivers, who are on a provisional licence, driving without valid insurance, and nearly half of these are driving unsupervised.
Of course, with nearly 8 million provisional licence holders in the UK, these drivers are in the minority, however, they are still putting themselves and other road users at risk. The MIB also point out that there are cases where there may be insurance on the vehicle, but that the driver was driving outside the terms and conditions of their policy.
We don’t need to tell you that you need to make sure you have valid insurance before you get behind the wheel, but we thought it would be handy to give some advice on checking your insurance is valid and the repercussions of being caught driving without insurance on a provisional licence.
Choose your learner insurance wisely
There are a few options available to get insured on a provisional licence, so it’s important to make sure you choose the right insurance for the car you’ll be driving:
1. Your own policy on someone else’s car
These policies are ideal while you’re learning before you’ve got a car of your own, as they often provide cover for 1 to 3 months, and there is no risk to the car owner’s No Claims Bonus if you have an accident. For this type of policy to remain valid, you need to ensure that the owner has their own insurance on the car. Short terms policies will expire as soon as you pass your test, but an annual policy on your parent’s car may allow you to continue driving when you pass.
If you own your own car, many of the short-term learner policies will not be suitable, so an annual policy can work well, as it allows you to build your own No Claims Bonus. Choosing a policy with a black box can help make this more affordable, as well as choosing a policy that offers seamless cover when you pass – so that you have one less thing to worry about when that magic time comes (and it will!).
3. Get added as a named driver on someone else’s car
The alternative to getting your own insurance is to get added as a named driver to someone else’s insurance. The car owner will need to arrange this with their insurance company, and their No Claims Bonus will be affected if you have an accident. Not all insurance companies will allow policyholders to add a learner driver or may have a minimum age, so it is worth checking out short-term options at the same time!
Ensure your provisional insurance is valid
Read the terms and conditions
Terms and conditions and policy documentation may not be the most riveting read, but it’s really important that you understand when you’re covered, and when you’re not – as well as what you are covered for! It’s important to understand whether the policy suits your needs. If you’re happy with the cover, it’s also wise to check your documentation to ensure that your details and the start and end date of your policy is correct!
Follow DVSA rules
First things first, it is essential you display L-plates clearly on the front and rear of your car, and that you are driving a car that is roadworthy and taxed. If you’re taking private practice, you must also avoid the motorway until you have passed your test (unless you are accompanied by a driving instructor will dual controls. You can read more about rules for learners on the DVSA website.
Drive with a supervisor
All policies will require you to be accompanied by an appropriate supervising driver. The DVSA specify that they should be aged over 21 and have held a full licence for over 3 years. However, some insurers may require the accompanying driver to be aged over 25, so this is worth double checking. It goes without saying, that you can’t be accompanied by someone who is banned or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Check your cover for your driving test (and beyond!)
Most policies should cover you to take your driving test, but this is one worth checking. If you plan on taking your test in the car you are insured to drive, you will be required to take your policy documentation with you to the driving test (and ensure the car meets the requirements that the test centre specifies). Equally as important, you need to check if you will be covered to drive the car immediately after passing. Many short-term policies expire on passing your test, so you may need to arrange a lift home.
Penalties for driving without provisional insurance
I’m sure we all agree that it’s not good to drive without valid insurance. These are the penalties you could face:
- If you’re not correctly insured on the vehicle you’re driving the police can issue a fixed penalty of £300 and 6 penalty points.
- The police also have the power to seize the vehicle.
- Where the case goes to court you could face an unlimited fine or be disqualified from driving for a period of time.
On that note, we know our readers are responsible drivers, and we hope you’ve found the advice helpful. At Marmalade, we’ve got loads of solutions to make sure you have the right cover when you’re behind the wheel – whether it’s your own car, a friend’s car or a parent’s car.