Becoming a driving instructor can be a great career move. It’s a profession that allows you to work on your own time, choose your own hours and make a respectable wage while you’re at it!
But, working as a driving instructor has its risks, so it’s essential to have the appropriate insurance in place to protect you should anything go wrong. It’s a key thing to think about as you embark upon driving instructor training.
In this blog, we’ll cover the fundamentals of driving instructor insurance, looking into the different types of insurance available and outlining the distinctions between what PDI and ADI insurance policies cover.
What is driving instructor insurance?
True to the name, driving instructor insurance is a type of insurance coverage specifically designed for individuals who work as driving instructors. It protects against the various risks and liabilities that driving instructors may face while teaching students how to drive.
This insurance is essential for driving instructors as it safeguards their business, personal assets, and reputation in case of accidents or other unforeseen events. The type of driving instructor insurance you’ll need is also dependent on the stage of your driving career you’re in.
If you’re just starting out on the road to becoming a driving instructor, read our full guide on the difference between an ADI and PDI driving instructor.
How does driving instructor insurance differ from regular car insurance?
Falling into the trap of assuming you can work as a driving instructor with a standard car insurance policy could land you in hot water.
Even fully-comprehensive vehicle insurance policies won’t provide the breadth and depth of cover you need to operate legally as a licensed driving instructor.
There are several key differences between regular car insurance and driving instructor insurance, including:
- Hire and reward cover: Driving instructors use their vehicles for business purposes outside the scope of a standard social, domestic and pleasure insurance policy.
- Modifications: Things like dual controls, secondary mirrors, and accessibility features for disabled drivers all count as vehicle modifications and are not covered by standard insurance policies.
- Multi-car policies: If you drive a training vehicle whilst working as an instructor and a second car for personal journeys, you may want to get a multi-car policy.
What should a driving instructor insurance policy include?
Approved driving instructors (ADIs) need cover for various things and situations beyond what regular drivers require. Before purchasing any insurance policy, check to ensure it includes the following features.
- Personal accident cover
Sometimes, things just don’t go our way, no matter how careful we are. If you are involved in an accident while working as a driving instructor, personal accident insurance can provide financial support for any medical expenses and loss of income.
Personal accident insurance is an optional extra, but you won’t be able to add it to an existing policy retrospectively (i.e. after an accident has occurred).
- Legal expenses
If one of your students or another road user makes a legal claim against you for an incident that occurred while you were providing driving instruction, you could find yourself with hefty fees. Taking out driving instructor insurance with added legal expenses insurance will cover the cost of any legal disputes.
A practical example of this might be a driving instructor who decided to take a personal phone call during a lesson. If their student made an error that resulted in a collision, this would be grounds for legal action against the instructor.
- Public liability insurance
This covers the driving instructor’s legal liabilities if they are responsible for damaging property or causing injury to someone outside of the vehicle during a driving lesson.
For example, if your student accidentally reverses into a third-party vehicle whilst practising parking manoeuvres, public liability insurance would cover the cost of any repairs needed.
- Professional indemnity cover
This type of cover protects driving instructors against claims made by their students over poor instruction or advice given in lessons.
For example, if a student failed their driving test and claimed that it was a result of incorrect advice provided by their instructor, they might decide to seek compensation for any financial losses suffered. In this scenario, professional indemnity insurance would cover the costs of any payouts.
- Cover for dual-control vehicles
This insurance is specific to the use of dual-control cars, which are common in driving lessons. Dual car control insurance ensures that both the instructor and the student are covered while using the vehicle during lessons.
- Business interruption protection
Driving instructors rely on their teaching vehicles being roadworthy at all times, so issues such as chipped windscreens or flat tyres can be far more than just an inconvenience. Business interruption insurance will help compensate for any income you lose from being unable to use your car.
- Dual control courtesy car provision
Some driving instructor insurance policies will provide courtesy cars with dual controls if your vehicle is off the road due for an extended period of time for any reason. If you’re a self-employed driving instructor working without the security net of an established training school, this can be essential for ensuring you can carry on earning.
- Vehicle modifications
As we mentioned earlier, your driving instructor insurance policy must include any modifications to your teaching vehicle. Most commonly, these include dual controls and additional wing mirrors. It’s unlikely that a regular insurance policy will cover these things, so taking out specialist cover is essential.
- Hire and reward cover
Working as a driving instructor means you’ll be earning money whilst out on the roads in your tuition vehicle. If you use your car for anything other than social, domestic and pleasure purposes, you’ll need hire and reward cover.
What about PDI driving instructor insurance?
PDI (potential driving instructor) insurance is designed for driving instructors who are still in training and yet to qualify as approved driving instructors. It provides cover if you’re operating under a PDI licence, so you can teach students under supervision and gain the experience to pass your ADI part 3 test and become a fully-qualified ADI.
PDI insurance differs from regular driving instructor insurance in several ways to provide increased protection for the teacher and their student.
- Supervised teaching: PDI insurance covers instructors while providing driving lessons under the supervision of a qualified ADI. This means the instructor must have a trainee licence and actively work towards becoming fully qualified.
- General cover: PDI insurance typically includes public liability cover, professional indemnity insurance, and sometimes personal accident insurance. This cover protects the instructor against things like third-party claims, legal liabilities, and personal injuries that may occur during lessons.
- Training school insurance: In some cases, driving instructors may be covered under the insurance policy of the driving school where they are receiving their training.
You can read more about how to apply for a PDI driving licence here.
What affects the cost of driving instructor insurance?
It should come as no surprise that learner drivers pose a greater risk while on the roads than experienced drivers. Even if they’ve had several lessons already, learners still lack the driving skills and intuition that people with full licences have built up over their years in the driver’s seat.
But, it’s not just the inexperience of the learner drivers you’re teaching that means driving instructor insurance can be so pricey. Typically, insurance providers will calculate your annual premium according to the following factors.
- Level of cover: Different levels of cover cost different amounts. For example, a basic liability insurance policy may cost considerably less than comprehensive insurance but won’t provide the same level of protection. For added peace of mind and financial security, we recommend getting comprehensive cover.
- Add-ons and optional extras: As with most other types of insurance policies, you can pay for additional protection on top of your basic premium. For driving instructor insurance, these add-ons typically include legal and business interruption protection.
- Experience and qualifications: Insurers will likely offer cheaper rates to driving instructors with more experience and qualifications under their belts. So, demonstrating a commitment to continuing education and improving your skills will stand you in the best stead to lower the cost of your insurance. Consider doing additional training courses, such as the special test for instructors or registering to be a Pass Plus instructor.
- Driving history: Like regular driving insurance, your driving history can impact insurance costs. You’ll likely be eligible for lower rates if you have a clean driving record over a reasonable period.
- Claims history: This relates to your previous vehicle insurance record. If you have a history of making claims or have had previous driving instructor insurance claims, it could lead to higher premiums.
- Location: Your driving school’s location can influence insurance costs. For example, urban areas with higher traffic density can be seen as a higher risk for claims, meaning they may have higher premiums than rural locations.
It’s best to contact insurance providers directly or use online comparison tools to get accurate quotes based on your specific circumstances. Remember to shop around and compare multiple insurance providers to find the best cover at a competitive price.
Become a driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School
If you’re thinking about training to become a driving instructor, or you’re already an ADI working independently, consider joining Bill Plant Driving School’s franchise.
We’re an award-winning provider of driving lessons and instructor training programmes, with a nationwide network of professional instructors working under one of the UK’s most well-respected academies.
You could earn over £55,000 working as a driving instructor with Bill Plant Driving School while enjoying the benefits of a rewarding, flexible career.
And what’s more, joining a driving school franchise such as Bill Plant Driving School means you don’t need to factor driving instructor insurance into your outgoings separately. This cost is already contained within your franchise fees, meaning you don’t have to worry about sourcing your own insurance.
FAQs about driving instructor insurance
Do I need a different type of driving instructor insurance when I’m a trainee driving instructor?
Yes, if you are taking lessons as a trainee driving instructor, you must apply for PDI driving instructor insurance. While broadly similar to standard driving instructor insurance, this offers trainee driving instructors and their students increased protection in the car.
What makes a good insurance provider for driving instructors?
Because driving instructor insurance is a specialist type of cover, you should look for a provider with relevant experience and expertise. You may want to ask fellow instructors for their recommendations, as they’ll be best placed to tell you the pros and cons of particular insurers.
It’s also important to consider the level of customer support the insurance provider offers. A responsive and helpful customer service team can make your life a lot easier if you need to make a claim or have any queries regarding your cover.
How much does driving instructor insurance cost?
Driving instructor insurance is just one factor to consider when weighing up the cost of becoming a driving instructor versus the amazing average driving instructor salary. The price of insurance policies varies depending on a range of factors, so it’s impossible to provide exact figures on how much your driving instructor insurance will cost. Things that companies consider before offering a rate are factors like the experience of the instructor, claims history and the level of coverage they would like.