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Learner driver insurance

Your insurance company needs to be aware that you have a learner or restricted driver driving. They may change the conditions of your policy or your excess if you need to make a claim.

What is learner driver insurance?

Learner licence insurance is a specific policy designed for drivers that are inexperienced. It is more common overseas than in New Zealand to have specific products for learner drivers; many drivers in New Zealand are simply added to a parent’s vehicle insurance policy. Learner driver insurance may come with some restrictions when compared with a regular vehicle insurance policy.

What are the restrictions on car and motorbike insurance for learner drivers?

Learner drivers must drive with a supervisor in the car at all times. Restricted drivers must not drive between 10pm and 5am or with unauthorised passengers. If any of the conditions of the learner licence or restricted licence are breached and the driver has an at-fault crash, the insurance company is unlikely to pay out the claim. This can leave parents out-of-pocket if they allow their car to be used unlawfully. Even minor crashes can cost $5000 or more to fix due to the ever-increasing cost of parts.

How might your insurance change if you add a learner driver to your policy?

  • The excess could be higher if the learner or restricted driver is driving and is at fault in a crash
  • The premium might increase
  • A young driver excess may be applied if the driver is under 25
  • An inexperienced driver excess may be applied if the driver is over 25 but is on a learner or restricted licence
  • If the vehicle is rare, expensive or powerful, the learner may be excluded from driving it completely. In this case it might be cheaper to purchase an inexpensive car for your learner to drive.

How can you reduce the cost of your insurance?

  • Park your car in a locked garage rather than on the street
  • Get an approved alarm
  • Choose a policy based on the distance you drive – some insurance companies will give you a discount if you drive fewer than a certain number of kilometers each year
  • Consider moving to a new location – insurance risk is partly based on the risk in your general area, and some areas have more risk than others.

Darren is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists and the NZ Motoring Writers' Guild

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