Learner drivers can now claim back the cost of their expired theory tests through a new scheme launched by a specialist car insurer.
An estimated 50,000 learners lost out in 2020 as their theory test pass certificates expired before they were able to sit their practical test. With a theory test costing £23, it is thought that learners have lost a collective £1.1 million and many more face losing out as driving tests remain suspended around the country.
Learner driver insurer Marmalade estimates that almost 14,000 more students could see their test expire during the current lockdown, costing them a collective £320,000 and forcing them to resit the test before they can sit their practical test.
Hundreds of thousands of learners saw their practical driving tests rescheduled or cancelled during the first lockdown and in subsequent months as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency struggled to cope with the backlog and regional lockdown restrictions.
Drivers must have a valid theory test certificate to sit their practical test but theory passes only remain valid for two years, so many learners’ tests expired before they could rebook the practical test.
To help learners caught up in the current problems, Marmalade is offering to refund customers whose test has expired since the start of the first UK-wide lockdown on 23 March 2020.
The offer is open to existing and new customers, once the 14-day cooling off period has passed.
A petition to have theory test pass certificates extended has gathered more than 61,000 signatures and senior driving instructors have backed the call but the DVSA has said it has no intention of changing the expiry criteria, arguing that: "Ensuring new drivers have current relevant knowledge and skills is a vital part of the training of new drivers."
Crispin Moger, CEO of Marmalade, said: “The UK Government isn’t doing enough and isn’t willing to step in and help UK learners, so that is why we are offering existing customers and new customers whose theory test certificates have expired, or are set to expire during lockdown the opportunity to claim the money back on us. We are urging other learner driver insurers to follow suit to help us in giving learners the chance to qualify as drivers as soon as possible.”