How much does it cost to learn to drive?

5 minutes

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We’ve all had dreams of hitting the open road, friends in the back, adventure on the horizon.

It’s a vivid picture - the essentials; a belt-it-out playlist, snack food, and good company. But before you can get behind the wheel, you’ll need to learn to drive. It’s not as daunting as it sounds, and with our learner driver checklist you’ll have everything you need to hit the gas. You might want to also check out our guide to learner driver insurance.

How much do driving lessons cost? 

Driving lessons vary in price based on instructor or school, location, the type of lesson, and any block booking discounts. In general, the average cost per lesson in the UK is around £30-35. This doesn’t include additional requirements such as the theory test, which is around £23, the practical test, which is up to £75, or the cost of your provisional licence which could be as much as £43. 

If you want to take part in the Pass Plus scheme, an optional test designed to teach you some additional driving skills, you’ll end up paying more but it could prove beneficial, not least to your confidence.

How long does it take to learn to drive?

Some people are naturals behind the wheel, while others take a little longer. When it comes to learning to drive, we all have our own speed. This can be a concern though, since the longer you take the higher costs could become. 

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) advises that it takes most people 45 hours of lessons, alongside 22 hours of practice. If you’re looking to get on the road sooner, you could look at intensive courses that can have you on the road solo in as little as ten hours, on average. 

How many driving lessons do you need?

If each lesson takes an hour, then you’re looking at over 40 lessons, but you may find your results very different. There’s no minimum number of lessons or hours you need before driving, only a guideline and an average. Picking an instructor that suits you, practising when able, and remaining consistent with lessons are all things that could help improve your chances of passing quickly.

Prices may vary

What’s a provisional licence and how do I get one in the UK?

You can apply for a provisional licence from the age of 15 years 9 months, you will the be able to ride a bike from 16 years and drive a car from 17 years. You have to be supervised by someone 21 or over who’s held a full driving licence for at least three years and you’ll need to be with a driving instructor if you want some experience on the motorway.

A provisional licence allows you to learn in either a manual or an automatic vehicle and you’re required to display ‘L’ plates on your car so other drivers know you’re a learner.

What’s the cost of a provisional licence?

Your provisional licence will cost £34  if you apply online, or £43 if you want to apply by post. There’s no additional cost for your first full licence afterwards unless you want to use a different photo from your provisional. If you need to replace your licence, it will cost £20, and there are charges for altering information on it, or renewing expired licences.

You’ll also need insurance when driving with a provisional licence which will be an extra cost to keep in mind.

Buying your first car 

Lots of people think about purchasing their first car even before they’ve passed their test. There are a few things to consider, though, and the cost of insurance is one of those things. Getting a car like the one you learnt in can boost your confidence as a new driver but you’ll want to check how expensive it is to buy and insure. 

Be honest about your needs. If you’re only using the car to travel a short distance to work or class then something smaller and more fuel efficient might suit you. There are benefits to getting a vehicle early, too, such as being able to practice or take a test in the same vehicle. You’ll also want to consider the price, since this can affect your premiums. Generally, £3,592  is the average price of a first car for young drivers, but there’s no hard and fast rule to follow.

How much is learners’ insurance?

Learners’ insurance is a short-term car insurance policy that covers you to drive your car, or someone else’s, to help you prepare for your test. This means you could practice in a relative’s car, or your own if you have one already. These can be updated once you’re done, or just cover the learning phase. It’s completely up to you. 

Policies will carry different costs, though, and each insurer will charge different premiums. Before looking at quotes, knowing how long you’ll be driving for, which car you’ll be driving, and what kind of insurance you want is key. Generally, being insured on a shared car, such as your parents’, will be cheaper than your own annual insurance policy. But remember, you won’t start building up those important No Claims Discount years until you have a policy of your own.

Getting insurance for the first time

Congratulations! You’ve passed, weekend road trips are in arm’s reach, but there’s one thing left to do — get insured properly. It’s a tricky time, navigating all the quotes and considering exactly what you need. Thankfully, it’s not as difficult as it might seem. You can go directly to an insurer that suits you and get a quote. Then you just need to decide how you want to pay – monthly or annually. 

Car insurance for new drivers can be expensive so it pays to shop around. However, the cheapest may not always be the best option. Look at a range of quotes and decide which type of cover suits you best. 

If it's flexible, year-round cover you need, take control with Flow Annual car insurance and customise your policy at the touch of a button, 24/7. If you’re looking for rolling monthly cover without interest charges, admin or cancellation fees, see what Flow Monthly car insurance can offer you.