Applying For Your Provisional Driving Licence: Everything You Need To Know…
Before you can get behind the wheel and learn to drive, you’ll need to apply for your provisional driving licence. You’ll also need to take out the right level of car insurance. Our guide explains all you need to know.
What is a provisional driving licence?
Before passing your driving test, you are permitted to drive on all UK roads, excluding motorways, with a provisional driving licence. However, it would help if you were under the supervision of your driving instructor or another adult who is at least 21 years old and has had a full driver’s licence for at least three years.
When you take your theory exam, practical driving test, and first driving lesson, you will require your provisional driving licence.
When can I apply for a provisional driving licence?
Once you turn 15 years and 9 months old, you can apply for your provisional driving licence anytime. However, you will be able to drive once you’re 16 years old (and only valid for a driving car when you turn 17).
Additionally, you must reside in Great Britain or Northern Ireland and be capable of reading a licence plate 20 metres away (with glasses or contact lenses if required).
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How can I apply for a provisional driving licence?
The GOV.UK website is the simplest and quickest place to apply for your provisional licence. You will need to give the following information to pay by debit or credit card:
- A current UK biometric passport or another form of identification,
- Your three-year address history
- your National Insurance number, if you know it.
Unless the DVLA needs to conduct additional checks, your provisional driving licence should come within a week.
Alternatively, you can complete and mail a D1 form from your neighbourhood post office. You must enclose a check or postal order made to the DVLA, a valid form of identification and a passport-sized photo.
Even if postal applications take longer, you may anticipate receiving your licence in three weeks.
Declaring medical conditions on your application
You must disclose any medical issues that can impair your ability to drive as part of your application. These consist of the following:
- Heart conditions
- Sleep apnoea
The DVLA will speak with your doctor if you suffer from one of these medical illnesses before deciding whether to issue you a provisional licence.
You might also be asked to undergo a medical examination to establish your ability to drive safely.
Depending on your condition, the DVLA may issue you a licence, as usual, determine that you need to renew it more frequently than every ten years or decide to provide you with a licence if you consent to specific vehicle modifications.
Remember that disclosing a medical condition may cause your application to take longer to process. For example, according to information from the used automobile sales portal Heycar, over 300,000 persons were still awaiting a decision on a new or renewed medical driving licence as of March 2022.
Heydar discovered that some drivers had to wait six months for a judgement.
When the DVLA temporarily halted processing the applications in December 2021 to free up NHS resources for the Covid-19 booster immunisation programme, delays started to occur. Decisions were additionally postponed by strikes at the DVLA’s Swansea headquarters over Covid safety precautions, according to the agency’s website.
By September 2022, the DVLA anticipates processing times to be back to normal, with most cases being finished in less than 90 days.
How much does a provisional driving licence cost?
Online applications for provisional licences at the address mentioned above cost £34; postal applications cost £43. Watch out for illegitimate websites that charge a fee to submit your application if you’re applying online.
What does a provisional driving licence allow me to do?
From the age of 16, after obtaining your provisional driver’s licence, you can start learning to ride a moped or light quad bike. However, it would help if you waited until 17 years old to learn to drive a car.
When learning to drive, you must always have L plates visible on the front and back of your vehicle, and your instructor must ride in the front passenger seat. As a result, you can transport more passengers.
How long is my provisional driving licence valid for?
The validity of your temporary driver’s licence is ten years. To take your practical driving test, you only have two years from the day you pass your theory test in driving. You must retake the theory test first if you fail to take your practical test within that time frame.
With a provisional licence, do I need car insurance?
You are legally required to obtain at least third-party auto insurance before you can get behind the wheel, even if you are starting to drive.
However, how you’re learning to drive will determine whether you need to buy your auto insurance.
You must get learner driver or provisional driving licence auto insurance if you intend to practise driving with friends or relatives. This is true whether you are learning in your car or with others.
The drawback of learner driver auto insurance is that it is sometimes pricey. Since a novice driver is less experienced and more likely to be in an accident, insurers raise costs to compensate for this risk.
If you are taking lessons in someone else’s vehicle, a friend or member of your family may agree to list you as a named driver on their insurance policy. First, however, they will need to be ready for a rise in premiums.
However, if you’re taking driving lessons from an authorised driving school or instructor, auto insurance will be set up for you. So, once you pass your test, you can leave your cover alone.
What level of cover do I need?
With temporary driving licence auto insurance, you have three options to select from third-party, fire and theft, and completely comprehensive.
The bare minimum legal requirement is third-party coverage. It will only protect you if you hurt or cause damage to someone else’s person, car, or property. After that, you or your vehicle won’t be covered.
In addition to providing the coverage above, third-party fire and theft insurance also cover damage to your car from fire or theft.
Fully comprehensive insurance also covers any post-accident damage to you, your car, and the preceding items.
How can I reduce the cost of provisional driving licence car insurance?
Short-term learner driver plans are available from some insurers. You can purchase coverage for as little as two hours or as long as six months, depending on the insurer.
This policy has the significant benefit of only paying for coverage while learning to drive. This implies that it is less expensive than a standard 12-month policy. However, it’s advisable to get quotations for both to be sure.
Other steps to cut costs include:
Paying a more considerable voluntary excess – is the sum you must contribute to the cost of any claims you file. In other words, whatever claims payout you receive will be reduced by the excess amount. Generally speaking, a more extensive excess results in lower premiums, but be sure it’s still reasonable and that you can still pay repairs or other expenses.
Adding a named driver to your policy – can provide you with a lower price because it gives the insurance company more assurance that the driver is experienced. Always ensure that the main driver, not the named driver, is the one who does most of the driving.
” Your insurance will cost less the safer you drive – With this sort of coverage, a device will be installed in your car to track your driving patterns, including braking, steering, and speed. This is known as telematics or “black insurance.
Reducing add-ons– If you wish to pay more to add other cover options, you will be asked when you purchase coverage. Limiting these as little as possible until you pass your test to reduce expenditures is essential.
What happens when I pass my test?
The next stage is turning your provisional driving licence into a full one if you’ve passed your test and are prepared to retire your L plates*.
Typically, your examiner will arrange for you to send your provisional driving licence to the DVLA, which will be upgraded to a full driving licence.
You can keep driving until you get your new photo card, which should show up in three weeks, as long as your car is duly taxed and insured.
*If you want to make it clear that you’re a novice driver, you can choose to have green “P” (for “Probationary”) licence plates on your automobile for a year.