Insuring the car your child learns in
In most states and territories in Australia, teenagers can apply for a learner driver permit (or Ls) when they’re 16 years of age or older.
Generally, once your child has completed a road safety program and passed a road rules test and eye exam, they’re allowed to drive under your supervision.
(This is assuming, of course, you hold a full, or unrestricted, Australian driver licence.)
Before getting into the passenger seat, you’ll no doubt want to ensure the car your child intends to learn in is properly insured.
Should I add my child to my car insurance?
Whether you add your teenage son or daughter to an existing car insurance policy or buy a new one will depend on the car they learn in.
If your family is like most families in Australia, it’ll be your car (or your spouse’s or partner’s) they learn in. To insure them driving your car, you’ll need to add your child to your existing policy.
If you or your child buy another car for them to learn in and they’ll be driving it more often than anyone else, you’ll have to get a quote and buy a new car insurance policy, listing the child as the regular driver.
How do I add my child to my car insurance?
You can add your child to your Budget Direct car insurance policy by contacting us or following these steps:
- Log into your online account.
- View your car insurance policy.
- Click on or tap the ‘Modify Policy’/’Edit Policy’ button.
- Remove any driver-age restrictions you’ve imposed (21+, 25+, 30+, 40+ or 50+).
- Add your child to the list of ‘household member drivers’ (assuming your child lives with you).
- Follow the prompts.
It’s critical you make these edits as your car will not covered while being driven by a person living with you and who is not listed on your policy or who is under the restricted driver age.
How much does it cost to insure a learner driver?
Car insurers like us base the amount we charge policyholders – their premium – on the likelihood of a driver of their car having an accident.
If you add a teenage learner driver to your car insurance policy, your premium may increase.
That’s because younger drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident.
Car insurance excesses and learner drivers
A car insurance excess is the fixed amount you pay towards a claim for loss or damage to your car.
The following table shows the excesses that apply to Budget Direct car insurance claims – unless it’s a no-fault accident.
|You’re required to pay a…|
|Basic Excess1||Varies by state/territory|
|…as well as any additional excesses that apply…|
|Driver is under 21 years of age||$600|
|Driver is 21 to 24 year of age inclusive||$500|
|Driver has not held a full Australian licence for 2 or more years||$500|
No-claim discounts and learner drivers
If you add your learner-driver child to your Budget Direct car insurance policy and they have an at-fault accident and you make a claim, your no-claim discount (NCD) will be reduced by two years on renewal of your policy.
For an additional premium, you may be able to get NCD Protection, which allows you to make one at-fault claim per year or two at-fault claims in a three-year period without affecting your NCD.
If your child’s car is covered under a separate policy listing them as the regular driver, they’ll get their own NCD, or driver rating.
Ratings start at 6 and decrease every consecutive year the policyholder doesn’t make a claim. The NCD is capped at 5+ years, at which point we give the policyholder a Rating 1, entitling them to our maximum discount.
Learner licence conditions
To be insured against loss or damage resulting from a car accident, drivers must comply with the conditions of their licence. In the case of learner drivers, these conditions can include:
- clearly displaying L-plates on the outside of the car
- driving under the supervision of a full Australian licence holder§
- adhering to maximum speed limits (80kmph for learners in some states)
- not using a mobile phone while driving (including hands-free, wireless headsets, and speaker phones)
- having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of zero
- not being under the influence of illegal or prescription drugs
- not accumulating more than the maximum number of demerit points permissible.
For more information about learner licence conditions, contact the road transport authority in your state or territory.
Learner drivers on short leash
In Australia, learner drivers are allowed to accrue far fewer demerit points than fully licensed drivers. Indeed, a learner has to infringe only one or two times to have their licence suspended.
In Queensland, for example, a learner found using a mobile phone while driving receives a $1,000 fine and four demerit points.
This is the maximum number of demerit points they’re allowed to accrue in a 12-month period.
It means that, if they’re caught using their mobile just once, their licence will be suspended for three months.
It shows how little tolerance there is for driving offences commited by learners.
What type of car insurance is best for my child’s car?
Budget Direct offers three types of car insurance for you to choose from.
Our Comprehensive policy provides the most protection, covering damage to your child’s car and their liability for the damage their car causes to other people’s property, including their vehicles.
However, if your child’s car has a low market value, you may decide a Third Party Property Only or Third Party Property, Fire and Theft policy is all you need.
Advice for learners and their parents
Free driving lesson
Courtesy of the Australian Government, learner drivers and their parents or supervisors can apply for a free, one-hour driving lesson with a professional driving instructor.
After your child has held their Ls for a certain amount of time, logged the required number of driving hours and/or passed a practical driving test, they’ll be issued with a provisional licence.
Once they’ve qualified for their Ps, they’ll be able to drive unsupervised.
For practical reasons, you or your child may decide to buy a car for them to drive regularly. If so, we recommend you or your child get a quote and buy a new car insurance policy.
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§ Typically, a full (or unrestricted or open) Australian driver licence holder who supervises a learner driver must have held their licence for a minimum period. In the Australian Capital Territory, for example, it is four years. For more information, contact the road transport authority in your state or territory.