HG Insurance drivers license

Driver’s License Guide for First Time Drivers

New drivers can successfully receive their driver’s license in BC. Here are some helpful tips – advance planning and good preparation among them.

During this time of COVID-19, all ‘normal’ activities have been turned on their heads and that includes the exciting milestone of achieving a license to drive. With so many restrictions, including physical distancing, there have been more challenges to getting new drivers licensed and on the road. To the frustrations of eager new drivers, teens, and their parents.

In rural areas like ours, with fewer resources including fewer road test examiners, it can be just that much more challenging. But, it can still be done. You just have to plan well ahead of time and make sure that, as a new driver, you come very prepared!


A first driver’s license is an exciting time in a new driver’s life – a whole new sense of freedom and independence! And so much more responsibility. Exciting and scary at the same time, driving independently can be daunting to a new driver. From passing the exams and road tests to purchasing your first auto insurance policy, here are a few things to keep in mind to help ease the way:

Testing the knowledge of new drivers

Each province has different rules and requirements to become a legal driver. In most cases, however, a knowledge test is the first step in the licensing process – the Learner’s permit.

In British Columbia, to receive the first stage in the driver’s licensing process – the “L” – a new driver must get 40 out of 50 questions right on a multiple-choice knowledge test. Passing this test ensures the new driver understands the various rules of the road. It also means the driver is beginning to develop a consciousness around safe driving behaviours. Here are a few elements of the test to be aware of:

  • You will be charged a fee.
  • The test is typically completed on a computer at an insurance agency office.
  • Questions will often include driving laws, road sign familiarity, and safe driving practices.
  • Upon successful completion, you will receive a Learner’s driving permit and an “L” magnet for your vehicle to indicate your status to other drivers and authorities.
  • This permit is not a full driver’s license. It is required to progress to future exams and licensing.
  • When the new driver passes this test, they can legally practise driving with a licensed family member or friend or recognized driving school.

Knowledge tests are available by appointment only​. Book an appointment using ICBC’s new online service.

BC’s Graduated Licensing Program

No matter the age of a new driver, everyone pursues their driver’s license through the Graduated Licensing Program (GLP).

By going through the GLP, new drivers learn the information, skills, and attitudes that will help them become a more knowledgable, confident, and safe driver. It’s a process that helps inexperienced drivers ease into driving independently, first with supervision and then gradually independently.

To proceed successfully through GLP, there are three tests—one multiple-choice test followed by two road tests. If the new driver drives safely and with proven knowledge, it takes about three years to complete. That means ample time to study, practice, and take driver training to develop your knowledge, skills, and comfort on the road.

The following phases highlight the key components of the ‘Learner’ and ‘Novice’ phases of British Columbia’s GLP program:

Phase 1: Learner’s (L) Permit

A new driver can get your L on or any time after their 16th birthday.

How to get an L permit:

Knowledge tests are available by appointment only​. Book an appointment using ICBC’s new online service.

Learn more about getting a Learner’s licence

Phase 2: Novice (N) Driver Permit

After a minimum of a year practising under the supervision of an experienced, licensed driver, the Learner can take their first road test.

Here’s how to get an N permit:

  • Book the Class 7 road test well ahead of time
  • Take the Class 7 road test. The road test appointment — including time following to review performance — should take about 45 minutes. Your assigned examiner will sit beside you as you drive a predetermined route that will test your driving skills.

Learn more about getting your Novice licence

Phase 3: Driver’s License

Finally! The new driver gets their full license to drive independently and without supervision. Also, no more GLP restrictions, tests or L and N magnets on the back of your vehicle.

A new driver can apply for their full licence after driving with an N for at least 24 months of safe driving with no prohibitions (potentially, 18 months, if the driver learned through an ICBC-approved driver training course in the L phase and was a safe driver throughout that period). To successfully achieve a full driver’s license, the driver must:

  • Be suspension free for the last twelve months of the L phase.
  • Book the Class 5 road test well ahead of time
  • Take the Class 5 road test. Pass the advanced road test. As a more experienced driver, the test will include more advanced and challenging driving environments than that of the Class 7 road test. The test and examiner feedback should take about 45 minutes.

Learn more about getting your full licence


Car insurance coverage for young drivers

It’s important to understand that, when it comes to young drivers, there are different factors taken into consideration when determining auto insurance. An insurance provider will determine the rate using the following:

  • When it comes to car insurance, a young driver is defined by any individual who is under the age of 25.
  • There are multiple risk factors by which an insurance company will determine rates, including the increased likelihood the young driver will experience an accident.
  • Young drivers make up approximately 10 per cent of Canadian drivers. Unfortunately, the reality is young drivers account for about 25 per cent of all accidents resulting in serious injury or death.
  • Consequently, for drivers between the ages of 16 and 24, they are thought to be higher-risk.

If you have any questions about a driver’s license for new drivers, auto insurance for young or new drivers, or any other insurance information, we can help! CONTACT US!