UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Drivers can save a considerable amount on their insurance policy with a defensive driving discount.
How big can a defensive driving discount be? How do you qualify for a defensive driving discount? Today, we’re answering some of our most frequently asked questions about defensive driver class discounts.
Defensive Driving Discounts Are Available to People Who Passed a Defensive Driving Class
Qualifying for a discount is straightforward: if you have taken a defensive driving class, then the insurance company believes you’re less likely to be in an accident. You drive defensively and avoid problems on the road. That means you’re a lower risk factor than a driver who never took the class.
Most of America’s insurance companies offer these discounts to two groups of people: they offer it to older drivers (say, over 55 years of age) who complete a class, and they offer it to young drivers who complete a class.
How Much is a Defensive Driving Discount Worth?
Don’t expect to save hundreds of dollars on your annual insurance bill with a defensive driving discount. Typically, you’ll save 5% with a defensive driving discount. A rare few companies offer 10% discounts, but 5% discounts are standard across the industry.
Keep in mind that some insurance companies only offer the discount if you’ve completed the course within the last 3 or 5 years. It’s not typically a perpetual insurance discount.
Look for Accident-Free Discounts
Fortunately for you, additional discounts are available to certain groups of people. If you really paid attention in defensive driving class, then you could avoid being in an accident for several years. Typically, after 5 years without an at-fault accident or major violation, you’ll qualify for an accident-free discount from your insurance provider – which could save you 10% or more.
Consider the Costs of a Defensive Driving Course
Defensive driving courses vary widely in price. You could pay as little as $100, or over $1,000 for a course, depending on where you live.
That’s why it’s not always a good idea to take a defensive driving course if you’re only interested in saving money. You should take a defensive driving course because you want to learn how to drive defensively, not because you’re trying to save money.
The value of a defensive driving course isn’t just the insurance discount, of course: you gain value by becoming a safer driver. If the defensive driving course helps you avoid just one at-fault collision or a major incident like a DUI, then it’s guaranteed to save you thousands of dollars over your driving career. Of course, it could also save your life – and it’s tough to put a price on that.
What Will You Learn at a Defensive Driving Course?
Is a defensive driving course worth the price? Will you actually learn valuable lessons? Topics vary between states, but there are some common traits.
Some defensive driving courses are performed entirely in a vehicle or in a classroom, while others offer a mix of both (classroom courses are the cheaper option, and you may qualify for a discount just by taking a classroom defensive driving course)
Classroom-based Defensive Driving Courses Will Teach You Things Like…
- Traffic crash statistics, including the times when the most crashes occur, risk factors for crashes, and the age ranges with the highest accident rates
- The dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- How safety equipment works, including the importance of seat belts, headrests, airbags, and child car seats
In-Vehicle Defensive Driving Courses Will Teach You Things Like…
- How to train your reflexes to avoid an incoming collision; your instructor may take you to a parking lot or another safe area, then have you drive forward until you hear “left” or “right”; you need to swerve the vehicle as quickly (and as safely) as possible to avoid a collision
- Crash prevention techniques, including proper following distances
- How to scan a roadway for potential safety hazards
Defensive Driving Courses May Encourage a Court to Drop Minor Traffic Violations
There’s one more hidden benefit of defensive driving courses. In some cases, a defensive driving course could save you from a ticket. Obviously, it’s not likely going to save you from a DUI or major at-fault collision. But if you were caught speeding or performing another minor violation, then the court may dismiss your charges.
Ultimately, 5% may not seem like a big discount. However, 5% can quickly add up. 5% off a $2000 annual insurance policy is $100. After 5 years, that’s a savings of $500.
The real value of a defensive driving course isn’t the money you save on your insurance plan: it’s the reduced likelihood of being in a collision. Taking a defensive driving course today may help you avoid an at-fault collision in the future.
If your defensive driving course prevents you from being in just one at-fault collision, it can easily save you thousands of dollars (not to mention the fact that it could save your life!).