The cost of learning to drive: how much will you need to spend?

We’re not going to lie to you – learning to drive is expensive. Whether you pay yourself or a family member chips in, the cost of learning to drive is high.

The RAC totted up the total back in 2020. The breakdown provider reckoned that learning to drive cost, on average, £1551. Remember, that’s the price of lessons, theory and practical tests, apps, and so on. It doesn’t include the cost of buying your first car, or getting it insured. Bundle that lot in as well and the RAC reckons you’re looking at another £4541.25.

These are just estimated figures, remember. Everyone learns at their own pace, so if you don’t take to driving quickly you could pay more.

Let’s look at the costs in more detail.

Learning to drive

Let’s set to one side the cost of your first car, and just concentrate on the cost of learning to drive itself.

Reckon on around 45 hours of instruction. With lessons costing in the region of £25-£30 per hour, that’s between £1125 and £1350.

It can be worth booking lots of lessons in one go. Driving schools like RED offer a discount or a couple of free lessons when you book several at once.

Most of us also need around 20 hours of practice with a friend or family member – most likely a parent. No money changes hands, but there could be an emotional cost if you don’t both stay calm…

Learner insurance

We say there’s no cost to practice sessions in between paid for lessons, but you will need to be insured. Learner insurance covers you to learn in someone else’s car without the need for them to claim on their policy if you have a mishap. Costs vary, but start from less than £1 per day.

Licences and tests

While nothing like as expensive as driving lessons, you’ll also need to budget for your licence application, and the cost of the theory and practical test.

Applying for a provisional licence costs £34 if you apply online. If you want to pretend its 1992 you can apply by post, but it costs more money (£43) and it will take longer for your licence to arrive (up to three weeks rather than one), so there’s not a lot of point.

The theory test costs £23, and the practical test sets you back £62 or £75 (it’s more expensive at weekends, evenings, or on bank holidays).

Adding it all up

As we said at the start, the cost of learning to drive is high. But in the long run, the freedom, independence, and opportunities that a full driving licence brings will make it all worth it.

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