Seventeen at last! Lots of teenagers can't wait to start driving. Many of them like to practice with a qualified driver as well as taking lessons. It's a great way for them to get used to driving without draining their bank account. But there are a few things that need to be borne in mind – not least having the right insurance.
It takes a lot of time and money to get a driver's license. Driving lessons are the biggest expense: in Switzerland, instructors charge around CHF 90 for a 50-minute lesson. The average learner needs roughly 30, but the Swiss Council for Accident Prevention recommends about 3,000 kilometers or 100 hours of driving practice before applying for a practical test. Many young people simply can't afford to get this much through lessons alone, so they need someone to accompany them on practice drives. The lucky ones have parents, relatives or friends who are happy to offer their free time and the use of their car.
In Switzerland, special rules apply to private driving practice. The learner driver, accompanying person, and car must meet the following requirements:
The accompanying person
The person accompanying a learner driver bears a lot of responsibility. He or she must ensure that the learner drives safely and obeys the rules of the road. Any violations could result in a penalty. Luckily, most learners are careful and attentive, so accidents during driving practice are rare. Nevertheless, it helps to clarify the insurance issues beforehand. Here are the most important ones:
The practice car has mandatory third-party liability insurance if it has a valid license plate. Motor vehicle liability insurance covers damage caused to third parties and/or their property by the insured vehicle, regardless of who's driving it at the time of the accident. The driver must of course have a valid driver's license or learner's permit and permission to drive the car.
If the learner causes an accident with another car, the insurance coverage is the same as it would be with the owner driving. However, drivers under 25 have a higher deductible. The learner must agree with the owner who will pay the costs. These depend on the type of car insurance:
If the practice car belongs to someone outside the learner's household, third-party driver's insurance is recommended. It covers all costs arising for the owner of the car if the learner has an accident: deductible and loss of bonus in the case of comprehensive accidental damage insurance or full repair cost in the case of partial accidental damage insurance. "Use of private third-party vehicles" is an optional component of personal liability insurance. Learners should check whether it's included in their policy or their parents' policy. Please note that many insurers set limits on how often the third-party vehicle may be used. This information can be found in their terms and conditions. AXA imposes no such limits.
Young people who are still in full-time education and living with their parents are automatically covered by their parents' insurance. Most insurers require drivers to have their own personal liability insurance as soon as they enter full-time employment or reach the age of 25. AXA continues to cover young drivers as long as they live with their parents.
Besides the legal requirements, there are a few important tips for practicing safely: