Driving test delays costing provisional licence holders up to €600

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DELAYS to driving tests because of Covid-19 is forcing thousands of provisional licensed drivers to renew insurance policies for up to €600 more than a fully licensed driver.

Figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) suggest that 33,000 drivers would have passed their test between March and July but, because of Covid-19 test centre closures, they were unable to do so.

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Deirdre McCarthy of online insurers Coverinaclick.ie said this has resulted in thousands of motorists looking at another year of high premiums, and advised these motorists to make informed decisions before renewing,

“Before the Covid-19 restrictions, between 16,000 and 17,000 drivers were tested every month, and, on average, 8,383 people passed each month.

“Driving tests were suspended on March 13 and only resumed on July 20.Drivers who pass their test are typically rewarded with premium reductions of between €300 and €600 at their next renewal, because they are able to get competitive quotes from several more insurers,” Ms McCarthy explained.

“The 33,000 drivers who would likely have passed their test between March and July will not see these reductions if their insurance renewal date arrives before their test date.

“Most insurers will give a pro-rata refund if a person passes their test mid-term. But many drivers are simply unaware of this, so we are advising them to check the insurers refund policy in this regard before renewing and to subsequently flag it with their insurer as soon as they have passed their test.”.

36,000 drivers are currently awaiting a test, but it is expected that these waiting lists will dramatically expand, as centres deal with the Covid backlog ,while possibly working at a more cautious pace to ensure compliance with public safety requirements.

Young drivers should be conscious that there will be significantly longer wait times, and that test centres will be prioritising the appointments of drivers whose test was suspended or cancelled during lockdown. It may take longer than many may have thought for their test appointment to come through.

This is no reason for provisional drivers to rest on their laurels however – in fact, it’s even more of an incentive to get their application for a driving test submitted as soon as possible.