How Much Does It Cost to Learn to Drive?

With the price of lessons, car insurance and the driving test itself, the cost of learning to drive can be pretty hefty. But there are ways to save. These are the numbers you need to know…

With the price of lessons, car insurance and the driving test itself, the cost of learning to drive can be pretty hefty. But there are ways to save. These are the numbers you need to know…

Julie Daniels
Insurance expert
5
minute read
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Last Updated 26 JULY 2022

Ready to get behind the wheel but unsure of the costs?

Learning to drive opens up an exciting world of opportunities, giving you more freedom to go where you want, when you want. The downside is that driving can be an expensive business.

While driving lessons with a professional instructor make up the lion’s share of learning-to-drive costs, there are other expenses associated with being able to legally drive a car in the UK, including a provisional licence, tests and insurance.

Another reason you could end up paying more is by rushing into taking your test when you’re not ready. Have as many lessons as you need to give yourself the best chance of passing first time. That way, you can hopefully avoid the added expense of paying for more lessons and another test.

Read on for a breakdown of the costs you’ll need to think about, along with ways you could save money when learning to drive.

How much does a provisional driving licence cost?

Applying for a UK provisional driving licence online will cost you £34, or £43 if you apply by post. You’ll need one of these before you can start to learn to drive on UK roads.

Having a provisional licence means you can drive under the supervision of a driving instructor. You can also learn with another driver who’s over the age of 21 and has held a full driving licence for at least three years – a parent or sibling, for example.

How much do driving lessons cost?

The cost of driving lessons varies depending on the instructor, where you live and whether you drive a manual or automatic car. But you can expect to pay somewhere in the region of £30-£35 an hour. London and the South East are typically the most expensive areas to learn to drive, but you can save money if you buy lessons in bulk through an introductory offer or package rate.

There isn’t a minimum requirement for the number of lessons you need to have before taking your driving test. But the average learner will need 45 hours of driving lessons and 22 hours of private practice to pass their test, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). So, if you have 45 lessons at a cost of £30 each time, it will set you back around £1,350 in total.

How much will your driving tests cost you?

You’ll need to take two types of test before you can ditch your L-plates and take to the road as a fully-fledged driver – theory and practical.

Driving theory test

The driving theory test costs £23. You’ll need to pass your theory test before you can take the practical driving test. To give you an idea of the overall pass rate for the theory test, it was 55.7% in the financial year 2020-21. If you want to practise before the real thing, it might be worth paying £4.99 to download The Official DVSA Theory Test Kit app. This includes mock tests and hazard perception videos.

Practical driving test

The practical driving test costs £62 for weekday tests, while evening, weekend and bank holiday practical tests cost £75. The overall pass rate for the practical test was 49.8% in the year 2020-21, which shows that more people fail than pass. When we analyse previous years of DVLA data, we can see that, on average, male drivers have a significantly higher pass rate than female drivers.

Do I need car insurance when learning to drive?

You may do. The good news is that if you're taking lessons with a professional driving school, the cost of insurance is usually included in the lesson price. Be sure to double-check though.

If you’re practising in your own car, you’ll need learner driver insurance. Be aware that some policies might require the person supervising you to be over the age of 25.

If you'll be learning in a friend’s car or in your parents’ vehicle, you’ll either need to take out learner driver insurance or make sure you’re covered by the car owner’s insurance policy.

What is the cheapest way to learn to drive?

There are a few things you can do to lower the cost of learning to drive:

  • Shop around for driving lessons – go online and compare quotes from driving instructors.
  • Book driving lessons in bulk – you’ll normally get a discount for booking multiple lessons.
  • Book two-hour lessons – booking a two-hour lesson is usually cheaper than booking two one-hour lessons. Plus, it gives you more time to get into the swing of things.
  • Get in some extra free practice – if you’re insured on their car, get some extra practice in with a friend or family member for free.
  • Only book a test when you’re ready – one of the most cost-effective ways to save money learning to drive is by passing your test first time. Easier said than done we know, but to give yourself the best chance possible, make sure you’re properly prepared.
  • Shop around and compare car insurance quotes – if you need to find car insurance, let Compare the Market do the work for you. We’ll gather quotes from more than 66[1] different insurance providers in the UK, in just a few minutes.

[1] Correct as of June 2022.

Total cost of learning to drive 

With everything we’ve laid out, you can see it costs around £2,000 to learn to drive:
 

Provisional driving licence

£34

Learner driver insurance (average for one year)

£550[2]

Driving lessons (estimate)

£1,350

Theory test

£23

DVSA theory test app

£4.99

Practical test (weekday)

£62

Total

£2,023.99

 

[2] 51% of learner drivers between 17-24 years old could achieve a quote of up to £550 for their car insurance based on Compare the Market data in June 2022.

Although the costs do mount up, at least they will be spread across your learner driver journey so won’t happen all at once. That should make them more manageable as you gear up for life on the road.

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