Learners Spending More Than Ever

Learner drivers have forked out more than ever due to the ongoing driving test backlog.

Girl looking shocked at empty wallet
The pandemic has had a lasting impact on young people across the UK, including those looking to earn their full driving licence. This is now compounded with the rising cost of living, so we’ve been investigating the impact it’s having on learner drivers and have 3 handy tips to help keep the cost of learning to drive down.

How can learners keep costs down?

We’ve not got a magic wand, but these tips may help you to manage your budget whilst preparing for the driving test!

Practice between lessons
With spiraling costs and long wait times, no doubt learners are feeling more pressure to pass than ever. We’ve all heard the phrase “practice makes perfect”, so getting as much time behind the wheel as possible to hone your skills and increase confidence could prove vital to your success. Learner Driver Insurance helps you get extra driving practice in a parent’s or friend’s car help you prepare for your test, and you’re not limited to the number of hours you can drive (provided you have a willing companion to supervise you!).

Pay for lessons in bulk
Many driving schools and instructors offer deals or discounts for booking lessons in bulk, so it’s worth securing lesson prices as early as possible to save you money down the line.

Only take your driving test when you are ready
Learners could face a long time to get a re-test if they fail. Which inevitably will lead to forking out more for lessons. So, it’s important that you and your instructor feel you are ready for the big day. This may mean getting extra lessons and practice in, or it may be wise to postpone to avoid wasting money having to fork out for another test (and the other associated costs like the instructor's car if you use theirs).

£1 million lost in expired theory tests

Learning to drive isn’t all about reverse parking and hill starts – all learners need a valid Theory Test Certificate to book a driving test. The extensive backlog of driving tests meant that thousands of learner drivers saw their theory test expire before they had a chance to taking their practical driving test.

Our research in 2021 revealed learners had lost more than £1 million in expired theory tests as the backlog continues to clear. It’s not just the financial burden to learners retaking the theory test, it is also the emotional strain of having to retake a test. From our survey we found one in 20 learner drivers’ theory tests are likely to expire before their practical test date.

Mounting driving lesson costs

Learning to drive isn’t a minor expense and the ongoing driving test backlog has only increased the financial burden on youngsters. Not only have driving instructors increased their prices by an average of £2.68 an hour since the start of 2020 but many learner drivers are also having to book more lessons as they wait in line to pass their test. Rising fuel costs are likely to see costs spiral further, as Driving Instructors will need to pass some of these on.

Long driving test wait times

Over a third of learners (35%) are still waiting five months or more to take a driving test, which can be particularly hard on those who fail and need to rebook. On average the 1000+ learners we surveyed in 2021 said they’ll need an extra eight lessons. Our previous research revealed the average cost of an hour's lesson is currently £31.15 meaning learners will have to pay an additional £249.20 to pass their test!

Almost a third (32%) of learners say they will have to take between 10 - costing an extra £311.50 and 19 - costing an extra £591.85 - additional lessons while they wait, with nearly one in 10 (8%) expecting to need 20 or more lessons - which could cost an extra £623+.

Learners are being exploited

In trying to secure an earlier driving test date, many learner drivers are incurring additional costs. Nearly half (47%) of learners are resorting to using a test booking app for a nominal fee. Whilst others have resorted to buying from unscrupulous sellers that are offering tests at vastly inflated prices.

The DVSA are working to clamp down to prevent exploitation of learners. DVSA chief executive Loveday Ryder said in a statement to the BBC: "We've already put in place measures to monitor and prevent bots from accessing our systems while also strengthening our firewall to tackle the issue.

"We've closed the system to new registrations and will rapidly close down accounts that do not belong to driving instructors and driving schools. We'll also be taking further steps to make sure all future accounts are linked to driving instructors and those with training businesses."

Save money with Learner Driver Insurance

Marmalade’s learner insurance could save you over £40 per month on average versus being added as a named driver on the car owner’s insurance!

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