Research from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) reveals that more than 60% of parents have helped learner drivers with extra private practice. So, if your child is almost at the age where they can get behind the wheel, here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know, including the rules around learner drivers’ car insurance.   

When can you learn to drive?

Your child can start learning to drive when they turn 17. They’ll also need a provisional licence which they can apply for when they’re 15 years and 9 months old. 

The cheapest way to apply for a provisional licence is online at GOV.UK, where it currently costs £34. If your child applies by post, it’s slightly more expensive (£43). 

When they apply, they’ll need some ID (for instance, their passport) and addresses from the last three years. In some cases, they may also be asked for their National Insurance number. 

Driving lessons and practising

Only approved driving instructors (ADIs) or trainee instructors can be paid for driving lessons. It means that if you decide to teach your child, you won’t be able to accept any money to do so – not even for fuel costs. You can search for ADIs and driving schools at GOV.UK.

If your child wants to practise driving outside of their lessons, they can be supervised by anyone who:

  • Is at least 21 years old.
  • Is qualified to drive the car they’re supervising (for instance, if it’s a manual car, they must be entitled to drive one).
  • Has held a driving licence for at least three years, the licence must be from the UK, the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein. 
  • Is not currently banned from driving.

What does the driving test cover?

Before learner drivers can take their practical driving test, they’ll need to pass the theory test. 

The theory test is made up of 50 multiple-choice questions and a hazard perception test; learners will need to pass both parts to pass overall. Currently, it costs £23 whether they take the test during the week, at the weekend or on a bank holiday.

When they’ve passed the theory test, they can go on to take the practical driving test which typically lasts for around 40 minutes and is made up of five parts:

  • An eyesight check.
  • Car safety questions (commonly called ‘show me, tell me’ questions, where the examiner will ask specific questions about the vehicle). 
  • General driving following instructions from the examiner.
  • Reversing the car.
  • Independent driving following a sat-nav or road signs.

The practical test costs £62 for a weekday slot or £75 if they want to take it at the weekend or on a bank holiday.

What insurance do learner drivers need?

Anyone learning to drive will need learner driver car insurance. If they’re having lessons with a driving school, this will usually be included in the lesson price (although it’s important to double-check, just in case). 

If learners are using their own car, they can arrange their own policy. Most mainstream insurers offer learner driver cover (also called provisional insurance) so it shouldn’t be too tricky to find suitable cover. 

If your child is practising in the family car, they can be added to your own policy as a named driver. If you decide to do this, remember to let the insurer know they’re learning to drive. Bear in mind that if they have an accident and make a claim on your policy, it will affect your no-claims bonus (unless it’s protected). It could also increase your premium at renewal. 

Alternatively, your child can also take out their own learner driver policy for your car. This is usually the more expensive option but it does mean that if they make a claim, it will affect your no-claims. 

Learner drivers without suitable insurance can be given an unlimited fine, be given up to eight penalty points and in the worst-case scenario, can be banned from driving. 

What happens after passing?

When your child passes their driving test, the examiner will give them a pass certificate. The examiner will also ask for their provisional driving licence and arrange for a full licence to be sent to them directly.

Your child will be able to drive while they wait for their new licence to arrive (just tell them to keep their pass certificate with them). 

You’ll also need to remind your child to update their car insurance. After they’ve passed their test, learner driver cover is no longer suitable (which also means they can’t drive back home unless they amend their policy immediately). 

To help your child find value for money car insurance, you can compare policies on sites like, where you can search for quotes from a number of leading UK insurers. To start, simply enter a few details and then start comparing