Q&A - Learner Driver Crash Coverage

New Driver Signs 2011A learner driver who had made a serious error in judgment asked about collision coverage. He had taken the family car without consent, did not have the required supervisor present and caused a crash. What kind of trouble would he be in?

This is beyond the scope of my knowledge, so I asked ICBC for advice. Here's what they had to say:

A learner driver operating a vehicle without the required supervisor would be in breach of insurance and wouldn't be covered for most losses. For example, if they had Collision coverage, vehicle damage wouldn't be covered. They could also be held responsible for claims paid out to others.

A learner's licence has a number of restrictions, including driving with a qualified supervisor. A learner driver must follow all the requirements and restrictions of the licence.

While you might consider that going for a quick spin to be innocent fun, in this case it didn't turn out that way. It doesn't take much of a bump these days to result in thousands of dollars in damages, if you are lucky.

The car owner will be responsible for the bill. The only out may be to have this driver charged for theft of the vehicle and parents are not likely to want to do this.

Either way, someone will be paying out of pocket instead of having the crash covered by insurance.

Before the Graduated License Program was launched more than 25 years ago, learners were issued a simple Class 5 Learner License. And it was a license in the sense that they could be ticketed for infractions, and were simply expected to obey the restrictions, including having a supervisor.

So it surprised me as a Driving Instructor when on at least two occasions to my certain knowledge, ICBC followed a different path. These learners were required to successfully pass their Road Test within 30 days, in order to be 'covered' retroactively by the owner's policy. Heck, they were accommodated with an early test appointment by ICBC.

I always felt this was wrong - particularly when one of these 16-year old applicants passed, and afterwards told me that he had caused injury to someone. That's not how things are supposed to work.

It appears that with the advent of GLP, they have gotten smarter, and much more specific about who is covered and under what conditions!