By John Grant
New Zealand has a graduated licensing system. A driver learning to drive will have a Learners License. The next stage is a Restricted License and then it's followed by a full license that is only applicable for the specific class of vehicle you are qualified to drive.
Each of these license types have various restrictions applicable and the impact of these can make the difference between insurance coverage and no insurance.
Learners License - With this class of license you are permitted to drive a vehicle only while there is a fully licensed driver sitting alongside you in the front passenger seat. This person must supervise your driving and is effectively the person in control of the vehicle.
Restricted License - You are permitted to drive the vehicle on your own but not during the hours of 10pm till 5am. You are permitted to have your spouse/partner with you but you can only drive during 10pm till 5am if you have a full licensed driver sitting alongside you in the front seat. This person, as with the Learner Licensee, must have held a full license for at least 2 years.
If you sat your license in a automatic transmission car then you are only permitted to drive an automatic. However this is not the case if you have a fully licensed driver (as described above) sitting in the passenger seat as your supervisor. You are not able to drive with any other passengers.
Firstly you need to check on the terms applying to the car policy you wish to drive.
Some policies have restricted driver clauses either requiring all drivers to be named or limiting who is insured by age or experience. If no restrictions apply then you will have cover provided you stay within the terms of the license.
A Learner Licensee must therefore have a full license holder in the front passenger seat and they must have held a full license for more than 2 years.
If you comply then cover will be applicable.
Any breach of the terms of these licenses could give grounds for a claim to be declined. However under Section 11 of The Insurance Law Reform Act 1977, the insurer will need to be able to establish that the breach of license terms contributed to the accident.
Tips to avoid claims being declined
- Know the terms of the policy and what restrictions are contained in it for who can drive the vehicle. If in doubt then call the insurer.
- Stay within the terms of the license. Don't drive with passengers and do not drive outside of the restricted hours of use.
- While the police can sometimes show some leniency , your insurance company could take a different view, so be home by 10pm or arrange to have a driver with a full license (sober) sitting alongside you.