When did I pass my driving test?

Can’t remember the date you lost your L plates? You may need to know to get an insurance quote.

Kim Jones
Kim Jones
Updated 26 June 2023  | 3 mins read
Reviewed by Jasmine Hembury

Information on this page was reviewed by our fact-checkers before it was published. Learn more about our fact checking process and our editorial guidelines.

How do I find the date I passed my driving test?

We all remember the thrill of throwing away our L plates. But unless you only passed your test a short while ago, chances are you won’t remember the exact date you tore them up and took to the roads on your own.

It’s easy to find out, though. Look at the back of your photocard driving licence. In column 10, next to the car symbol, you’ll see the date the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) issued your driving licence. This will be about the same time you passed your driving test.

Dates in column 10 next to vehicle symbols in column nine show which vehicles you’re qualified to drive. If there are lines instead of dates in the column, you aren’t qualified to drive that category of vehicle.

Column 11 tells you the date when your driving licence expires. It’s when you reach 70. If you want to continue to drive after age 70, you need to renew your licence and do so every three years after that. It’s free to do.

You still need to renew your photocard licence every 10 years though and provide an up-to-date photograph. It costs £14 to do it online. The date your current photocard licence expires is shown on the front next to column 4b.

Key points

  • Insurers want to know how long you’ve been driving to give you an insurance quote
  • More experienced drivers usually get lower premiums
  • The date you passed your test is shown on the back of your photocard driving licence

The date I passed my test looks wrong on my photocard licence - what should I do?

If you passed your test before 1974, the date you see on your licence won’t be the actual date you passed your test. Instead, it’ll show a date with a “<” sign before it, which means you passed your test at some time before that date.

Up until 1 March 1973, red book-style driving licences were issued by local authorities and had to be renewed every three years.

But from this date, the DVLA began issuing new green paper licences, and everything was computerised.

As old book-style licences came up for renewal over the following few years, local authorities sent their records to the DVLA. But because the date you passed your test wasn’t on these documents, the DVLA instead inputted the date the record was transferred to their system. And this date was used as your ‘pass date’ on replacement licences from then on.

When would I need to know how long I’ve held my driving licence?

To give you a car insurance quote, a provider will want to know when you passed your test to see how experienced a driver you are.

Insurers typically regard younger, newer drivers as a bigger risk because statistics show they’re more likely to have accidents and to make insurance claims. So the price a provider quotes usually reflects this.

You may also need to let car hire companies know how long you’ve been driving when you’re hiring a car.

Will how long I’ve been driving affect the cost of my car insurance?

Yes, it can have an impact on the premium you’re quoted.

Our data shows that the average cost of car insurance decreases with age.

So, for example, the average purchase price of an annual comprehensive car insurance policy bought through Go.Compare last year for a young driver of 21 years old was £934. That dropped to £464 for more experienced 40-year-old drivers and to £383 for drivers aged 50.[1]

If you’re a safe, experienced driver you’re also more likely to have built up a no-claims discount. Generally, the more years you go without making a claim, the cheaper your premium.

Our data on drivers over 50 who quoted through Go.Compare last year showed the lowest premium price for those with a no-claim discount of one year was £458, for those with six years no-claims discount it was £391, and for drivers who amassed more than 10 years no-claim discount, £322.[2]

There are plenty of other factors that affect the cost of your insurance though.

Providers will also consider things like the car you drive, where you live, your job and your annual mileage when they calculate premiums.

How do I check my other driving licence information?

The gov.uk site allows you to view your driving licence information online. It shows you things like what vehicles you’re allowed to drive and if you have penalty points. It can also generate a code which allows you to share your driving record with someone like an employer or car hire company.

You’ll need to input your driving licence number, National Insurance number and the postcode on your driving licence to access the information.

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[1]*Average purchase price for annual comprehensive car insurance policies bought through Go.Compare between Jan to Nov 2022.

[2]Best premium price for customers over 50 that quoted through GoCompare between January and November 2022.