Learning to drive is expensive – here’s how you can try to keep costs down
In 2008 the Driving Standards Agency (now the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency) found that the average learner needs 47 hours of driving lessons before they pass.
You could save money by practising with a family member or friend instead of an instructor to cut the number of lessons you’ll need, but it could still add up, and then there’s insurance to pay for.
So here are some things to consider when you’re thinking about how to keep the costs down.
Do I need insurance when learning to drive?
It depends. If all you’re doing is taking lessons with a qualified driving instructor in a car they provide, you don’t need your own insurance (their insurance will cover you and should be included in the cost of the lessons), but if you want to practice in your spare time, you do.
Bear in mind the research by the Driving Standards Agency found the average learner needs 22 hours of private practice on top of the 47 hours of driving lessons to pass.
Until you pass your test, you can’t go out on the roads by yourself. You’ll need someone with you who’s at least 21 and had their licence for three years or more.
If you go out without the right supervision you could be fined up to £1,000 and get three to six penalty points on your licence. If you’re a newly qualified driver with six penalty points, your insurance will be extremely expensive.
Can you include me on someone else’s policy – like a parent’s or partner’s?
Yes. It can be more expensive to add a learner than a more experienced driver. But with us, named drivers can start building up their own No Claim Discount entitlement from the age of 19, to use on a Co-op policy.
That means you’ll be able to get a cheaper premium with us once you’re ready to insure your own car.
If someone you know wants to have a chat about adding you to their motor policy with us, they can call 03457 46 46 46^. We’re open between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm on Saturday, and 9am to 4pm on a Sunday.
Make sure they know that they could lose their No Claim Discount if you have to make a claim, unless it’s protected.
Can I take out my own policy?
Yes. If you have your own car and you want to practice in it you’ll need to take out your own policy. Call us on 03457 46 46 46^ or get a quote online.
Your premium might well go up once you’ve passed your test, because you’ll be driving on your own for the first time.
When can I start driving?
You can only start driving once you’ve got your provisional licence (not when you’ve just applied for it). You can apply for your licence up to three months before your 17th birthday but it won’t be valid until you’re 17.
How can I keep the cost of my insurance down?
If you’re buying a car, or someone else is buying one for you, choose one in a low insurance group.
If you have either a garage or drive, store your car here overnight, and don’t drive as many miles, only drive when necessary.
Once you’ve passed think about taking the Pass Plus course, which can give new drivers experience of things like motorway driving and driving in different weather conditions. It’s a good way to make sure you drive safely. If you have a Pass Plus certificate or get one within three months of your policy starting, you might be eligible for a discount. Call 03457 46 46 46^.
You can also keep the cost down by having a Smartbox that monitors how safe you are on the road. It means we can give discounts to safer drivers.
How else can I save money?
Block book lessons
Lots of driving schools and teachers give discounts or throw in an extra lesson free. You might be able to negotiate a good deal. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Take longer lessons
Several driving schools recommend booking two-hour lessons. This could cut the number of lessons you need.
Practice as much as you can
If you’ve paid for insurance, you’ll want to get the most out of it. Go out on the road with a suitably qualified driver as often as possible and in different road conditions, so you build up experience and get more confident.
Borrow books or try charity shops for them
If you need books on passing your theory test or the Highway Code, friends who’ve already passed could lend or give them to you.