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Delays to driving tests due to the pandemic are set to cost provisional-licence drivers a packet.

Experts said thousands of drivers on provisional licences will be forced to renew insurance policies for up to €600 each more than fully licensed drivers.

Insurance brokerage Coverinaclick.ie says figures from the Road Safety Authority suggest that 33,000 drivers would have passed their test between March and July. But, due to Covid-19, the test centres were closed.

Deirdre McCarthy of Coverinaclick.ie said this is leading to thousands of motorists looking at another year of high premiums. She advised these motorists to check their insurer's refund policy before renewing.

She said that pre-Covid 16,000-17,000 drivers were tested every month and around half passed. The service had to be suspended on March 13 and resumed only this week.

"Drivers who pass their test are typically rewarded with premium reductions of between €300 and €600 at their next renewal," Ms McCarthy said.

The 33,000 drivers who would likely have passed their test between March and July will not see these reductions if their insurance is due for renewal before their test date.

Most insurers will give a pro-rata refund if a person passes their test during the term of their cover.

Irish Independent