All advanced driving and riding courses

Posted by mustard.co.uk on June 28th, 2019

Passing your driving or motorcycle test doesn’t mean your learning has to stop there. If you take an advanced driving or motorbike course, not only will you learn new techniques and gain experience, you could also lower the cost of your insurance – here’s what you should know.

What is an advanced driving or riding course?

Advanced driving or motorcycle training courses are aimed at making you safer on the road. Lessons focus on improving your confidence and ability by giving you better control over your vehicle. Areas that are typically covered include:

  • Enhanced handling and road positioning
  • Developing better observational skills
  • Dealing with poor weather conditions (for instance, snow, ice, torrential rain).

You can take an advanced course after passing all the elements of your driving or motorcycle test (theory and practical).

Can an advanced driving course or motorcycle training lower my insurance?

Taking an advanced course can lower your premium but not all insurers will offer you a discount so it’s important to check with your insurer before you make any assumptions.

You should also bear in mind that the cost of taking an advanced course can sometimes be more than the potential discount off your premium.

If you are eligible for a discount, it’s often difficult to work out exactly what that might be as insurers calculate premiums based on a range of factors, including:

  • The car you drive or motorcycle you ride
  • Where you live
  • Your age
  • Where you keep your car or bike overnight.

As well as these factors, insurers have their own underwriters (the organisations that pay out if a claim is made).

Underwriters often use their own statistics to calculate risk which helps shape decisions about the types of discount available (if any).

Although there’s no guarantee that insurers will lower premiums after you’ve taken an advanced course, more in-depth training will give you valuable experience and help keep you safe on the road.

All advanced riding courses

What advanced driving courses are there?

There are several courses to choose from depending on the skills you want to learn, your budget and your location – some of the most popular courses include:

  • Pass Plus
  • IAM Roadsmart
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
  • The AA
  • Aspire
  • Blue light driver training

Pass Plus

This course is more beneficial to new drivers that have just passed their test. The course has six different modules with each one lasting about an hour – they cover driving in and around:

  • Town
  • All weathers
  • Rural roads
  • At night
  • Dual carriageways
  • Motorways.

You won’t be formally tested but you will be assessed in each module and will be required to meet the standards set for each, in order to pass the course.

Pass Plus courses are offered by many driving schools and can only be taught by an advanced driving instructor (ADI).

  • Cost – depends on the ADI and driving school.
  • How to book – For more information, visit: GOV.UK, Pass Plus.
  • Will it lower my premium? Possibly, but double check with your insurer.

IAM Roadsmart

Run by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), the course is quality assured by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) This means it’s highly reputable and widely recognised by insurers.

You’ll need to be committed as the course takes between three and six months to finish. Topics covered include:

  • Car control and road positioning
  • Observation
  • Timing
  • Unpredictable roads and other road users’ behaviour.

If you pass the test at the end, you’ll become an IAM member.

  • Cost – £149**
  • How to book – buy online at IAM Roadmsart and you’ll be sent a welcome pack, course outline and given details of your local IAM group who will arrange training.
  • Will it lower my premium? The IAM claim around 90% of its members get a discount on their insurance premium so it could be well worth your while.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)

RoSPA run two types of courses – one for individuals and one for fleets which is mainly aimed at business drivers. Business owners looking to improve fleet driving skills should contact RoSPA directly.

Courses for individuals are taught by volunteers so tend to be run in the evening or at weekends. There’s an advanced driving test at the end of the course but your instructor will work with you to devise a plan to help you meet the requirements. The test itself is conducted by serving or retired police officers and lasts for around 45 minutes to an hour.

If you pass the test, you’ll achieve one of three awards – bronze, silver, or gold. Gold is the highest standard of driving that a civilian can achieve in the UK. The test is checked and monitored by the DVSA.

Passing your test means you’ll automatically become a member of RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoDAR).

If you want to keep your status as an advanced driver under the RoSPA scheme, you’ll be expected to retake the test every three years.

  • Costtraining is free but you’ll have to join your local RoSPA group and pay a subscription fee which could be as little as £20**. The advanced driving test costs between £62** and £67** plus VAT depending on age. There is no cost to retake your test every three years as long as you stay a member of RoDAR and pay the annual membership fee which is currently £40**. Your first year’s membership is covered by your test fee.
  • How to book – details of local groups can be found at RoSPA, advanced training.
  • Will it lower my premium? It could help reduce costs but check with your insurer.

The AA

The AA offer more bespoke lessons so you’ll be able to focus on specific areas for improvement. Their driving refresher course covers many of the areas included in the Pass Plus programme but the advantage is that you can pick and choose what to concentrate on.

  • Cost – depends on the type of course and number of hours you choose (lessons must be a minimum of two hours).
  • How to bookcontact the AA.
  • Will it lower my premium? Courses are not as widely recognised, so check with your insurer before you book. You may be more likely to get a discount off your premium if your insurance is also with the AA.

Aspire

This course is for anyone convicted of drink driving and claims to reduce an imposed driving ban by up to 25% (for example a two-year ban could be reduced to 18 months).

Aspire is a not-for-profit organisation and is an approved government provider of the drink drive rehabilitation scheme (DDRS). Convicted drivers can be referred to the programme by the court.

The course is 16 hours spread over one session a week for three weeks. Topics cover the impact alcohol has on driving, the law and drink driving as well as a look at the health aspects of alcohol.

  • Cost – £145** if you pay upfront. Admin fees apply if you want to pay monthly or need to start a course in under a month, contact Aspire for more details.
  • How to book – if you’ve been referred by the courts, Aspire will contact you within 14 days. For more information and details on how to book, visit Aspire.
  • Will it lower my premium? If you’ve been convicted of drink driving, your premiums are going to be higher than average but taking part and passing a DDRS scheme could help secure some sort of discount.

Blue light driver training

Accredited by RoSPA, emergency response driver training is only available to those working in the emergency services and focuses on specialist skills and vehicles.

If you’ve completed a blue light training course you could also be eligible for lower premiums on your own personal vehicles while you’re off duty.

What advanced motorcycle training courses are there?

Like advanced driving courses, there are several you can choose from. Whether you’ve owned a bike for years and want to brush up on skills or have just passed your test and want more experience, here’s what’s on offer:

  • IAM Roadmsart
  • Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) enhance rider scheme
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
  • BikeSafe
  • British Motorcycle Federation (BMF) blue riband rider training

IAM Roadsmart

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) motorcycle training is quality assured by the Driver and Vehicle Standard Agency (DVSA) and is widely recognised by insurers.

Run by volunteers the course lasts between three and six months and will be structured to meet test requirements. When you’ve passed the test, you’ll be part of an exclusive club – the IAM estimates that less than 1% of motorcycle riders hold a higher-level qualification.

  • Cost – £149**
  • How to book – courses can be booked online. You’ll be given a welcome pack, course outline and details of how to contact your local group for lessons.
  • Will it lower my premium? The scheme is well recognised by insurers but always check.

All advanced driving courses-

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) enhanced rider scheme

This is run by the DVSA and is an assessment of your motorcycle skills. Sessions usually last between one and two hours.

If the trainer thinks your motorcycle skills meet the required standards, they’ll give you a ‘DVSA certificate of competence’ there and then. If you need to improve any particular skills, your trainer will put together a programme to help you do this.

  • Cost – depends on the trainer and how many hours of you need.
  • How to book – contact your nearest DVSA trainer at GOV.UK, enhanced rider scheme.
  • Will it lower my premium? Earning your certificate of competence could help secure a discount off your premium.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)

RoSPA offer advanced training for fleet motorcyclists and individuals. Business owners looking to improve riders’ skills, can contact RoSPA directly for pricing and to arrange training.

Courses for individuals are run by volunteers who will tailor a plan to help you achieve the expected standards in the advanced riding test. The test itself is monitored by the DVSA and is recognised as one of the toughest motorcycle riding exams.

Test examiners are all serving or ex police officers and if you pass, you’ll be awarded one of three grades – bronze, silver, or gold. Gold is the highest level a civilian motorcycle rider can achieve.

If you pass the test, you’ll automatically become a member of RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders (RoDAR) with your first year’s membership covered by your test fee.

If you want to keep your status as an advanced motorcycle rider under the RoSPA scheme, you’ll be expected to retake the test every three years.

  • Cost – training is free but you’ll have to join your local RoSPA group and pay a subscription fee, which varies by region but it could be as little as £20**. The advanced riding test costs between £68** and £73** plus VAT depending on age. If you decide to retake your test every three years, there’s no charge so long as you stay a member of RoDAR and pay the annual membership fee, which is currently £40**.
  • How to book – details of local groups can be found at RoSPA, advanced training.
  • Will it lower my premium? It could help cut the cost of your premium but check with your provider.

BikeSafe

BikeSafe isn’t a training course as such, they’re workshops run by police forces throughout the country. Open to the public, the workshops focus on hazard awareness and how to stay safe on your bike.

Workshops are led by trained police motorcyclists and while there is no formal test, you will be given detailed feedback on an observed ride. Instructors will also be able to signpost further training.

  • Cost – depends on the police force but ranges between £20-£70**.
  • How to book – book workshops directly with regional police forces, visit BikeSafe.
  • Will it lower my premium? As these are workshops rather than training courses, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to lower your premium from this alone.

British Motorcycle Federation (BMF) blue riband rider training

Run by the British Motorcycle Federation (BMF), this course is for experienced and capable motorcyclists who want to hone their skills (you must have held a licence for at least six months).

Courses are one-to-one and usually last a day and a half. Instructors are BMF certified riders who have all undergone advanced training. The programme combines theory, demos and practical modules.

Final assessments can last up to three and a half hours where you’ll be tested on various topics including bike control, judgement and navigating junctions. If you’ve met the required standards, you’ll be given a certificate which is valid for three years.

  • Cost – Varies by region but you should budget around £250** for the course and £80** for the assessment.
  • How to book – Visit the BMF website for more details and information about approved training centres near you.
  • Will it lower my premium? It might but if lowering your premium is your main concern, there are other more widely recognised courses available. If in doubt, always check with your insurer first.

What other courses are there?

A range of alternative driving and motorcycle training courses are available depending on what it is you want to learn or need to improve – for example:

  • HGV licence – as well as a full driving licence, you’ll also need a ‘driver certificate of professional competence’ (known as a Driver CPC) before you can drive trucks.
  • Ambulance driver training – you’ll need to complete and pass an ambulance driving test to get your C1 licence (if you passed your car driving test before January 1997, you will already be entitled to drive C1 vehicles).
  • Stunt and drift driving – courses and experience days are widely available.
  • Motorcycle stunt riding – day courses and experiences are widely available.

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**prices correct as of 25 April 2019