International (non-EU) driving licence holders should be aware that after a period of 12 months, your licence will need to be transferred to a UK driving licence. This is of vital importance in maintaining your car insurance policy.

Holders of Chinese or Russian driving licences should take particular note, as car insurance policies can be invalidated if the correct procedure is not followed.

Driving in the UK on an international driving licence

If you have an international driving licence and are classed as a permanent UK resident, you have a 12 month period whereby you are able to legally drive in the UK on your international licence. Once this 12 month period expires, you will lose this entitlement and will need to obtain a UK driving licence.

You can obtain a UK driving licence by passing a UK driving test.  Or if your licence is from a country that has been designated in British law you can exchange your licence for a UK one. Designated countries are:

  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Korea
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • Switzerland
  • Zimbabwe

If you have not obtained a UK driving licence by the end of the 12 month period, then you must apply for a provisional driving licence from the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency).   You cannot apply to take the UK driving test unless you have a provisional licence, as the DVLA will require your provisional driving licence number.

Driving in the UK on a provisional driving licence

A provisional driving licence states that you must be accompanied at all times by someone that has held a full UK driving license for at least 2 years, and is over the age of 21.

If you are stopped by the police and you are not accompanied this will result in an LC20 conviction (i.e. driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence).  Between 3 and 6 penalty points will be added onto your license.

Any penalty points on your provisional licence that have not expired will be carried over to your full driving licence when you pass your test. Furthermore your licence will be cancelled if you get any further penalty points that take you up to a total of 6 or more within 2 years of passing your driving test.

What this means for your car insurance policy

If the above conditions for driving on a provisional licence are not met, insurers can cancel your car insurance policy. This will leave you without any cover.

If an accident occurs then insurers will not pay for your own damage and more than likely not the third party’s damage. In some instances insurers will settle the third party damage then pursue you for reimbursement.

The majority of insurance policies state that the policy would be invalidated because as a provisional licence holder you are only entitled to drive if properly supervised.

As high performance car insurance brokers, our clients can be particularly at risk by not having any cover.  If you are unsure of the status of your driving licence and how it affects your insurance policy, call one of our expert performance car insurance brokers.  We will be happy to guide you through your options.

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Written by: Dan Foley

Date: Friday 3rd November, 1:13pm