The Costs of Driving

author image - crispin

By Crispin Bateman

on Wednesday 15 May 2019

Cars and lorries on motorway

When you are thinking of getting a car for the first time, one of the things you will want to be on top of is the cost of it. With all the numbers floating around, some of which are paid in one hit, others annually and more monthly, it’s easy to lose track of the real cost of car ownership.

Join us here at Non Fault Claims as we break down the true cost of driving for new drivers.

Owning a car

Owning a car is expensive. Even if you do the best you can to lower the costs, it’s rare to keep a car on the road in the UK for under £300 a month (and that’s a really good low-end cost). From buying a car to insurance, it all adds up.

To understand these figures better, we’ve looked at the idea of owning a car for three years and broken all the expenses down to a monthly value.

Buying a car

Don’t kid yourself by thinking that once the car is paid for, it doesn’t count towards the costs – take the cost of your car purchase and divide it by 36 to find out how much it is costing per month. Most cars will last you three years so this is a good baseline. If you buy a used car outright for £3,600, then it’s costing you £100 per month. If you took out a loan to do it, add interest. There are plenty of ways to buy a car - personal contract hire leasing, hire purchase and outright purchase are all decent options.

Factor the cost of your car into your monthly plan in this simple way - by doing so you don’t lie to yourself about how much it is costing.

Of course, if you are leasing a car, you will have an exact monthly figure for this bit (which will include other factors) but don’t forget to include the cost of the larger first payment. A 6 + 35 lease is not 36 monthly payments, it’s effectively 41. Get a true monthly payment in that instance by multiplying the monthly total by 41 and dividing by 36.

Repairs and servicing

If your car is new or leased, then it’s under warranty and you don’t have to worry about repairs. If you cut costs on buying the car and got something for £1,000 or less, then you are going to find yourself needing to budget significantly for unexpected repair bills.

There’s no easy way of getting around it – if you spent £3,600 on a car (£100 per month) then you’ll probably get away with less than £300 per year in repair costs, servicing and MOT. But if you spent £1,000 on the car (£28 per month), you might find yourself needing as much as £70 per month for repairs!

Either way, it’s coming to at least £100 per month put together – and a run of bad luck can easily double that.


You should replace your tyres once a year, or thereabouts, and it’s also wise to have a set of winter tyres available to lower the chance of an accident through the months of snow and rain. Depending on your car, tyres can cost anything from £50 each through to £300 or more, though as a new driver with a sensible small car, it’s more likely to be at the lower end. A full set is £200 per year at the bottom end, and another £200 per year for winter tyres – approximately £35 per month.


If you are a new driver, you are going to be hit hard with insurance. It’s a legal requirement so you can’t avoid it, but as a new driver, it could be costly.

Insurance costs are based on risk, and new drivers with no proof of their skill and experience are more risky than established ones. Getting telematics insurance (often called Black Box Insurance) is a fantastic way to mitigate this – through the use of a black box, the insurance company systems can analyse your driving and reward you for good behaviour and skills.

In terms of cost, car insurance for a new driver is going to set you back another £100 per month or more, where established drivers will be closer to £50 a month.


The price of petrol and diesel is always on the rise, making alternatives like an electric car look ever more tempting. In fact, if you do more than 1,000 miles a month, the savings on fuel if you do get an electric car are almost enough to mitigate the difference in cost for the vehicle.

Less than 1,000 miles a month, however, and the premium for an electric car is still a little high. Good for the environment, and a wonderful experience to drive for sure, but many are not quite financially viable overall.

The average person drives approximately 800 miles a month. Depending on your car (remember, cheap old cars guzzle more fuel), that could mean between £100 and £300 on fuel alone.

Breakdown cover

You really want this, especially if your car is older than a few years.

Breakdown cover is insurance for when something goes wrong on your car that has nothing to do with a car accident. If the battery dies, a tyre pops, the engine overheats etc. Often you will find yourself pulling into the side of the road with no idea how to actually fix the problem and feeling stranded.

Your breakdown cover will have an engineer over to you, usually within the hour, and he’ll either fix the problem for you roadside or take you somewhere to get it done (or home, if that’s your best option).

If you avoid the optional extras, breakdown cover can be cheap – the basic type is often included with your insurance policy, but it must be sorted in advance. Emergency breakdown cover that you can get at no notice by phoning one of the breakdown services while at the side of the road will cost you considerably more!

If you want some of the additional extras from the breakdown service, then your cover will cost more – a full range of cover from the AA or RAC comes in at almost £25 per month, while basic cover is a mere £2 or so per month.

Vehicle Excise Duty – road tax

Your vehicle excise duty is likely to be £12 per month – it’s the standard rate for all cars registered after 2017, and a reasonable rate for those registered beforehand. It could be higher for older cars with poor emissions, but it’s unlikely to be lower.

You must pay the VED by law, or take your car off the road, so there’s no getting around this one!

Adding it up

Looking at the totals then, assuming you bought a used car worth approximately £3,600 and there is minimal ongoing work needed, comes to (per month):

  • £100 – car itself
  • £30 – repairs and servicing
  • £35 – tyres
  • £100 – insurance
  • £100 – fuel
  • £2 – basic breakdown cover
  • £12 – VED

Total: £379 per month

More than you thought? Perhaps.

There’s absolutely no way that you want to add to that considerable bill by finding yourself in a road traffic accident, but if you do, then we can help you make sure it’s not a financial disaster here at Non Fault Claims. We can help you claim against the at-fault party, recovering your losses as well as claiming compensation for any personal injuries.

If you find yourself in a situation where an incident has occurred that was not your fault, then give us a call right away!

0808 1454275

Non Fault Claims can help you begin your potential claim, get in touch today!