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How much does it cost to get started as a new driver?

Hannah Norton

Jan 21, 2021

Learning to drive is a pivotal life moment for many and one of the first real steps into adulthood, but it can be an expensive endeavour to get on the road for the first time.

As experts in car insurance, we understand the importance of ensuring you have a policy before you take to the roads. It is particularly beneficial for new drivers, as their lack of experience means they are at higher risk of being involved in an accident. Insurers determine the cost of a policy based on the level of risk associated with insuring you and your vehicle, so it’s possible you will be paying more as a new driver. As with any type of insurance, you should check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before purchasing a policy, so that you understand what will be covered and what exclusions you can expect.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In Australia, for example, there are a few additional costs to consider:

  • Driving lessons. These can cost as much as AU$100 per hour.
  • Learner license fees. Depending on what state you are in, it can cost as much as AU$185.
  • P-plates. Again, based on where you live, you may need to purchase P-plates to be displayed on your vehicle while driving. These usually cost a few dollars.
  • Driving test fees. This includes both a practical and theoretical element, which average around AU$110.

Which got us thinking – how does Australia compare to other nations when it comes to the cost of taking your driver’s test? To find out, we’ve taken a look at the costs of taking both your practical and theory tests around the world to see how the fees stack up. All prices are shown in US dollars, as well as the local currency. As it turns out, Australia lands right in the middle!

Global L-Plates Index Most costly places

Norway – $202 USD (1,800 NOK)

Practical Test – $128 USD (1,140 NOK)
Theory Test – $74 USD (660 NOK)
Norway often features as one of the more expensive countries in the world,1 with the same being true when it comes to driving tests, with the local theory test costing the equivalent of $74 and $128 for the practical road test, for a total of $202.

Learning to drive in Norway can be a long and arduous process and other costs quickly stack up on top of those mentioned here. Even after all of that, drivers are only issued with a trial licence for the first two years!

Netherlands – $174 USD (€147)

Practical Test – $133 USD (€112.75)
Theory Test – $41 USD (€34.50)
The next most expensive country in which to learn to drive was the Netherlands, which is also the country with the most expensive practical test ($133), which is balanced out by the slightly cheaper theory test, which will still set you back $41.

Many in the Netherlands choose to ride a bicycle rather than drive, with a quarter of daily activity reportedly being attributed to cycling,2 but this actually plays quite a big part in the test too. Failing to yield to a cyclist leads to an instant fail!

Switzerland – $165 USD (CHF 150)

Practical Test – $132 USD (CHF 120)
Theory Test – $33 USD (CHF 30)
The combined cost of taking your practical and theory tests in Switzerland comes to $165, ($132 for the practical and $33 for the theory).

However, Swiss drivers also undertake ten hours of first aid instruction, as well as eight hours of road awareness theory courses before they can take their practical test.

Global L-Plates Index Table

Information up to date as of 20/11/2020


We looked solely at the costs of a practical and theory driving test in each country, from a variety of sources, not taking into account other costs that might apply across the different countries.

In Australia and Canada, driving licences are issued at a state level, so we’ve taken an average of the costs across each state/territory.

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