The Defensive Driving Discount for Insurance Explained

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  • The Defensive Driving Discount for Insurance Explained

Everyone must have car insurance. So, naturally, everyone wants to save money on their car insurance bills. Many of the things you can do to lower premiums take time, such as avoiding accidents or waiting for speeding tickets to fall off your record.

While not instantaneous, there is one quicker and easier way to save money on your auto policy. You can take a defensive driving course to lower insurance premiums. Keep reading to learn more about defensive driving classes and the driver safety course insurance discount.

What Is a Defensive Driving Insurance Discount?

A defensive driving discount is a discount on your car insurance premiums after you successfully complete a defensive driving class approved by your carrier. Teens and seniors are often eligible for the discount, which can lower premiums by around 10%.

Car insurance providers don’t want to pay claims if they don’t have to. Thus, they reward safe drivers with lower premiums. Good drivers who are accident-free and claims-free typically pay less for car insurance.

Some companies are even going as far as monitoring driving behavior in real-time with telematics (like the Progressive Snapshot program, for example). They can then reward drivers who exhibit the safest driving behaviors, such as not swerving lanes, not speeding, and not driving at night.

Another more straightforward way car insurance companies reward safe driving is with a defensive driving insurance discount. Many carriers will give policyholders who take a defensive driving course a discount on premiums. 

Choosing a Defensive Driving Course For an Insurance Discount

Companies typically have an approved list of courses to choose from. The lessons will vary based on your location and who teaches the class, but you will generally learn about traffic laws, safe driving techniques, basic car knowledge and maintenance, dangerous driving behaviors, and more.

Courses usually have four to 12 hours of material, although you may not have to do it all at once. You might be able to complete longer, in-person courses over several classes. And, you can do some online courses at your own pace.

Some carriers will have in-person and online options to choose from. Some companies may also have a time limit requirement. For instance, in many states, a course must be at least four hours long to get a qualifying defensive driving certificate.

Since requirements will vary by insurer, you should double-check with your agent or provider if you’re interested in qualifying for the discount. Sometimes, only teens and seniors – the two most dangerous driver age demographics – are eligible. 

Teen and Senior Driving Course Insurance Discounts

Since seniors and teens are the two most likely age groups to generate a car insurance claim, many carriers offer defensive driving discounts for people in these age groups who pass an approved course. The age you have to be and the amount of the insurance discount will vary.

Geico, Allstate, Progressive, American Family, and more popular providers offer defensive driver discounts for seniors who complete an approved course. Check the age requirement with your provider. Sometimes people over 50 are eligible for the deal, while other times, you might have to be at least 60 years old.

In some states, the senior driving course insurance discount is governed by law. For example, Florida mandates that drivers over 55 can complete an approved course by the state and get an insurance discount upon completion. The discount amount is up to the provider, but it usually lasts for three years.

Young teens are also often eligible for this discount. Many teen driver courses target teens ages 15 to 19, and an insurance company may discount safe teen drivers who take the course up to age 21 or age 25 if they’re unmarried. You’ll have to check with your carrier on their specific age limits.

Is There an Online Defensive Driving Course?

There are several online defensive driving courses available. Before taking one, be sure it’s approved by your insurance provider, as not all of them will be. Courses often cost between $25 to $50 depending on where you are and what class you get, but they can save you hundreds of dollars on premiums over the years.

When looking for an online defensive driving course, check if the site mentions approval from your state’s department of highway safety or another similar department. Sometimes, states will have an official list of approved driving courses on their website. 

An online defensive driving course will typically involve reading or watching a series of lessons and then answering questions based on what you’ve learned. They’re often broken up into modules. Some will have timed modules that you must complete in one sitting, while others will let you finish at your own pace. Be wary of your insurer’s requirements. For instance, online modules under 4 hours long may not give you a discount.

An approved online defensive driving course should also give you a certificate of completion at the end. You’ll need to present this to your insurer to let them know that you’ve completed the course to get your discount. 

How Much Does Defensive Driving Lower Insurance?

A defensive driving insurance discount can lower premiums between 3% and 15% based on your state and insurance provider, which can save you dozens of dollars monthly. The discount commonly lasts three years.

Many of the top car insurance companies claim discounts of around 10% for defensive driving, but you may be able to get a higher one. Ask your insurance agent or insurance provider for clarity.

Also, be sure to understand how long the driver safety course insurance discount certificate is good for. They’re typically good for 3-5 years before the discount expires, and you need to retake the class to renew it.

A defensive driving class can also help you save beyond the direct effect of the discount for completing the course. Everything you learn should help you avoid accidents, leading to lower premiums in the long term. Many providers have an accident-free or claims-free discount if you go a certain number of years, typically between 3-5 years, without a crash. 

In a defensive driving class, you can learn valuable information about car repairs and maintenance. Any of these tips could also help you avoid a claim, saving you money. People who file fewer claims pay less for coverage.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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