Cost of getting a young driver on the road rises to £6,959: Traffic

04 April 2019, 10:11

Cost of getting a young driver on the road rises to £6,959

Cost of insurance falls for 17-year olds, but overall total rises as more spent on first car

New research* from GoCompare Car Insurance has revealed that the cost of getting a young driver on the road has climbed to £6,959. The new combined cost of a new young motorist learning to drive, buying, taxing and then insuring their first car has increased by over 20% from £5,731 in 2009.

However, although young drivers are spending more on buying their first car, the average cost of car insurance has fallen to a new average low of £1,964 in the first year.

GoCompare also warns new drivers not to pay over the odds for their provisional driving license by using an unnecessary, fee-based checking service which can triple the cost of applying.

The cost of getting on the road

Average spent buying first car £4,276
First year Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) £120
First year insurance premium £1,964
Provisional driving license (apply online) £34
Driving lessons to successful test (20 lessons) £480
Driving tests (theory and practical - taken on a weekdays) £85
Total cost of getting on the road in 2018 £6,959

Young drivers, some with help from their parents, are spending on average £4,276 on their first car, a 72% increase on the cost of a first car since 2009. 28% of parents have contributed or intend to contribute towards buying their child’s first car.

• 25% of parents help with the cost of car insurance for their children
• 48% of parents think that young driver insurance premiums are a ‘rip-off’

The average cheapest car insurance premium for a 17-year-old driver has fallen by around 24% since 2009 reducing from £2,455 then to £1,964 in 2018. However, the cost of car insurance for a 17-year-old driver still constitutes over a quarter (27%) of the total ‘new driver’ bill. 24% of parents said the cost of car insurance for their child was far greater than expected and 39% said the cost of car insurance is a major concern. 11% said their child has delayed getting a first car specifically because of the cost of insurance.

The survey of 1000 parents revealed that most give their children a significant amount of financial help to get them on the road. 54% said that they have contributed to the cost of driving lessons, over a quarter (28%) have paid or intend to pay towards the cost of a first car for their child and a quarter (25%) have helped or intend to help with insurance costs.

However, 12% said they haven’t given or won’t be giving their child any financial help to get them on the road.

On average, learning to drive will set a young driver back £623 when the costs of obtaining a provisional driving license (£34), lessons and test fees are combined.

However, GoCompare researchers found several online services appearing in google searches charging new drivers up to £74 on top of the £34 fee to ‘check and manage’ their application for a provisional license.

The services usually have official sounding names – for example dvlalicenceapply, dvladocumentservice and ukdrivinglicenceservices – and charge from £75 to £108 including the £34 for the licence itself. With the application process via the website being very straightforward, GoCompare believe these to be opportunistic and an unnecessary extra cost.

The UK’s theory test costs £23 and the driving test costs £62 on weekdays or £75 in the evenings or at weekends, where available. GoCompare’s research revealed that young new drivers typically take 20 driving lessons before passing their test, so with driving lessons costing on average £24 per hour**, the average bill for lessons alone is £480. Purchasing lesson packages in blocks of 10, 20 or even 30 hours can bring the price down.

Matt Oliver, spokesperson for GoCompare Car Insurance, said: “The cost of getting a young driver on the road has increased again but this is down to the new motorists splashing out more on their first car. The cost of the insurance has actually fallen substantially in the last few years whilst the price of tests and lessons has been static. New drivers should also be wary of the fee-charging application services which appear to have sprung up online. Much like the sites which charge people when applying for free EHICs, these services add little to no value and can triple the cost of obtaining a provisional license.

“Car insurance for younger drivers is still pricey compared to those who’ve got a few thousand safe miles under their belts. Unfortunately, statistics show that newly qualified drivers are more likely to have accidents, and when they do, they tend to be more serious and the claims are bigger, hence the higher premiums. However, there are steps young drivers can take to try to keep their premiums as low as possible and some insurers will offer more competitive premiums than others when quoting for young drivers, so they should always compare quotes from a number of different insurers to ensure they get the right cover for them at the best price.

“Choosing the right car, preferably with a smaller engine to start with, and selecting a telematics or ‘black box’ type of insurance policy can also help to keep costs down when starting out.

GoCompare experts have produced some money saving tips to help younger drivers pay less for their car insurance.

Choose a sensible car - Young drivers’ insurance premiums will be lower if they drive a standard car with a small engine (under 1000cc) in a low insurance group. It makes sense to drive something smaller and slower until they’ve built up some no claims bonus and have shown a safe driving record. Also, avoid cars with modifications, as they can push the price of insurance up.

Consider opting for a higher excess – This may lower the premium but you will need to decide if paying a slightly lower premium is worth the risk of having to contribute more towards the cost of a claim if you have an accident.

Select a ‘telematics’ policy – Some policies require your car to be fitted with a ‘black box’ transmitter and others do a similar job with a smart phone app. In both cases the idea is that your driving is monitored by the insurer and your premiums can come down faster than with a traditional policy if you prove to be a safe driver.

Added extras – consider whether you really need added extras such as a courtesy car, legal assistance, breakdown cover and key cover. Some policies include these types of cover as standard or as add-ons but they’re not free – the cost will be built into the premium so you may be able to save money by removing them or choosing a different policy without all the whistles and bells.

Adding a safe driver – Adding another named driver with a clean licence and several years claim free driving to a young driver’s policy could reduce their premium. This is one way a parent can help their child to get lower premiums without breaking the law.

Drive safely – By being on the road you will avoid accidents, fines and penalty points, all of which will affect your insurance premium. has produced a tool here:


For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson or Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 655 132

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter: @GoCompare


Notes to editors:

*Between the 18th and 24th October 2018 One Poll conducted an online survey among 1000 randomly selected British adults with children aged between 17 and 25 who can drive.
1 – Vehicle excise duty based on a Vauxhall Corsa 1.2i registered before 31 March 2017 paid in one payment - £120.00 per year
2 – Average lowest premium returned for a 17-year-old driver comparing comprehensive car insurance using GoCompare between September 2018 and 28 February 2019
3 - Provisional licence - apply online £34, apply by post £43. Driving test fees - theory test £23, practical test £62 (weekdays) or £75 (evenings, weekends and bank holidays) – source website
4 - Average cost of a 1 hour driving lesson is £24 - Source AA. One Poll research found new drivers had an average of 20 driving lessons before passing their tests.

About GoCompare

GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.
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When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.
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Contact Information

Louisa Marsden

Senior PR Executive


01633 655 132