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How much does it cost to learn to drive?

WHEN you’re learning to drive, it can be difficult to keep a track of all the costs involved. 

To help you budget for learning to drive, the RAC researched the rates and tallied up the total to give a rough guide to learner driver expenses.

When you’re learning to drive, it can be difficult to keep a track of all the costs involved


When you’re learning to drive, it can be difficult to keep a track of all the costs involvedCredit: Alamy

How much does it cost to learn to drive?

An estimate for the cost of getting your full driving licence is £1551.

After taking the average cost of a first car in Britain, the average insurance premium for 2019 and assuming that the car is petrol or diesel, we have a figure for getting your first car ready for the road: £4541.25

Combining the two, we estimate that learning to drive a car and taking to the road costs a total of £6085.25. Let’s see where all that money is being spent.

Provisional licence

Your first step to getting on the road is applying for a provisional licence. 

It costs £34 to apply online or £43 if you apply by post. For the purpose of saving money, we’ll use the online cost for our running total.


The average person needs around 45 hours of driving lessons and a further 22 hours of practice before they are ready for a practical test1.

The cost of lessons varies depending on where you live, but you can expect to pay roughly £25-£30 per hour.

You could make a saving here through introductory or package rates.

A good instructor will also let you know if you’re ready for your practical test before you’ve had 45 hours of lessons. So that’s good news if you have a family member or friend that can take you out for additional practice.

If we take the top end of the estimate at £30 an hour over 45 lessons, that’s £1,350 added to our costs.

Theory test

Before you take your practical test, you’ll need to pass your theory test. 

You can take this as soon as you have a driving licence number from your provisional licence, however, some experience driving on the roads could come in handy.

It will cost you £23 to book your theory test.


You may want to give yourself a better chance of passing your theory test by using The Official DVSA Theory Test Kit app. 

It costs £4.99.

Practical test

Your practical driving test is the last step before getting your full driving licence. The DVSA charge £62 for tests on weekdays, and £75 if you want to take your test at the weekend3

In the spirit of being well prepared and avoiding nasty surprises, we’ll add the weekend figure of £75 to our costs.

If you plan on using your instructor’s car, you’ll need to factor in the cost of their time for the test. With examinations lasting 40 minutes, plus added time for the ‘show me’, ‘tell me’ and eye test section, you’ll need to book their car for an hour. That’s an extra £30.

Learner driver money saving tips

A black box insurance policy works by monitoring your driving via a small black box that’s installed in your car.

It builds a picture of the way you drive, allowing the insurer to treat you as an individual and reward safe driving with a lower premium.

If you are a young driver, black box insurance can be particularly helpful.

By adding family members as named drivers on a shared car can balance the risk and reduce your premium by a few pounds.

Some providers will allow you to transfer your partner’s no claims bonus, and therefore their discount, to your new policy.

Don’t overestimate your annual mileage when buying insurance. If you generally tell your insurance company you cover 10,000 miles a year but you in reality drive far less than this, you could be paying for a higher-risk premium than is actually needed.

Give the company a realistic figure – but don’t underestimate, or you could be left without cover.

Read our full guide about reducing your car insurance costs as a young driver. You can find lots of general money saving tips for drivers here as well. 

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