Car insurance for L-Platers: Your 5 key questions answered
1 June 2023
Getting your learners permit can offer a feeling of great achievement. But just like when you first learned to ride a bike, there are a bunch of hurdles you’ll need to overcome before you’re ready to drive solo. These might be things like mastering the dreaded reverse parallel park, or going for a long drive on a highway.
Luckily, jumping into a car with a parent or guardian is a safe way to learn, and can keep you on track towards getting your driver licence.
Whether it’s figuring out if you’re insured or looking for ways to save cash, these questions can help you find out about car insurance when you’re a learner.
1. How can I insure myself as an L-Plater?
If you’re involved in an accident while you’re learning to drive, the last thing you’ll want is to be liable for the full cost of repairs. Fortunately, you might not have to with insurance cover. As an L-Plater, you can:
- Take out your own insurance policy if you’re the vehicle owner.
- Get a parent or guardian to add you to their car insurance cover, if you’re learning to drive in their car.
2. Am I automatically covered under my parents’ car insurance policy?
You could be automatically eligible under your parents’ existing policy when you’re learning to drive in their car – if they have their own insurance.
This will depend on their policy and level of cover. For example, if they have Comprehensive Car Insurance or Third Party Car Insurance, depending on what the policy says, it could allow learner drivers to be covered when a claim is made after an accident. If they have CTP insurance, the cover it provides against financial liability for injuries to third parties may not extend to learner drivers.
Chat to your parents to find out. And if they aren’t sure, have them get in touch with their insurer.
3. Why do young drivers pay higher excess amounts?
Young drivers often have less experience than their older counterparts on the road and are therefore more at risk of being involved in an accident. In fact, young drivers (17-25 years old) represent one-quarter of all Australian road deaths, but are only 10%-15% of the licenced driver population*. As young drivers can be more likely to have an accident, they represent a greater risk to insurers.
Therefore insurers pass that risk on in the form of higher policy excesses. For example, when you make an insurance claim for which an excess is payable after a car accident, a standard policy excess will apply no matter your age, experience or licence. However, on top of paying the standard excess towards the total cost of your claim, you might have to pay an ‘age excess’ or ‘inexperienced driver excess’. The good news is that with Suncorp’s voluntary excess options, you can choose to lower your excess and instead pay a higher premium, or increase your premium and pay a lower excess.
We all know we can’t text and drive.
But did you know you can’t use your phone to check your maps?
It’s illegal to hold your phone or have it resting on any body part for any purpose while driving, even if the phone isn’t in use, or is turned off.
That still applies if you’re stopped in traffic or at a red light. If the phone is in a pocket or pouch that is part of a driver’s clothing, they must not use it, including operating it with voice control.
Learner and P1 drivers under 25 can’t use hands-free, wireless headsets or a mobile’s loudspeaker function.
Passengers of learner and P1 provisional drivers are also banned from using a mobile phone's loudspeaker function. So, if a parent is teaching their child who is on their L’s to drive, they can’t answer a phone call that comes through on loudspeaker.
So when can you hold a phone? Well, only when you’re safely stopped, like when you need to pay for something…
…. To gain access to or from a road-related area, like a carpark…
… or to show police a digital drivers licence or other document.
You can also use your phone when safely parked. Parked means stopped with the intention of staying at that place.
If you're an open or P2 licence holder, you’re allowed to touch your mobile phone for hands-free use if it’s in a cradle attached to the vehicle, for things like accepting a call….
… using navigation apps…
…or skipping a song.
Following these rules won’t only keep you and other road users safe – it’ll also mean you’ll avoid a hefty fine of over a thousand dollars for using your mobile phone illegally!
Plus, did you know you can get $50 off a new Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance policy when you quote and buy online?
Visit the Suncorp Insurance website to find out more.
4. How can I save on my car insurance?
There are plenty of ways that you can save money on a car insurance policy as a young driver. If you’re looking to buy a new car, or wanting to switch insurance, here’s a couple of ways to save:
- Look for policies with low excesses. If you happen to get into an accident and make a claim, the amount that you’re required to contribute to the total cost of the claim could be lower. Be aware this could raise your premium costs, so it’s best to weigh up the pros and cons of each.
- Buy car insurance online. Many insurers provide a discount when you purchase a new policy online. For example, with Suncorp Comprehensive Car Insurance, you can get a $50 discount when you purchase your policy online.
It’s possible that if you establish a clean driving record, you’ll work towards a ‘no claim’ bonus. Suncorp Claims-Free Driver Rewards gives you credit towards your Comprehensive renewal policy, if you haven’t made an excess payable claim.
5. What happens when I finally get my licence?
Hooray! When moving on to your P-Plates, make sure you tell your insurer immediately, so your policy can be adjusted to reflect your new driving status. If you’re going to continue driving your parents’ car, you may be able to remain on their insurance, but may have to be added as an additional driver, which will affect the overall cost of their insurance.
So, after you’ve done your research and figured out your insurance cover, it’s time to get those practise hours up! Suncorp makes it incredibly easy to get an instant quote online for Comprehensive Car Insurance or CTP Insurance – get in touch today!
- How to make a claim after a minor car accident
- What are the different types of car excess?
- Car insurance – what to know for p-platers and young drivers
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 trading as Suncorp Insurance. Information provided is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account any person's particular objectives, financial situation or needs. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before making any decision regarding this product.