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Can you buy a car with a provisional licence?

Last updated: 14/03/2024 | Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Buying your first car can be a huge moment. It offers independence, flexibility, and freedom from unreliable public transport timetables.

Traditionally, people tend to purchase a vehicle after they’ve passed their test, as driving is somewhat limited as a learner. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t an option.

There are certain situations where it actually makes sense to buy a car before you pass your test, and in this guide, we’ll be exploring what they are and what you need to do to make it happen.

In This Guide:

Can I buy a car with a provisional license as a learner driver?

Yes, you can buy a car with a provisional license. It might come as a surprise, but you technically don’t need any kind of driving license to go through with a car purchase and there are no legal age limits for owning a car. You do need to be at least 18 to apply for car finance though.

However, you may run into problems if you want to start driving your car around. While you will legally own your car, you won’t be able to drive it home by yourself, so it’s best to bring a qualified driver with you when you’re making your purchase.

Should I buy a car before I’ve passed my test?

So, we’ve established that you can buy a car whenever you want, but does that mean you should? To keep things simple, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to give an idea of whether it’s a smart move for you:


  • Practise in it: If you have your own car, then you are able to do your lessons in it. While we would always recommend using an instructor's car for the first few, once you're more comfortable it’s perfectly OK to use your vehicle. The vehicle will need to be DVLA certified, and you will need to be with a full driving licence holder who meets the necessary criteria. Assuming these aren’t an issue, using your own car gives you more freedom, and means you won’t need to rely on borrowing vehicles from your friends and family. Unless your mum is going to charge you for the privilege of teaching you to drive, you can also save some money.

  • Familiarity: If you’re able to take lessons in your car, then you’ll grow more comfortable with it over time. This will mean that if you decide to take your driving test in your own car (which, like taking lessons, is acceptable as long as it meets DVLA regulations), you will likely know it back to front, giving you that extra confidence you need.

  • More time to shop around: When you pass your test, the first thing you're going to want to do is buy a car. What you may not be so inclined to do is spend time trying to find the best deal. Buying one while you're learning gives you a little bit more breathing space, reducing the chances of a snap decision on the day you can legally drive.


  • A risky investment: We know you don’t want to hear this, but there’s always a chance you might not pass your test. If it doesn’t work out and you're not able to retake it for a while, your beloved car will just be sitting there gathering dust. If it gets to the point when you need to sell it, you will almost certainly lose money on it, adding insult to injury.

  • Less safe: Using an instructor and their car is going to be the best way to learn to drive. Features like learner plates and secondary pedals make them far safer than using your own vehicle. If you have your own car, you will almost certainly take it for a spin (under supervision of course) and risk getting into a crash, damaging your car before you’ve even passed your test.

Which car should I buy as a learner driver?

There are a few things that almost all learners will look for in a car.

The first of these will be price. While some learner drivers will be well into adulthood, most will be in their late teens and early twenties. Therefore, cheaper options will be ideal.

As well as the actual cost of the car, a cheaper vehicle will cost less to insure, with premiums for young drivers notoriously high. It’s also a good idea to get something a bit cheaper when you’re at your highest risk of damaging it due to inexperience.

If you want to see what cars have the cheapest insurance rates for young drivers, check out our helpful guide.

Easy-to-drive vehicles with helpful features such as active parking assist and cruise control are also smart things to look for as a learner. It will give you that little bit of help you need when you're still getting comfortable on the road. Car insurance providers will also be willing to offer cheaper premiums on vehicles that they see as being sensible, safe purchases.

Good options for learner drivers include:

  1. Ford Fiesta
  2. Volkswagen Golf
  3. Mini
  4. Vauxhall Astra
  5. Ford KA

Can I get insured with a provisional licence?

Yes, you can get insurance with a provisional licence, and you will need to if you want to learn in a car that you’ve bought yourself. This doesn’t apply to those taking lessons with an instructor, however, as you will be covered by their policy. 

Applying for learner driver insurance is in many ways similar to taking out a normal policy. However, there will of course be some big differences.

One of the main differences will be the rules around your supervisor. As you have not passed your test, an insurer will want to take extra care to minimise damage to the vehicle and a potential claim. Therefore, a lot of policies will come with a clause that the supervisor is 25 or over, despite the legal requirement being only 21.

It’s important to note that some policies are suitable for your own vehicle, while others only for one you are borrowing. So, make sure you’re checking what’s included before putting pen to paper.


Can I get a car on finance with a provisional licence?

Yes, it's possible to get a car on finance with a provisional licence, but it largely depends on the policies of the financing company. Some may require you to have a full driving licence, while others may be more lenient. It's advisable to check with different finance providers to see what options are available to you.

Can I be the registered keeper of the vehicle on a provisional licence?

Yes, you can be the registered keeper of a vehicle even if you only hold a provisional licence. Being the registered keeper means you're responsible for taxing the vehicle and ensuring it has a valid MOT certificate if required. However, you must remember that as a provisional licence holder, you're not allowed to drive without being accompanied by a fully licensed driver.

Can I buy a car before I pass my driving test?

Absolutely, there's no legal restriction preventing you from buying a car before you pass your driving test. Many people choose to purchase a car in advance to practice driving with a friend or family member, or simply to secure a good deal. Just remember that as a provisional licence holder, you can't drive the car on public roads unless accompanied by a fully licensed driver.

Can I insure a car with just a provisional licence?

Yes, it is possible to get insurance for a car as a provisional licence holder. However, insurance premiums may be higher for provisional licence holders compared to fully licensed drivers. It's important to shop around and compare quotes from different insurance providers to find the best deal.

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