Defensive Driving and Driver Training Car Insurance Discounts

Auto insurance companies offer discounts for drivers who complete defensive driving courses. These courses can be completed quickly and cheaply and are worth their weight in gold, providing a host of benefits that far outweigh the cost and the time it takes to complete them.

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What are Defensive Driving Courses?

A defensive driving course often takes just 4 or 5 hours to complete and is staged over the course of a single day or weekend.

The course covers safe driving essentials, including driver training, local driving laws, and more. Drivers will learn the tricks and techniques needed to stay safe on the roads, and that, in turn, will reduce their chances of being involved in a car accident.

This is where driver education discounts come in. Insurers acknowledge that an experienced and knowledgeable driver is a safe driver, and that’s the type of driver they appreciate the most. 

Defensive driving courses can also be used to offset some traffic tickets, reducing the fines and the damage of moving violations.

Car Insurance Discounts for Driver Courses

Auto insurance discounts vary from state to state and provider to provider. Some states have mandatory discounts, which means that all insurance carriers must offer them. Such is the case with many good student discounts and senior discounts. In most cases, however, it’s all down to the insurance carrier.

Car insurance discounts are there to reward low-risk behavior and to encourage specific habits. Defensive driving classes are the best example of this. Insurers know that drivers who complete these courses are less likely to be involved in an accident and better equipped to avoid catastrophic damage should a mishap occur.

Defensive driver courses will typically reduce your rates for 3 to 5 years. Once that period has passed, you can simply take another course (if you meet the eligibility requirements) and get another discount.

Who is Eligible for a Defensive Driver Discount?

The most eligible drivers are the ones in the highest-risk category, including young drivers and senior drivers. Young drivers are particularly at a disadvantage. A 16-year-old driver is considerably more likely to be involved in an accident than a more experienced driver just 2 or 3 years older than them. As a result, they are quoted significantly higher car insurance premiums and need discounts like this to make those premiums more manageable.

But you don’t have to be in a high-risk category to get a driving course discount. In some states, including New York, insurers are required to offer driver safety course discounts to all age groups.

Furthermore, and as noted above, the onus is on the insurance company to offer these courses in other states and because they can reduce claims, many of them do.

Online Defensive Driving Courses vs Offline Courses

Driving techniques can be taught online or offline. The courses typically cost between $20 and $100 and take just a few hours. Online courses are generally a much cheaper option and can be completed in your own time. However, many of these courses are not accredited and, as a result, may not result in a discount.

At the end of accredited online and offline courses, drivers will get a certificate of completion. In some states, these courses are spread across an entire weekend, with drivers required to work for between 4 to 6 hours each day. Your state laws will dictate how intensive the driving courses are in your area.

With online courses, you will be provided with the information you need via text, video, and images. Offline courses, on the other hand, occur in a classroom alongside multiple other students.

Before making it to the course completion, you will be expected to learn all of the following:

  • Safety Statistics: How many drivers die on the roads every day, at what times are you most likely to have an accident and what activities trigger these accidents the most? These are the statistics you will learn during your course.
  • State Traffic Laws? Do you know all the laws of the road in your state? Probably not, but the course can help you with this. 
  • Driver Techniques: Geared towards driver improvement, this aspect of the course will ensure you know how to avoid accidents and understand what you need to do if the threat of an accident is looming.

You need to pay close attention throughout this course, because you won’t get a defensive driving discount unless you pass a test at the end.

Which Insurance Companies Offer Driver Training Discounts?

The majority of top insurance companies in the United States offer defensive driving discounts, with very few exceptions. However, these discounts differ greatly depending on location and demographic:

  • Allstate: Discount requirements and amounts vary by state.
  • American Family: Only offers discounts to drivers aged 55 or older, with between 5% and 10% offered depending on the state.
  • Esurance: Older drivers can get up to 5%, while younger drivers can save as much as 15%.
  • Farmers: Amount varies, and discounts are only offered to drivers aged 65 or older.
  • GEICO: Only offers discounts to drivers aged 50 or older, with between 5% and 20% offered depending on the state.
  • Liberty Mutual: Discount amounts vary by state and are only offered to drivers under 20.
  • MetLife: Discount requirements vary by state and range from between 5% and 10%.
  • Nationwide: Discount amounts vary by state and are only offered to drivers aged 55 or older.
  • State Farm: Discount amounts vary by state and are only offered to drivers under 25.
  • The Hartford: Drivers of any age can secure a discount of up to 10%.
  • Travelers: Discount amounts vary by state and are only offered to drivers under 25.
  • USAA: Discount amounts vary by state and are only offered to drivers under 25.

Defensive Driver Discounts by State

To give you an idea of how much you can save based on your state, take a look at the list below. The following information is taken from GEICO, which offers some of the biggest discounts across most states:

  • Alabama: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Alaska: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old without an at-fault accident or traffic violation.
  • Arizona: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Arkansas: Driver Course Discount Available = 15%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • California: Driver Course Discount Available = 5%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Colorado: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Connecticut: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Delaware: Driver Course Discount Available = 15%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Florida: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old or 55 in some cases.
  • Georgia: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must not have been involved in an at-fault accident or have a violation on your driving record.
  • Hawaii: Defensive Driver Discounts Not Available in Hawaii.
  • Idaho: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old without an at-fault accident or traffic violation.
  • Illinois: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 55 years old.
  • Indiana: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 55 years old.
  • Iowa: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. No Strict Eligibility Requirements.
  • Kansas: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Kentucky: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old or a member of the military.
  • Louisiana: Driver Course Discount Available = 15%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Maine: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old. No one in your household can be subject to a driver’s license suspension.
  • Maryland: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Massachusetts: Defensive Driver Discounts Not Available in Massachusetts.
  • Michigan: Defensive Driver Discounts Not Available in Michigan.
  • Minnesota: Driver Course Discount Available = 12%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Mississippi: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old without an at-fault accident or traffic violation.
  • Missouri: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Montana: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old (or in the National Guard) without an at-fault accident or traffic violation.
  • Nebraska: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Nevada: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old without an at-fault accident or traffic violation.
  • New Hampshire: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • New Jersey: Driver Course Discount Available = 5%. No Strict Eligibility Requirements.
  • New Mexico: Driver Course Discount Available = 20%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • New York: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. No Strict Eligibility Requirements.
  • North Carolina: Defensive Driver Discounts Not Available in North Carolina.
  • North Dakota: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. No Strict Eligibility Requirements.
  • Ohio: Driver Course Discount Available = Varies. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Oklahoma: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. No strict eligibility requirements.
  • Oregon: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old or 55 in some instances.
  • Pennsylvania: Driver Course Discount Available = Varies. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old, without traffic tickets or at-fault accidents.
  • Rhode Island: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • South Carolina: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. No strict eligibility requirements.
  • South Dakota: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. No strict eligibility requirements.
  • Tennessee: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old, with no convictions or tickets and without a suspended license.
  • Texas: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Utah: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old and without a traffic violation.
  • Vermont: Defensive Driver Discounts Not Available in Vermont.
  • Virginia: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 55 years old.
  • Washington: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Washington DC: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • West Virginia: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Wisconsin: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.
  • Wyoming: Driver Course Discount Available = 10%. Eligibility Requirements = Must be at least 50 years old.

In most states, including many of those with no age requirements, discounts will only be offered if the courses were completely voluntary, and not if they were ordered by the state.

Bottom Line: Insurance Rates and Driving Skills

Defensive driving discounts are great, especially if you meet the requirements needed to secure 10% or more. For the sake of a few bucks spent on a driver’s course and a few hours at traffic school, you simply can’t complain.

And the benefits don’t end with discounts. Driving courses will make you a more appealing prospect to your insurance provider now and in the future and they will also limit your risk behind the wheel. There is less chance you’ll have minor accidents, which means there’s less chance of losing money with out-of-pocket expenses and being forced to watch as your rates increase. 

More importantly, you’re less likely to be involved in a serious accident, and you can’t put a price on safety and the peace of mind that comes with it.