The cost of getting on the road
Learning to drive, buying a car, tax and insurance are part of prepping a young driver for life as a motorist. But how much does it really cost?
Being a young driver is no cheap ride
Car insurance for young drivers is expensive. Especially when you compare it to those with long safe driving records.
Insurance is a big price to pay to get on the road. And that's without factoring in the cost of a car, driving lessons and paying for the theory and practical test on top.
How much does it cost to learn to drive?
How much you pay depends on:
- The price of a provisional licence
- The cost of each driving lesson, multiplied by how many you need
- How much the theory and practical tests cost
It's £34 to apply for a provisional licence online.
A driving lesson costs around £32.6 per hour, and on average you'll need 36 of them. That's £1173.60 in total.
A theory test will set you back £23, and taking a practical driving test on a weekday costs £62.
In this case, learning to drive costs £1292.60.
|Average spent buying first car||£2,750|
|First year insurance premium||£1,208|
|First year Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax)||£148|
|Provisional driving licence (apply online)||£34|
|Driving lessons to successful test (36 hours x £32.60)||£1,173.60|
|Driving tests (theory and practical - taken on weekdays)||£85|
|Total cost of getting on the road||£5,398.6|
At what age can you learn to drive?
You can apply for your provisional licence when you're 15 years and 9 months old, but you can't start driving a car or take lessons on UK roads until you're 17.
If you're 16 and determined to get going, nothing's stopping you saving up and shopping around for the right first car.
How many hours does it take to pass a driving test?
There isn’t a minimum requirement of hours you need to practise to take and pass your test. It just depends on how fast you pick it up.
According to a survey by Maru/Blue on behalf a Go.Compare, on average it takes around 36 hours to be ready for your practical test.
How much is a first car?
On average, new UK drivers spend £2,750 on their first car, though some new drivers will spend more or less, depending on their budget or how keen a motorist they are.
If you're going to lease your first car, look over what's included in the price, for example who pays for the maintenance, and be mindful of how much of your annual salary it'll take up - you don't want to end up struggling to pay off a car you can't really afford.
Is it cheaper to put a child on their parents car insurance policy?
How much is insurance for your first car?
When buying car insurance, price isn’t the only thing young or new drivers should take into account. It’s also important to check the cover levels to make sure you understand exactly what you’re buying.
Not having insurance that covers your needs could leave you liable for the bill if something went wrong, so weigh up the cost and what’s included in the policy before you buy.
Why is insurance more expensive for new drivers?
Young and inexperienced drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents - if you're a risky prospect to insurers, your car insurance will be more expensive.
Your insurance premium is also affected by the type of car you have and its insurance group.
It’s always worth finding out what insurance group the car belongs to before buying it.
Cars with more power and higher top speeds are considered more dangerous, so they’ll be put in a higher insurance group meaning your car insurance will cost more.
Your insurance may be more expensive or cheaper depending on where you live too. Research by Go.Compare suggests comprehensive car insurance costs 33% more in London than it does in the South West for 17-21 year olds.