Defensive Driving Discounts: How to Save on Insurance Premiums

by John Fabel | Last Updated: 2024-01-24

If you are looking for ways to economize, there may be opportunities lurking in your insurance policy. Many carriers have a variety of discounts available, but you may have questions like:

Wow, you seem to have a lot of questions! Let’s get to them, starting with the last one.

Defensive driving discounts are available from nearly every major insurer, and many minor ones as well. Allstate and The Hartford have discounts around 10%; Geico and Liberty Mutual save their qualifying policyholders around 5%. While completing a defensive driving course (online or in-person) is the first step to earning a discount, some carriers require other conditions to be met before savings can begin.

Answers in this post:

Which Companies Offer the Biggest Insurance Discounts?

How Can I Maximize a Defensive Driving Insurance Discount?

How Do I Take Defensive Driving for Insurance Discount?

Let’s jump in and see where you might find the most significant savings for your particular situation.

Which Insurers Have the Biggest Discounts?

Insurance discount for defensive driving

Here is some information on defensive driving discounts from some of the larger insurance companies and the hoops you’ll have to jump through to earn them.

(back to questions)

How Do I Make the Most of a Defensive Driving Discount?

Insurance savings traffic school

There is another consideration that must be taken into account when deciding which discount program to take advantage of. In the same way that companies differ in how they structure policies, they also differ in how they apply discounts. In some cases, a defensive driving discount will be deducted from the whole premium; in others, it will only be applied to certain coverages. Depending on the specifics of your policy, 5% off your entire premium may represent a bigger savings than 15% off a single coverage. Sharpen your pencil to make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your defensive driving buck!

The easiest way to start your discount journey is to talk to your current insurance agent. If the agent confirms that your existing company offers a defensive driving discount, here are some helpful follow-up questions.

If the answer to that last one is yes, try not to raise one eyebrow and inquire menacingly, “And why haven’t I heard about these?” even if it’s what you’re feeling. Just take note (and advantage!) of all the ways you can start saving from this point forward.

(back to questions)

How to Take Defensive Driving for an Insurance Discount

As you have probably guessed by now, completing a defensive driving course is a fundamental requirement of receiving a defensive driving insurance discount. If you’ve never taken a defensive driving course before, you could take a deep dive into all that choosing one entails. If you’re just interested in the quick and dirty, here goes:

Before starting your course, it is also important to know if your insurance company requires that the course you complete have any special qualifications or endorsements. In most states, a defensive driving course must meet the requirements of a state agency to be recognized for ticket dismissal or an insurance discount. In Texas, for example, that agency would be the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), while in Ohio, it’s the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). Be sure to choose a course that you’re insurance company will accept. Taking any class has the potential of making you a safer, more competent driver, but that wasn’t your only goal here, was it?

After Your Course is Completed

When you have finished your course, you will receive a certificate of completion. You must then get a copy of that certificate to your insurance company. The defensive driving course provider will not notify your insurance agency of your newly minted graduate status; it’s up to you. The need to submit your certificate may seem obvious, but hear me out. Insurance companies are banking on you not following through. This is especially true in Texas.

In Texas, people who take defensive driving for ticket dismissal receive two copies of their completion certificate. One is marked for the court and the other for insurance. Hundreds (if not thousands) of Texas drivers fail to take advantage of that second certificate when they could be using it to earn back the cost of their ticket many times over. Don’t wind up shipmates on that same boat by failing to submit your certificate!

(back to questions)

John Fabel

I have a long and checkered history with defensive driving. I took my first "court invited" course at age 15 and realized immediately that there had to be a better way. Since that first experience, I have gone on to teach defensive driving classroom courses and to author four internet courses in 2 states. After nearly 25 years in the industry, I can help you find a course that will be the best fit for you.