What Happens When Your Kid Starts Driving?

A young boy sitting in a toy Bentley


You're psyching yourself up for when your kids take the wheel. Should your insurer be doing the same?


Like taxes and other things, having to white-knuckle your way through teaching your kids to drive is one of life's inevitable milestones. The idea of setting your spawn loose on South Africa's roads in a fast-moving chunk of metal, pitting their wits against the nation's fellow drivers, is pretty much as terrifying as it sounds.


Accidents happen, and hopefully the only damage will be to your car's paintwork... but how do you need to prep your insurance for unleashing your pride and joy on the country's roads while they're driving your four-wheeled baby?


Baby Steps


Insurers indicate that there's no specific need to inform them that your child will be learning to drive in your car, and that you'll be covered in the event of an incident, as long as you follow the law.


For example, Ayabulela Xongo, Head of Customer Care and Digital Channels at Old Mutual iWYZE, says that there is no need to inform them ahead of time, since the iWYZE motor vehicle policy covers learner drivers, provided legislation relating to learner drivers is complied with.


King Price Client Experience Partner Wynand van Vuuren says much the same, pointing out that no notice is required as long as you and your child follow legal requirements. "For example, the child must first obtain a learner's licence; And don't let the child drive without a licensed driver in the car," he says. Also, always check with your insurance provider first. You don't want to find out the hard way that you've failed to keep up your side of the insurance agreement.


Licence Law


A learner's licence is a permit that proves you have basic knowledge of a motor vehicle and the rules of the road. It's valid for 24 months and cannot be extended. Holders of learners' licences are only allowed to drive when they are supervised by a licensed driver.


Different learners' licences are issued for the various categories of motor vehicle: Code 1 for motorcycles, Code 2 for motor vehicles not exceeding 3 500kg, and Code 3 for vehicles exceeding 3 500kg.


Seventeen-year-olds can apply for Code 1 and 2 learners' licences, with the exception of motorcycles with engine capacities exceeding 125cc for Code 1, whereas applicants need to be 18 for Code 3 learners' licences.


Similarly, the ages for codes of drivers' licences vary from motorcycle to vehicles exceeding 16 000 kg – all 18, barring a motorcycle licence for an engine capacity under 125cc (the age for that is 17).


Into The World


Once your baby driver is licensed and ready to head out into the world in your car, it's important to check whether your insurance policy requires you to name additional drivers, or if your policy covers anyone you give permission to drive your car.


iWYZE, for example, does not have a named driver policy. "We have an open driver policy where the regular driver noted on the policy and any other person authorised by the policyholder or regular driver may drive the vehicle, provided that they do not drive it more often than the noted regular driver in any given month," says Xongo.


"Our policy also allows for the policyholder's children to be listed as the regular driver or to take out insurance in their own name, even if the vehicle is registered in the parent's name."


"There are no motor policy premium changes and no additional excess applicable simply because the driver is young or inexperienced. Only once the child has obtained their licence and will be driving the vehicle more often than the regular driver noted on the policy, should the insurer be informed, to make the necessary policy amendments," Xongo adds.


Van Vuuren says it's the same for most insurers: "There's no need to inform the insurer," he says. "If the insurer did not stipulate this in the contract of insurance, or if it is not a nominated driver policy where cover for any other driver is excluded, there's no need with King Price." He does warn that while King Price specifically doesn't make any premium or excess changes on their motor policies, there are some insurers that have additional excesses when a driver other than the regular driver is involved in an accident.


Get a quote in two easy steps with Hippo's Car Insurance Comparison Tool – and know that you're covered in the event that your kid dings your car.


This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.

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