As lockdown measures continue to ease, new drivers in England can now start taking driving lessons and theory tests again (from 4th July) and practical tests from 22 July.

However, with only key workers able to take driving lessons and tests since 17 March and the DVLA only starting to take applications for provisional licences again since mid-June, GoCompare Car Insurance experts estimate there may be 370,000* new drivers held back by lockdown and now keen to get behind the wheel.

With a four-month backlog to tackle, booking lessons with one of the UK’s 40,000** professional instructors may be difficult, and some learner drivers may also be reluctant to share a car with someone outside of their usual ‘bubble’. If parents or friends are happy to become stand-in instructors, they will need to know the rules regarding teaching someone to drive to ensure both they and their student stay on the right side of the law and their insurers.

The rules of the road

  • The learner must be at least 17 years old and hold their own provisional driving licence
  • Supervising drivers must be aged 21 or over and have held a full driving licence for at least three years
  • The supervising driver and the learner must both be insured to drive the car
  • The vehicle must display L-plates front and rear, which can be removed when not being driven by a learner
  • If you are supervising a learner driver you are legally in charge of the vehicle but both of you can be penalised depending on the infringement. If the learner breaks the speed limit they may be fined and receive penalty points on their licence. However, if you are using your mobile phone whilst supervising a learner driver, you will be the one prosecuted.
  • You can’t take a learner driver on a motorway – only approved instructors in cars fitted with dual controls can do that
  • You can carry other passengers (though it’s best to avoid distractions)
  • You cannot be paid to give lessons unless you’re a qualified professional instructor

Being properly insured

Using your own car to teach a learner to drive

You can add a learner driver to your own insurance policy as a named driver. Your insurance premium may increase, and you may have to pay an administration fee of up to £62.00*** to amend the policy depending on your insurer.

Using the learner driver’s own car

If the learner driver has their own car they must be insured as the main driver. Arranging insurance in your or anyone else’s name as the main driver in order to keep the cost down is known in the industry as ‘fronting’ and is technically insurance fraud. Doing this will invalidate a policy and could lead to criminal charges and difficulty obtaining insurance in the future. If you are supervising a learner driver in their own car you must be added to their policy as a named driver. Adding an experienced driver with a good driving record to a learner’s insurance policy may help to lower their premium.

What is learner driver insurance?

Some insurers provide what’s known as learner driver insurance. This is a policy taken out in the learner driver’s name for their own car but with one or more additional named drivers who may supervise them whilst learning. The policy may run for a set period or until the learner passes their tests to gain a full driving licence. Depending on the type of policy chosen, the premium will either increase once the learner passes their test or the policy will end, and a new insurance policy must then be taken out to cover them as a qualified driver who is no longer being supervised.

The advantages of learner driver policies are that they are typically considerably cheaper than standard policies and benefit from lower excesses while the driver is learning.

For example:

Comprehensive cover for a 17-year old learner driver with a provisional licence living in Norfolk PE32 postcode driving a 2014 Citroen C3 Vti 82 1199cc, with two experienced named additional drivers:

  • Learner driver insurance – £290.01 pa and a total excess of £200.00
  • Standard insurance – £570.08 pa and a total excess of £600.00

In both cases premiums will increase when the driver gains their full driving licence. This is to reflect the added risk of being a newly qualified, unsupervised driver. Failure to inform the insurer when the policyholder passes their practical test and gains a full driving licence will invalidate the policy.

Insurers such as Collingwood, achoice and Sterling offer annual learner driver policies and can be found on GoCompare. Short-term learner driver insurance is also available. As always with car insurance, it is best to shop around to find the best deal for the insurance you need.

Experts at GoCompare have produced useful guides for new drivers and stand-in instructors with information on insurance and how to keep premiums down, a list of the best cars for new drivers and lots of other useful tips to help new drivers get on the road. You can read them here:

Lee Griffin, founder and CEO of GoCompare, commented, “We think there could be as many as 370,000 potential new drivers keen to start learning, many of whom could find it difficult to book lessons as instructors deal with the backlog.  In many cases, family and friends may well offer to step up to get them started. However, as well as having good driving skills and patience they also need to be aware of the rules for supervising new drivers and the insurance implications for both them and the learner. Failure to adhere to both could lead to fines for traffic violations or unknowingly invalidating their insurance, leaving them open to huge claims costs if they have an accident and even a criminal record for insurance fraud.

As lockdown restrictions continue to be relaxed and people can use their cars more freely, GoCompare Car Insurance is warning drivers to make sure their vehicles are safe to drive and in a roadworthy condition.

The warning comes as research, commissioned after MOT certificates were automatically extended due to the coronavirus pandemic, reveals that 9.3million cars require repair – many with potentially seriously dangerous faults.

The MOT extension which came into effect on March 30, was revised on 29 June.  Any cars due a test between 30 March and 31 July will receive an automatic six-month extension to their current certificate.  The extension does not apply to cars with an MOT expiry date on or after 1 August.   Motorists qualifying for the six-months extension are still required to keep their car in a road legal condition and can be prosecuted for not doing so.  

According to the latest official statistics3, 31.7% of cars fail their initial MOT, 9% failed with dangerous defects.

Worryingly, research commissioned by GoCompare Car Insurance suggests that 9.2m cars may not be roadworthy, some with dangerous faults.  The research found that:

  • 29% of motorists are driving cars which they know needs repairs.
  • 9% of drivers said that their car had tyres which need replacing.
  • 6% of vehicles have brake related problems.
  • 6% of cars need engine related or mechanical repairs.
  • 5% of cars require safety related repairs including seatbelts and lights.
  • 5% of cars need repairs to the windscreen.
  • 5% of cars have clutch problems.

It also revealed that 17% of motorists were driving a car displaying a warning or service light.

Driving a car with dangerous defects is a serious offence. It can pose a safety risk to the driver, their passengers, and other road users.  If you are caught driving a car with a serious defect you will be issued with a prohibition notice preventing you from driving the vehicle.  Depending on the circumstances, you could face a large fine, penalty points on your licence or prosecution.

Penalty points for driving a defective car stay on your licence for four years from the date of the offence. If you have a motoring conviction, insurers will see you as a greater risk and your insurance premiums will increase. You must declare unspent convictions to your insurer, otherwise you will invalidate your cover.

Lee Griffin, founder and CEO of GoCompare Car Insurance commented, “As the lockdown rules continue to be relaxed and people start to make more car journeys – its crucial to make sure your vehicle is safe to drive.

“The six-month extension of MOT certificates means that there are millions of cars on the road which haven’t been tested for over a year.  And it’s fair to say, that many will have faults that would usually be routinely identified during an MOT. We are concerned by the number of drivers who are knowingly driving cars which have outstanding repairs or faults.  These drivers are potentially risking their safety and that of others.”

Lee Griffin continued, “Drivers are responsible for their cars’ condition and they are expected to carry out regular safety checks to ensure that it is safe and roadworthy.  We are urging drivers not to ignore any dashboard warning lights and, if they have any concerns about the condition of their car to take it to be repaired.  Garages have been classified as essential businesses so are open for repairs, MOTs and routine servicing.”

For more information on how to keep your car MOT-ready:

Following the latest easing of the lock down by the government, Caxton has started to see an uptick in new card applications and customer queries re foreign travel options, as more people start thinking about the possibility of a summer holiday abroad later this year.

On the back of increased customer questions regarding the best potential travel destinations, Caxton FX has responded by building a brand-new Travel Tracker, a handy online resource which provides consumers with the very latest key data on travel destinations across the globe.

The Travel Tracker gives would-be travellers essential information on 25+ countries, including the latest social distancing rules, expected quarantine period for arrivals and the current stance on foreign tourism.

This tool will help customers to decide if and where to travel to and is an innovative small step to help the travel industry start to get back on its feet after months of near shutdown.

Alana Parsons, Chief Operating Officer at Caxton FX comments: “We’ve been improving the availability of key travel information as we look for new ways to support our customers during this difficult period for the travel sector, and the wider economy.

Our new Travel Tracker is a handy one stop resource for our customers, giving them the very latest travel data, country by country, to enable them to shape their holiday plans for the months ahead.”

The DVLA recently announced an exemption for all vehicles whose MOT ran out after 30th March 2020 for a 6 month period to help the spread of Covid-19.

This has led to much conversation surrounding what exactly you should be paying for while lockdown is still enforced, with people questioning whether they still would need to pay their annual road tax to keep your car on the road.

So, we have made a comprehensive guide to help you understand car tax and how it’s affected by Covid-19.

What is car tax?

Simply explained, car tax is a payment each and every driver needs to make to both use and park on UK roads – even off-road.

The amount payable to the DVLA for your car tax will be determined by a number of factors (vehicle age, list price and CO2 emissions).

This is a payment, which is legally required for all UK drivers and their vehicles – you also need to tax your car even if there is no fee, or you are exempt.

Failing to tax your vehicle (unless SORN – we will get to this later) in all cases will result in an automatic £80 fine from the DVLA (Reduced by 50% if you pay within 28 days). A fee which could increase to £1000 following failure to pay the fine, and a clamp attached to your car.

If you choose to drive, despite not having tax, and are caught by the police (who use ANPR technology) you could be handed a fixed-penalty-notice of up to £1000.

Please do note that there have recent changes to how car tax is calculated.

What update is there for personal car tax whilst in ‘lockdown’?

Government guidelines have not changed surrounding car tax under the current lockdown measures – meaning drivers across the UK will be required to ensure they keep their car tax up-to-date to stay on the roads.

Many people will be questioning exactly why MOT’s are exempt, but not car tax. But the answer is simple – safety. In line with the Government advice, people should stay at home wherever possible; but the process involved in inspecting your vehicle to see whether it meets the exacting standards of the MOT test involves a number of people – all of whom have to work in close proximity with one another, who could potentially spread Covid-19 to you.

We presume it was a measure put in place to halt the spread of this potentially deadly virus, and protect our emergency services.

Check out our blog for more information about MOT extensions.

The typical taxing of your vehicle differs dramatically and remains very simple, and has very little human interaction – most of the process is automated and can be completed on their website or via post.

But do you need to pay car tax in every situation – what about if you haven’t used your car since lockdown has begun?

Will you need car tax if you choose not to drive your car?

Yes – each car which remains on the road must be taxed, even in spite of the recent Covid-19 outbreak, there are no exemptions granted for any driver. Some vehicles and drivers are exempt from paying for the road tax, but they still need to record the vehicle as being taxed.

Unfortunately, vehicle tax is not calculated on usage of your car, so whether you choose to drive every day or drive every so often, your car needs to have valid vehicle tax.

However, the option to voluntarily take your car off the road remains open for you; if you have a garage or personal driveway you may take out a ‘Statutory Off Road Notification’ (SORN) – we will come to this later.

Can you tax your car if your MOT is overdue?

Usually, it would be impossible to tax your car without a valid MOT certification – but since we are unable to get an MOT completed for 6 months, where does that leave drivers? Does this mean you are not able to drive for a considerable amount of time has passed?

No! Luckily, if your MOT has been extended you can still tax your car as you usually would. The only exemption would be if your car has been declared ‘off-the-road’ (SORN).

According to Government guidance ‘if your MOT was originally due in the same month as your vehicle tax and is being extended because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you cannot tax your vehicle until the extension has been applied. This is normally 3 days before your MOT is due to expire’.

How should you tax your car?

The process for taxing your vehicle remains the same, despite the outbreak of Covid-19 and can be completed via the DVLA. As mentioned earlier in this guide – the tax can be submitted via post or on the DVLA’s official website.

Click here to start your car tax registration, or renew your current tax.

But under what circumstances do you not have to pay the tax?

Are you able to delay payments?

With an uncertain financial future, you may be thinking of deferring your payment, but is this possible?

Unfortunately not.

To drive your car on UK roads, you will need to have taxed your vehicle by the expiry date – a letter is often sent to your residence with relevant details on. Alternatively, you can check your car tax expiry date online.

If you do not make this payment you could be fined and your car seized. But do not fret, the DVLA does offer the ability to spread payments, to help ease the financial burdens – you can opt-in for direct debits when you come to pay it.

But what are your options if you cannot afford your car tax?

What if you can’t afford car tax?

Unfortunately, if you cannot afford car tax, then you will be unable to keep your car on the road.

One option would be to inform the DVLA that you would like to start the process of completing a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) – a declaration that you no longer wish for your car to be on the road.

This does have some benefits, mainly in the refund you will receive for any full months of tax remaining on your car – but you will not, under any circumstances, be able to drive your car on the road until you tax your car once again.

It may be a viable option for some people, but please do note that leaving a car idle for a prolonged period of time can be damaging to the car itself. Also, some insurance providers may not cover you, so double-check your policy – otherwise, you could be paying a pretty penny if your car is stolen or damaged.

Therefore, we recommend weighing up the positives and negatives to understand whether this decision makes sense for your personal situation.

For more information on how to make a SORN and the laws around it, click here.

If you wish to drive your car in the future, then you will have to tax your car once again – or face a prosecution or a fine, which can be up to £2,500, if you decide to use it on the road for any other reason than travelling to a pre-booked MOT test.

While certain aspects of society have been paused during the current lockdown in the UK – much of it is still operating as normal, and this includes your road tax.

This guide should help you understand what you need to do to keep your vehicle on the road – even if you are using it a little less than you normally would be.

Having a valid road tax remains a legal requirement for every driver and their vehicle if they choose to keep it on UK roads (even parked on the kerb-side). Failing to do so may result in your car being seized and crushed – unless you choose to voluntarily take your car off the roads (SORN).

So make sure you understand the rules, and remember to drive safe.


Motor incidents have increased by over a third (35%) in the last few weeks, according to Co-op Insurance’s claims data released today.

With non-essential shops recently re-opening and as the Government advises people to walk, cycle or drive where possible, Co-op Insurance is anticipating a further surge in road traffic incidents.

Whilst research from the insurer shows almost a fifth (19%) of people continue to use public transport, a sixth (16%) of motorists say that in the last month alone they have been driving more.

When asked why, almost three fifths (59%) of those who have been using a car more believe driving is safer than public transport. Meanwhile, over a tenth (12%) of motorists said they’ve been driving as opposed to using public transport because they don’t want to wear face coverings.

Whilst overall the insurer is seeing less claims than it did compared to before lockdown, perhaps the reason for this sudden increase in motor collisions is the fact that many motorists are out of the habit of driving regularly due to lockdown.

In addition to this latest business data, the insurer recently revealed that collisions with cyclists have doubled in the last few weeks. As a result, Co-op is urging all road users to take extra care when getting back behind the wheel.

Nick Ansley, Head of Motor Insurance at Co-op said: “As lockdown measures ease we’ve seen a significant increase in collisions on the roads.

“Prior to lockdown, many motorists across the country drove regularly, whether that be to commute, to see friends or family or take day trips. With concerns about public transport and official advice to consider all other forms of transport, such as driving, cycling or walking, it’s clear that even more people are taking to the roads. “With this in mind, we’re reminding all road users to take extra care to help keep themselves, others and their communities safe.”

Joshua Harris, Director of Campaigns at Brake said: “The increase in collisions may feel inevitable but it shouldn’t be and is concerning, especially with the increase in people cycling on the roads, some for the very first time. We urge people to only drive if essential and be extra vigilant for people cycling and walking.”

NatWest reveals the top scams fraudsters are committing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Purchase scams in which goods are offered for sale but then never actually delivered are on the rise. The number one purchase scam reported in May was for Nintendo Switches, closely followed by pet related scams and hot tub purchases. Additionally, fake TV Licence and HMRC emails continue to scam customers into giving away bank account information.

Social distancing has been used by scammers to carry out a number of pet purchase scams, especially for pedigree dogs. This was the second most reported scam to the bank during May. Fraudsters are using social distancing rules as the reason the dog cannot be seen until the money is transferred. The dog subsequently doesn’t exist and the fraudster becomes uncontactable.

Hot tub scams increased five-fold in May with the warmer weather leading to an increase in the number of purchases.

There was also an increase in TV Licence and HMRC scams. These commonly target customers with emails stating a payment is due and link to a fake site. It is advised these types of emails are always treated with caution and to avoid clicking on any links.

Jason Costain, Head of Fraud Prevention at NatWest said: “Fraudsters are taking advantage of the current situation with more of us shopping online. We’ve seen an increase in customers not receiving the items or pets they have paid for. Customers should try where possible to use a credit or debit card when making a purchase online, purchase from a trusted seller, follow the security advice on the website and avoid making payments directly to an unknown seller. It is also worth remembering that if a deal appears too good to be true, it probably is!”

More information on how to avoid scams is available from

NatWest is developing behavioural biometrics technology which could replace banking passwords.

Next year, an additional form of authentication will be required for some transactions when Strong Customer Authentication comes into force. However, the technology, which has been customised in partnership with Visa for the purpose of increased transaction security, could replace passwords and helps to make payments more secure.

Strong Customer Authentication is an extra layer of security designed to prevent payment fraud and check that it is the cardholder making the payment.

Behavioural biometrics works by analysing the unique ways a customer interacts with their device when making an online purchase. The technology uses this information to confirm who is making the purchase and does not access or share any private data held on a device.

Working in the background of a transaction, the technology is able to deliver a seamless experience for customers while ensuring a high level of security.

The development represents a major breakthrough in the application of biometric technology, with NatWest the first bank to test the technology specifically for the purpose of SCA compliance.

Georgina Bulkeley, NatWest Director of Strategy and Innovation said: “We continue to explore biometrics and how they can be used to make payments easier and simpler for our customers. The success of a pilot of this new technology demonstrates our ongoing commitment to developing innovative ways of enhancing customer experience while prioritising security.”

Jeni Mundy, Managing Director, UK & Ireland, Visa, said: “Visa is committed to working with its partners to develop innovative technologies that remove friction for cardholders, increase security and satisfy regulatory requirements. Behavioural biometrics has already been deployed successfully for the purpose of fraud prevention, and now, following work between regulators and industry partners including Visa, has been approved as a second layer of security to be used alongside one-time passcodes in the context of Strong Customer Authentication.”

The new behavioural biometric technology follows on from NatWest’s successful pilots of biometric fingerprint technology with debit and credit cards which allowed payments of up to £100 to be verified using a fingerprint instead of PIN. The bank was the first in the UK to pilot the technology and is looking to develop it further this year.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, reveals that spending on essential items grew slightly by 0.9 per cent. This was bolstered by a 24.5 per cent rise in supermarket spend – which increased to 27.0 per cent in the week preceding the VE Day weekend as Brits made the most of the sunny bank holiday. The upsurge in supermarket expenditure helped to offset a 49.7 per cent fall in fuel.

Spending on non-essentials decreased by 36.9 per cent year-on-year, with department stores and clothing declining 44.5 per cent and 42.4 per cent respectively. However, this drop was less steep than last month’s, which saw non-essential spend contract by 47.7 per cent, reflecting a slightly more positive outlook for UK retailers ahead of some stores opening on 15 June.

While eating and drinking saw an overall decline of 70.3 per cent year-on-year, there were signs of a recovery as May saw a smaller fall in spending than in April (-79.1 per cent). This coincides with more restaurants, pubs and cafes being able to offer delivery and takeaway services. More than one in ten (14 per cent) Brits are now buying food and drinks from a pub, and 10 per cent are purchasing takeaway coffee.

In an ongoing trend, consumers have remained loyal to local specialist food and drink outlets, such as greengrocers and independent convenience stores, with the category seeing a growth of 42.5 per cent – the highest increase since restrictions were introduced.

While Home Improvement & DIY, a category which includes garden centres, saw a small annual dip of 3.2 per cent, this represented a significant uptick from April which saw a sharp 42.7 drop year-on-year. Encouragingly for these retailers, 27 per cent of Brits are now planning a trip to the garden centre or DIY store, signalling a likely continued upwards trend in spend for this category in the weeks ahead.

Online purchases at specialist retailers – including sports and outdoor outlets – and general retailers was another bright spot this month, rising 96.3 per cent and 85.8 per cent respectively as people bought items to help them exercise and keep fit while gyms remained closed.

While consumer spending is increasing month-on-month across some retail categories, overall confidence in the UK economy remains low – indicating that the road to recovery may be a long one. Just 20 per cent of UK adults feel positive, though those aged 18-34 are noticeably more upbeat than those aged over 35.

More than two thirds of Brits (67 per cent) remain confident in their households, with 37 per cent of those citing having enough savings to support them as a key reason for this positivity.

Co-op Legal Services has today launched a Bereavement Notification and Advice Service to help people deal with a late loved one’s affairs.

Recognising the demand and unexpected loss people are facing due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the unique service will mean bereaved people can access help informing financial institutions, stopping junk mail and logging off social media.

Across the UK loved ones are left to deal with an average of 12 organisations from registering a death, using the Government’s Tell us Once service, dealing with pension providers, insurers and utility providers and corresponding with the Coroner.

Research conducted by the Co-op showed a quarter (25%) of bereaved people found administering their loved one’s estate stressful, a sixth (15%) found it upsetting and almost a tenth (8%) had to take time off work.

In addition, there’s junk mail to stop and instructions to be sent to banks and building societies to freeze or close accounts to reduce the risk of fraud.

However, each service comes with a unique process, specific information requirements and timeframes, that most people perhaps wouldn’t be aware of unless having gone through the ordeal previously.

The Co-op is hoping to relieve this added pressure on bereaved people across the country, by supporting them through the various processes by providing advice and pre-populated letters.

The service includes guidance on how to log off social media accounts, an increasingly complex process, with the average person now having between five and nine accounts, according to recent research by Co-op.

Caoilionn Hurley, Managing Director of Co-op Legal Services and Life Planning said: “Families struggle with the sheer volume of organisations that need to be told about the death of a loved one and now Co-op can be there to help and support.

“Dealing with a late loved one’s affairs is never easy, but the current situation is making it impossible for people to grieve and come to terms with their loss. As a result, sorting out paperwork and informing banks can feel like an unbearable task. However, it’s crucial that people do take action as soon as possible, to prevent fraud and not prolong the grieving process.

Co-op’s Bereavement Notification and Advice Service: What’s included?

  • Help in navigating the legal procedure with social distancing in mind
  • Help in notifying organisations that need to know about the death, like banks, building societies and pension providers
  • Stopping junk mail being sent to the deceased
  • Explaining legal jargon so it’s easier to understand, including navigating potential legal issues and the coroner and inquest process
  • Advice on closing social media accounts
  • Information on how to access the Government’s Tell us Once service and in regions where it’s not available, providing pre-populated letters to help families notify government institutions such as the DWP and DVLA about the death
  • Guidance on social security benefits which may be available following the loss of a loved one.
  • Guidance on what to consider when informing utility providers
  • Advice on car or property insurance issues to prevent issues with insurance cover
  • Explaining how to make sure empty properties are secure
  • Assist the family to understand possible carer redundancy entitlements.

To find out more about the service, visit: or call 0333 060 7182

As Mastercard reveal that 66 per cent of all transactions across the UK are now contactless, new research released identifies consumer habits and viewpoints that mean this is a consumer change that will stand the test of time.

In the UK contactless adoption was already high and Mastercard has recently worked with the industry to enable the limit for contactless payments to increase from £30 to £45 to help people benefit from the fastest and simplest way to pay.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of people in the UK admit their use of cash has decreased throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with 1 in 5 (22 per cent) no longer using cash at all. Four in 5 (83 per cent) agree Contactless payments are a cleaner way to pay.

43 per cent of people in the UK have used Contactless payments more often since the Covid-19 pandemic, while 1 in 10 (9 per cent) have started to use contactless for the first time as a result of the pandemic.

“The shift to contactless has been accelerating over the past few years in the UK and it is clear that this rate of adoption has increased in recent months as a result of the pandemic and recent raise in the contactless limit. Our technology has always been there to help navigate the change in consumer behaviours and ensure money is kept safe so everyone can have peace of mind about the way they pay,” comments Marcia Clay, Senior Vice President of Market Development, UK at Mastercard.

Three quarters (76 per cent) of Brits say they are very likely to continue using Contactless payments after the pandemic ends, with 66 per cent saying Contactless Payments are now their preferred way to pay when making purchases in-store. A further one in five (21 per cent) say they have changed which cards they use most frequently specifically to use Contactless payments.

The most popular way of paying using contactless technology in the UK is with a debit or credit card (90 per cent), followed by mobile phone (21 per cent) and contactless enabled device such as a Garmin/Fitbit (3 per cent). Grocery stores are the top destination for contactless usage (93 per cent) along with other retail stores (37 per cent) and pharmacies (29 per cent). 61 per cent adopted contactless payments as they thought it was a safer way to pay.