Pass Plus Scheme

Find out how the Pass Plus driving course works, and whether it could help you save on your car insurance.

Promoted
Confused.com car insurance logo

Get cheap car insurance quotes

  • Save up to £561 on your car insurance*
  • Compare over 120 insurance providers
  • Enjoy Confused.com rewards
Get a quote

If you’ve just passed your driving test, you may be nervous about taking to the road in trickier driving conditions – at night, or in icy weather conditions, for example. The Pass Plus course can give new drivers a skill and confidence boost, and potentially cut the cost of car insurance to boot.

What is Pass Plus?

Pass Plus is an extra driving qualification which you can get on top of your full driving licence. There’s no obligation to take part in the scheme, but you will learn to tackle situations you won’t have covered in your standard driving lessons. The idea is that you’re even less likely to be involved in an accident, which is not only good for your well-being and your car, but could lead to lower car insurance premiums too.

While Pass Plus was designed with those who’ve just passed their test in mind, you don’t have to be new to driving to take the course. For example, you might want to use it to refresh your driving skills after you’ve been without a car for a while.

How does Pass Plus work?

After finding a qualified instructor, you’ll do a minimum of 6 hours of training. In this time the course will teach you how to handle 6 different environments better: all weather driving; motorway driving; dual carriageway driving; night time driving; driving in town; and driving down rural roads.

All modules should be practical, and you should expect to do 5.5 hours of driving during the course. But depending on your location and driving conditions, some modules may need to be more theoretical. It’s hard to practise driving in heavy rain during an extended spell of dry, sunny weather for example.

How is Pass Plus different from regular driving lessons?

Regular driving lessons cover all the basics you need to know to drive safely on UK roads. You’ll take lessons with a driving instructor over a series of days or weeks (or, in some cases, months). And you need to pass two tests: a theory test, and a practical driving test that’s assessed by a driving examiner. Only when you’ve passed both of these tests will you receive your full driving licence and be legally able to drive solo on UK roads.

Pass Plus, and similar advanced driving courses, are not a legal requirement. Instead, they’re about boosting your skills and confidence, particularly in relation to driving in specific – and potentially trickier – conditions, such as at night, in busy urban environments, or in bad weather. Unlike regular driving lessons, there are no tests to pass. Instead, your Pass Plus instructor will assess your driving as you move through the modules. You can simply keep going until you reach the required standard.

How much does Pass Plus cost?

The price for a Pass Plus course varies depending on where you live, the driving instructor, and how long you take to complete the course. A total cost of £150-£200 for the course is fairly typical. Some local authorities offer discounts to help with the cost of training, so it’s worth contacting your council to ask.

In Wales, drivers aged 17-25 who have passed their driving test in the last 12 months can apply to take the Pass Plus Cymru course, which only costs £20.

How long does the Pass Plus course take?

The Pass Plus course covers 6 modules, each of which are expected to take around an hour. So, you can expect the whole course to take at least 6 hours. All modules are intended to be practical, so you can anticipate spending 5.5 hours of the course driving.

You can technically compress all 6 modules into a single session, but this would be pretty intensive and hard work. To prevent physical weariness, not to mention brain drain from all the new information you’ll be learning, it’s a good idea to split the course over at least 3 sessions (2 modules per session). That way, the information is more likely to stick, you’ll have time to practice in between sessions, and you can build up your skills gradually.

What does the Pass Plus scheme cover?

Some of the areas Pass Plus helps you cope better with are touched on in your standard driving test. However, the idea is you’ll become even wiser to dangerous or stressful situations. Below are the conditions Pass Plus will help you with.

  • All weather driving. You’ll learn about driving in different weather conditions, from fog, snow and torrential rain to dazzling sunshine, with practical experience where conditions allow. You’ll also delve deeper into stopping distances in different weather, and how to prevent and handle skids.
  • Night driving. Particularly if you learned to drive in summer, you might not have had much experience of driving in the dark. This module helps you learn about using your headlights, adjusting to different light levels, and getting used to coping with the dazzle from oncoming headlights.
  • Driving in town. Busy urban environments can present unique challenges – this module covers navigating complex junctions, underpasses, and tram, bus and cycle lanes.
  • Driving down rural roads. You’ll get familiar with the challenges of narrow lanes, passing places, and blind bends, as well as the obstacles you might deal with in the country, such as horses, tractors, and farm animals in the road.
  • Dual carriageway driving. This module goes into driving on dual carriageways in more detail than you’ll have had a chance to cover in your driving lessons, including joining and leaving the carriageway on slip roads, and safe overtaking.
  • Motorway driving. Learner drivers can now have lessons on motorways with an approved instructor, but as a newly qualified driver they can still seem intimidating. You’ll cover using lanes correctly, driving at safe distances in different conditions, dealing with fatigue, and dealing with a breakdown.

Can I use Pass Plus to lower my insurance?

Some insurers do offer discounts to drivers who take advanced driving courses such as Pass Plus. This might prove especially handy if you’re a young driver who’s only just passed the standard driving test.

Young drivers are considered at high risk of claiming because of their age and inexperience on the road. However, Pass Plus could help you knock that premium down to size.

How much money can Pass Plus save me on my insurance?

There’s no categorical answer to this. Not all car insurers offer a Pass Plus discount, and the level of discount varies between insurers. We’ve seen discounts of up to 25% on offer for new drivers who’ve taken Pass Plus, but it won’t always be this much. Many price comparison sites don’t ask about Pass Plus as part of the quote process, so you’ll need to check directly with insurers if they offer a discount.

And, of course, the benefits of any discount are dependent on the insurer offering a reasonable baseline premium. So shopping around for the best-value cover is as crucial as identifying insurers that offer Pass Plus discounts.

How do I prove to a car insurer that I’ve taken the Pass Plus course?

Once you’ve met (or exceeded) the required standard for all 6 Pass Plus modules, your instructor will provide a training report that you and they must sign. You use this report to apply to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for a Pass Plus certificate. You’ll need the certificate to demonstrate to insurers that you’re Pass Plus certified, and take advantage of any discounts on offer.

Is Pass Plus worth the investment?

Danny Butler

Finder insurance expert Danny Butler answers

Some insurance providers offer a discount for gaining Pass Plus certificate; others don’t. If your chosen insurer offers a discount, then taking the course makes financial sense. With time, you should earn back the money you spent on the course.

If your provider doesn’t offer a discount to Pass Plus certificate holders, the financial benefits are less clear cut. In the short term, at least, you’ll be out of pocket without any guaranteed prospect of recouping the outlay.

But it’s not just about financial savings. Taking the course may also help you feel (and potentially be) safer when driving, which you might think is well worth it. And if you put your long-term vision goggles on, you might decide that the course will help you avoid getting in an accident and having to make a claim. With typical car insurance excesses topping £200, avoidance of a single claim could make the cost of a Pass Plus course well worth it.

Are there any alternatives to Pass Plus?

If you want to gain confidence and improve your driving skills after you’ve passed your test, you have several options. Alternatives to Pass Plus include:

  • IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) Roadsmart. This DVSA accredited advanced driving course includes control, observation, timing, positioning, and the ability to deal with unpredictable roads. Courses are spread over 6 to 12 sessions. Once completed, you become an IAM member, which may get you a car insurance discount.
  • RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders. Delivered by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, this scheme – which involves a test – covers similar elements to the IAM Roadsmart course, with a focus on road safety. This option is often cheaper than the Pass Plus or IAM options, but is less widely recognised by car insurers.
  • Booking extra lessons with your car instructor. If you don’t feel like you need a full course, but would welcome extra experience of driving in specific conditions, you can ask your instructor for a couple of dedicated lessons after you’ve passed your test.

Other ways to save on your car insurance

Pass Plus isn’t the be all and end all for cutting car insurance premiums. It’s one tactic, and there are plenty of others.

  • Consider a telematics policy. Fitting your car with a black box which tracks your driving habits and rewards good driving, could cut costs for safe drivers.
  • Opt for a higher voluntary excess. An excess is a fixed amount you contribute towards any claim that you make – the insurance covers the rest. Voluntarily accepting a higher excess can give you a lower premium. Just make sure you can afford to pay out should it come to it.
  • Pay your full annual premium upfront. Paying a lump sum is generally cheaper than paying for your policy monthly, as insurers tend to apply interest to instalment payments.
  • Choose a lower-risk car. One factor that affects insurance costs is the type of car you drive. Opting for a car in a lower insurance group should mean lower premiums.
  • Build your no-claims discount. Drive safely and responsibly, avoid making any claims, and after a year you should be rewarded with lower premiums. The no-claims bonus will increase for every year of no-claims driving.
  • Add a named driver. If you add an experienced, low-risk driver to your policy, this can reduce your premiums, as the insurer will assume that the named driver will be behind the wheel some of the time.

Pros and cons of Pass Plus

Pros

  • Helps to make you a safer and more confident driver, and reduce the risk of accidents
  • It gives you more practice of infrequently-used driving skills
  • Many car insurers offer discounts for Pass Plus certificate holders.

Cons

  • It costs money: if you’ve just paid out to take lessons and pass your driving test, you may not want another expense
  • It means you have to dedicate more time to learning to drive
  • Not every insurer offers discounts following advanced driving courses.

Bottom line

As a new driver, you’ll probably be faced with eye-wateringly high insurance premiums. Taking a Pass Plus course is one of a number of tactics that could help reduce costs. Even if your chosen insurer doesn’t offer a Pass Plus discount, you may consider it worth it to boost your driving confidence and reduce your future risk of accidents.

Frequently asked questions


*Based on data provided by Consumer Intelligence Ltd, www.consumerintelligence.com (Feb ’24). 51% of car insurance customers could save £561.39
The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products we can track; we don't cover every product on the market...yet. Unless we've indicated otherwise, products are shown in no particular order or ranking. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations), aren't product ratings, although we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it; this is subject to our terms of use. When making a big financial decision, it's wise to consider getting independent financial advice, and always consider your own financial circumstances when comparing products so you get what's right for you. Most of the data in Finder's comparison tables has the source: Moneyfacts Group PLC. In other cases, Finder has sourced data directly from providers.

More guides on Finder

Go to site