The cost of learning to drive, from lessons and insurance to booking the test

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Provisional licence
Driving lessons
Theory test
Practical test
Getting insurance

Learning to drive is an important milestone but there are a few costs to factor in.

From applying for a provisional licence to booking lessons and your driving test, the costs can add up quickly.

We breakdown all the costs you'll need to consider when learning how to drive.

Applying for a provisional licence: £34 to £43

Before you start learning how to drive, you'll need to apply for a provisional driving licence.

Provisional licences cost £34 if you apply online or £43 if you apply by post.

Your provisional licence shows that you can legally drive on UK roads as long as you have a "trusted driver" with you.

A trusted driver could be someone you know or a professional driving instructor.

If you learn with someone you know, they must:

  • Be over 21 years old
  • Have held their licence for at least 3 years
  • Have passed their test in the type of car you're learning in e.g. manual or automatic
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Driving lessons: £1,188 to £1,540

According to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), you need around 44 hours of lessons to pass your driving test.

In addition, it’s recommended that drivers complete an additional 20 hours, on average, of supervised practice outside of lessons to get confident driving ahead of their test.

This is just a rough guide though and the number of lessons you need will vary depending on the driver.

On average, driving lessons cost around £27 to £35 per hour but can vary depending on where you live.

44 hours of lessons would therefore cost between £1,188 and £1,540.

You might be able to save on lessons by booking in blocks rather than pay-as-you-go.

Your driving lesson fee includes the cost of petrol and car insurance.

If you want to practice outside your lessons or learn to drive with a trusted friend or family member, you need to get insurance.

You can do this by getting added as a named driver on their policy, or you can buy temporary learner driver insurance.

Learning to drive can be exciting - but expensive
Learning to drive can be exciting - but expensive

Booking your theory: £23

Before you can take your practical driving test, you'll need to pass your theory test.

Car theory tests cost £23 and you can book your theory test online.

You can take your theory as soon as you have your provisional driving licence.

Your theory test certificate is only valid for 2 years from the date you passed.

This means you'll have to retake it if you don't pass your practical before those 2 years are up.

Practical driving test: £62 to £75

Once you're confident and comfortable behind the wheel, it's time to book your practical!

Practical tests cost £62 on weekdays and £75 on evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

You can book your practical driving test online.

Once you've passed your practical test you'll be ready to start driving solo!

You can also take an extra driving course, called Pass Plus, if you'd like more practice. 🚗

Learning to drive can be scary but with practice and patience, you can do it!
Learning to drive can be scary but with practice and patience, you can do it!

Using temporary learner driver insurance to save money

New research from Cuvva has revealed younger drivers (and their parents) are paying nearly nine times more when adding a learner driver to a car insurance policy. On average, learner drivers can save more than £2,000 just by opting for temporary learner driver insurance by the hour instead of being added to a policy.

Temporary car insurance is essentially a standalone policy. Young drivers can get insured by the hour whenever they want to practise in the family car, and parents are able to protect their no claims bonus.

The average cost to add a learner driver to a parent’s annual policy worked out to be £2,253.37. As costs continue to soar, learning how to drive can set Brits back by almost £4,000, depending on location.

Total cost of learning to drive £1,559.80 - £3,934.37
Provisional licence £34 (online) or £43 (post)
Driving test £62 (weekday) or £75 (weekend/bank holiday)
Driving lessons with an instructor: 44 hours @ £27 to £35/hour (Based on three leading driving schools) £1,188 to £1,540
Average cost to add a learner driver to an annual policy (Based on 13 regions across Britain) £2,253.37
Average cost for temporary car insurance outside of lessons: 20 hours @ £12.64/hour (Based on the average price for an hour policy) £252.80
Theory test £23

According to the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), you need around 44 hours of lessons to pass your driving test. In addition, it’s recommended that drivers complete an additional 20 hours on average, of supervised practice, outside of lessons to get confident driving ahead of their test.

Through a price comparison website, it would cost a family living in Bristol £498.99 to insure a 2011 Vauxhall Astra Active. Adding their 19 year old son to the policy as a named driver, who’s learning to drive, would cost an additional £1,292.65, pushing their premium to £1,791.64.

(Note: the cost is even higher in big cities like Birmingham, where the difference is £3,936, Manchester, where it's £3,882, and London, where it's £3,605.)

If the same Bristol learner driver opted for temporary learner driver insurance instead, and got insured by the hour, at an hourly rate of £11.39, it would cost the young driver £227.80 to complete the additional 20 recommended hours, outside of his lessons.

Driving without insurance

Just a reminder. Driving without insurance is illegal and could result in some hefty penalties.🚫

The police could give you a £300 fine and six penalty points if you're caught driving without cover.

If your case goes to court, you could get an unlimited fine or be banned from driving altogether (and nobody wants that!)

Always check that you have the right car insurance before getting behind the wheel.

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Updated on 26th September 2022