Breakdown of costs associated with gaining your UK driving licence
Driving is a rite of passage for many of us, but it’s no secret – driving isn’t the most affordable mode of transport.
So, as a learner driver, it’s important to get an understanding for exactly how much it would cost you to learn to drive, and what each stage costs up-front.
Let’s start at the beginning, to help guide you through the essential steps you need to take
What is a Provisional Licence? How much does it cost?
On your first step towards getting behind the wheel, you will need to acquire a provisional licence.
Simply explained, it’s a small green card which permits you to learn to drive.
Without one, you cannot legally drive – whether that’s driving lessons, or with a family member. So, make sure you apply for one before you intend to learn to drive, or take your theory test.
To purchase one, you will need to be at least 15 years old and 9 months and be able to read a number plate from 20 metres away. But, please note that you will not be able to drive until you reach 17 years old.
You will need a few documents to confirm your identity, but the overall process is very quick – it costs £34 when you purchase it online, using the GOV.UK website. Alternatively, you can purchase your provisional licence by mail, but be wary, this method will cost you slightly more at £43.
If nothing goes wrong in your application process, you are likely to receive your physical green licence card within one week.
How much do driving lessons cost?
There is no simple answer to this question, as everybody takes different amounts of time to pass, but it takes most people, at least 45 hours of driving lessons and 22 hours of private practice driving before they are ready to pass their practical driving test.
That doesn’t sound like a lot of time to master driving, and it’s definitely not. You will continue to learn even after you have passed, but your lessons will provide you with a great basis, and give you the sufficient skills you need to start solo driving.
If you take longer, then don’t worry, you are not alone. Try not to rush this step – feeling ready is one major part of the process, and you may create anxiety if you aren’t ready to hit the road by yourself.
But back to the question at hand – cost of learning to drive.
On average, you will be charged around £24 per hour for driving lessons.
So, roughly speaking the overall cost of lessons, if you did the minimum recommended number of hours would cost you £1,128. However, if you do not have an adult over the age of 21 who has held a driving licence for three years, and does not have access to their own car, you may need more lessons with an instructor to get you up to speed.
But, you can often bargain with your instructor to purchase a bundle of lessons at a reduced rate, so this figure may be a little less in the end.
If you are lucky enough to have an adult who fits the standards needed to teach, and is willing to help you learn to drive in their car, then it’s vitally important that you first take out learner driver insurance before you even step foot in the car.
Don’t forget your L plates too!
Do I need to use a qualified driving instructor?
We would always recommend using a qualified driving instructor to help teach you the basics of driving – but there is no legal requirement for you to take driving lessons, or complete a set amount of practice driving.
With that said, driving isn’t something you can just wing, and learn overnight. Driving lessons are a fundamental part of learning to drive, which arm you with the essential skills needed for solo driving.
But, if you don’t have the money to start taking lessons, is there an alternative way?
Well, yes. Because there is no legal requirement for you to take driving lessons, you can technically be taught by anyone over the age of 21, who has held a driving licence for 3, or more years.
Although, you will need to have access to a car, learner driver insurance (Alternatively, you can simply be added to a regular insurance policy as an additional driver), and some L plates to stick on the front, and back of the car.
While this option may be appealing for some, and rightfully so – the teaching experience and in-depth knowledge of the DVSA requirements that a qualified instructor has will likely see you pass quicker and easier than help from an unqualified parent or friend.
So, seriously consider your options, and choose what is right for you.
How much does a Theory Test cost?
One of the essential steps in your journey to becoming a solo driver is taking your theory test.
Only when you have passed your theory test will you be able to take your practical driving test – but don’t worry, you can take lessons and drive under supervision in the meantime.
But, to drive in the UK, you need to be at least 17 years old, so if you happen to apply for your provisional licence at the earliest possible moment (15 years 9 months old), you could pass before you even step foot in a car.
So, how much would taking your theory test cost you?
It will cost £23 for a car and motorcycle test.
Although it’s worth noting that, once you pass your test, you will have to pass your practical driving test within 2 years – after this time, you will have to re-take your test, and pay the fee once again.
How much does a Driving Test cost?
The final step in gaining some independence behind the wheel, and driving off into the sunset, is completing your practical driving test.
Getting to this step will take quite a few hours of lessons, but hopefully it will all be worth it, when it comes to gaining the ability to drive.
But, just how much will this final step cost you?
Depending on whether you book a weekday slot or a weekend one, you may be looking at different charges.
If you are looking for the cheapest option, you can opt for this when it comes to booking your test – which will set you back £62, as standard for a weekday slot.
But, we know that this may be a little harder for you to do, especially if you work, or have college/uni to attend. So, there is additional option for you to pay £75, allowing you to either book a weekend slot, or evening time frame.
It’s important to know that if you do not pass first time round, you will have to book another slot to take your driving test – but you will have to choose a date which is, at least, 10 working days after your initial test.
How much does it cost you get your driving licence?
This question is a little difficult to answer, as it really depends on the driver, and whether they need additional lessons, or tests.
But, we’ll break it down, to show you how much it would cost (minimum) to gain your UK full driver licence, using a qualified driving instructor:
Provisional Licence: £34
Theory Test: £23
Driving Lessons (Based on 47-hour recommendation): £1,128
Driving Test: £62
Total Amount: £1,247*
Although, it’s important to note that if you take lessons with a friend or family member, you won’t be spending quite so much on lessons – but remember, there are other costs involved. So do your research, and see which option is best for you, personally.
So, as a learner driver it would cost you £1,247 minimum before you can begin to solo drive in the UK.
Driving is inherently difficult if you have never done it before, and takes a little while to get your head around – so, do not worry if you take a little longer to pass than expected, we all learn at our own pace. We recommend budgeting slightly more than this figure, in case you need to take additional lessons, or re-take a driving test, as a precautionary step.
We think it’s more important than anything, that you feel comfortable behind the wheel, and ready to take on solo driving.
Best of luck on your journey, and remember to contact us, to experience our innovative telematics car insurance, and take your step towards becoming a safer driver, once you have passed.
If you’d like to get a quote with us, complete it online now, or contact us on 0333 103 7897
*Based on minimum recommended driving lesson hours, selection of cheapest method for acquiring provisional licence, and a typical weekday driving slot from: 10th March 2021.