Advanced driving courses

Discover the benefits of IAM, Pass Plus and other advanced driving courses and if they can help to lower your car insurance premiums.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 27 May 2021  | 2 mins read

What are advanced driving courses?

Advanced driving courses are designed to increase your road knowledge, awareness and safety.

They are focused on teaching advanced skills, like driving on motorways, which you wouldn’t learn during normal driving lessons.

They are additional courses run by independent companies which you can take after passing your full UK driving test.

Each course is different and not all will get you a car insurance discount, so it's best to do your research before you commit to one.

Key points

  • Improve your driving skills and road safety by taking an advanced driving course
  • There’s a common assumption that your car insurance will automatically be cheaper thanks to the extra training, but that’s not the case
  • If you have been driving for several years and haven’t claimed, you’ll have a no claims bonus which will help you to get a cheaper premium

Common advanced driving courses

Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)

IAM RoadSmart courses are generally regarded as the most respected and recognised post-test course.

The test is based on the police’s roadcraft system of car control. You’ll be taught about road position, identifying and negotiating hazards and smoother driving, such as choosing the right gear for proper control and fuel efficiency.

They offer both car and motorbike advanced courses.

It’s recommended that you’ve driven at least 10,000 miles before you take this course, so you’ve built up some experience and confidence.

How much does an IAM course cost?

The Advanced Driver Course costs £149 and takes between three and six months to complete. You’ll be observed on a number of drivers, given verbal and written feedback and then you’ll complete a test before getting your certification. You also get a years membership with IAM when you buy a course.

If you want to get some feedback on your driving without the pressure of a test, you can book a Drivers Assessment course, which costs £49.

How to book an IAM course

You can book an IAM course through their website. You’ll then be sent a welcome pack and course manual before you can join your local group and expert instructor at a convenient time and place.

Pass Plus Scheme

Pass Plus is a common choice for young and new drivers and is designed to help improve road safety and reduce the risk of accidents.

It expands on what you’ve already learned during your driving lessons but adds in extra elements, like driving at night or in bad weather.

The course consists of six hour-long lessons, where you’ll learn to drive on motorways, in heavy traffic and on rural roads.

There is no test to complete the Pass Plus Scheme. You’ll have to meet the required standards in all modules to pass. Once you’ve met the standards, you’ll receive a form from your instructor, which you both have to sign. You can then apply for your Pass Plus certificate by posting the form to the DVSA.

You’ll need this certificate to inform your insurer you’ve completed the course.

How much does a Pass Plus course cost?

Each instructor will charge a different amount for their pass plus course. Prices range from £160 to £200, so do your research by checking all instructors near you before you book.

Some local authorities contribute to the cost of the Pass Plus course, which could make it more affordable. All local councils in Wales offer discounted Pass Plus courses.

How to book a Pass Plus course

You can contact the instructor direct to arrange the course. Make sure you research the instructor to make sure they’re a good fit for you. If they have a website or social media page, you can check their reviews.

You can also book Pass Plus courses through companies like Red Driving School.

Other courses

There other advanced driving courses you can take if you want to improve your driving ability. The AA offers a range of courses, from motorway lessons to refresher courses, which start from around £30 per hour.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has groups around the UK where volunteers offer free tutoring to pass the RoSPA advanced driver test. There's a small fee to join the local group and the test itself costs £67 for drivers over 26 years old.

The tests are held by serving or retired police officers and are the only tests that require a re-test to ensure you still have the skills.

You'll need to be re-tested every three years, which is free, but you pay a £40 annual subscription fee.

Not all courses are recognised by insurers, so if your main goal is to reduce your premiums, make sure you do your research first.

Do advanced driving courses make car insurance cheaper?

Not all insurers will offer a discount on your premium for passing an advanced driving course. In some instances, you may end up paying more, for example, if you’ve got a history of claims.

The main benefit of taking a course is to improve your awareness, safety and driving skill, any discounts should be seen as an added bonus.

It’s worth noting that even if an insurer does offer a discount, it may be less than the cost of the course.

We found that that customers with an IAM certificate will pay very slightly more for their cover, £527.22 per year,[1] versus those with no certificate who paid £525.87.[2]

However, if you had four or more years of no claims discount and an IAM certificate, you’d save 1% - with an IAM, you’d pay £383.16, whereas without the qualification, you’d pay £386.88.[3]

[1] Average price paid for all comprehensive car insurance bought through GoCompare in June 2019, when the policyholder had a valid Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) certificate.

[2] Average price paid for all comprehensive car insurance bought through GoCompare in June 2019, when the policyholder did not hold an Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) certificate.

[3] Average price paid for all comprehensive car insurance bought through GoCompare in June 2019, when the policyholder had a valid Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) certificate and four or more years no claims discount.