Pass Plus is often sold on the premise of reducing car insurance premiums, but this is not always the case.
Pass Plus was introduced in 1995 by the Driving Standard Agency, now replaced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), in association with insurers.
It’s aimed at drivers who’ve just passed their test, and at young drivers in particular.
The course was designed to fill in the gaps of knowledge that the standard driving test leaves out.
Extra driver tuition
It includes extra driving tuition in six areas:
- Night driving
- Dual carriages
- Driving in the countryside
- All weather driving
- Town driving
It’s also sold on the premise that it’ll cut car insurance premiums - which are typically higher for young drivers.
But often, new drivers will be disappointed when they find no discount was applied to their car insurance quote, so how does it work?
Cheaper car insurance – or not
The truth is that only a handful of insurers offer an up-front discount for having taken the Pass Plus test.
Additionally, the discount might be quite small and, considering the fee you have to pay to take the test, it might not be the most economical way of saving money overall.
Value of additional tests
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) also offers an advanced driving course, but says their emphasis is on the value of the training, not any additional insurance cost cutting benefits.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at IAM, says:
“The problem with offering incentives for advanced driver training courses is that there are never enough hard statistics for the big insurers to get on-board.
“Insurers ideally want to see years of data proving that drivers who took a particular course, such as Pass Plus, have fewer accidents.
“They would then be able to offer discounts based on the facts that drivers with this particular driver training are a safer risk.
“But no-one has done this research, which is why so few insurers offer a Pass Plus discount.”
Statistics suggest that one in four people killed or seriously injured in a road crash is a young driver, aged 17 to 25, or one of their passengers.
Yet drivers under the age of 25 account for only 12% of all driving licence holders, according to the ABI.
With these numbers, it’s not surprising that insurance companies are more reluctant to lower insurance prices for young drivers.
Can black box tech cut insurance costs?
When it comes to cheaper car insurance for younger drivers, perhaps black box technology is the way forward.
It involves a small black box being installed in your car to measure speed, braking and cornering, types of road travelled on, and time of day.
The data is sent to your insurer who can then adjust your car insurance premiums accordingly – downwards for responsible driving, upwards for riskier driving.
This tech allows insurers to offer premiums that better reflect an individual driver’s actual risk on the road.
It enables insurers to rely less on standard risk ratings - these result in higher premiums for all young drivers due to the increased accident risk of the entire group.
So is a Pass Plus certificate worth getting? Yes, if your primary concern is to fill in any knowledge gaps.
It should be seen as a money saving investment in the long run as the course could improve your skills so you become a better driver and have fewer accidents.
This’ll help lower the cost of insurance in the future.
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