How to Find Car Insurance Discounts Available to You and When Discounts Are Important

Car insurance discounts can offer significant opportunities for savings, especially common ones, like safe driving discounts and bundling home and auto insurance policies. However, what matters most is your final quote.

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Car insurance discounts can lower the price of car insurance and make it more affordable for many drivers. While the discounts offered by each insurer can vary, most have bundling, safe driving and good student discounts. Be sure to take advantage of all available discounts a provider has and then compare quotes with other insurance companies to find the best rate.

Farmers Insurance offers 21 discounts, the most of any car insurance company. GEICO, Liberty Mutual and Amica all tied for the second-highest number, with each providing 16 opportunities for savings. MoneyGeek found that USAA and GEICO offer the cheapest car insurance premiums before discounts.

Key Takeaways

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Discount deals can provide substantial savings, but your final quote is what matters most.

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The five most common discount types are driver profile, vehicle equipment, payment, policy and driver history.

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The best way to know if you’re getting all available discounts is to speak with an insurance representative.

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What to Know About Car Insurance Discounts

Car insurance discounts usually fall into five categories: driver profile, vehicle equipment, payment, policy and driver history discounts. The number of discounts you receive isn’t as significant as the final rate you pay for car insurance. Some of the most common discounts available are bundling, good student, safe driving and multiple cars discounts.

Types of Discounts

For example, your driving record and claim history determine if you qualify for driver history discounts. In addition, you could be eligible for vehicle equipment discounts if your car has certain safety features, such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights.

Categories of Car Insurance Discounts
  • Discount Type
    Description
  • Driver Profile
    This category considers personal factors, like your age, level of education, driving habits and years insured with one company to determine discount eligibility.
  • Vehicle Equipment
    Having a newer vehicle or installing certain features in your car — such as anti-theft systems or stability controls — can lower the cost of your car insurance.
  • Payment
    The way you pay for your policy and receive documents can reduce your car insurance premium. Going paperless, paying in full, scheduling automatic payments and signing up online can help you save.
  • Policy
    Bundling different policy types — like home, auto and renters — and insuring more than one car with the same company can earn you a discount deal on your car insurance.
  • Driver History
    Household driving history, including claims and ticket history, is used to determine car insurance discount eligibility for this category.

Your Final Discounted Rate Is the Most Important Number

Though it’s advantageous to get as many discounts as possible, the number you receive matters less than the final cost of car insurance.

For example, MoneyGeek found that Farmers Insurance offers the most deals of all car insurance companies, with 21 available. However, before discounts, Farmers costs $1,578 annually for full coverage car insurance while GEICO costs just $1,047 for the same coverage. That’s a $500 difference in rates, with GEICO being significantly cheaper than Farmers, even though Farmers has more discount deals available.

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KEY TAKEAWAY

For Farmers rates to equal GEICO’s pre-discount rate, you’d have to receive 34% off in discounts.

The Most Common Car Insurance Discounts

The five most common discounts available are bundling, safe driving, good student, multiple cars and anti-theft system discounts. MoneyGeek researched these discounts to see which insurers offer them and how much each can save you, if available.

Bundling Insurance Policy Discounts

Providers often give a bundling discount to customers who purchase home, car, motorcycle or boat insurance from the same carrier. Bundling home and auto is typically the most considerable discount available, potentially saving you up to $833 per year.

Safe Driving Discounts

The safe driving discount rewards you for maintaining a clean driving record. By avoiding tickets and accidents for at least three continuous years, you can significantly lower your car insurance premium. MoneyGeek found that most drivers pay on average $1,047 for GEICO car insurance per year. With a ticket, the rate increases to $1,407. After an accident, you’ll pay $1,660 for the same coverage.

Good Student Discounts

Full-time high school and college students under the age of 25 may qualify for good student discounts. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA and currently be in high school or college to be eligible for this discount. While the amount drivers can save can vary, State Farm offers up to 25% in savings and Progressive’s good student discount averages 10%, making these companies some of the best, most affordable insurance options for high school and college students.

Multiple Vehicle Discounts

If you own more than one car or live with a household member who also owns a car, you may be eligible for a multiple vehicle discount — as long as you’re insured with the same carrier. Discount savings vary by company, but drivers can save up to 25% with GEICO, 25% with Amica and 20% with State Farm by insuring more than one car.

Anti-Theft Discounts

Anti-theft devices lower the chance of vehicle theft, making you less risky to insure. As such, carriers reward customers for installing security devices like steering wheels or tire locks, electronic immobilizers, kill switches, VIN etching and vehicle tracking systems. How much you can save varies based on your installed devices and location. With GEICO — the provider that offers the highest anti-theft discounts among major car insurers — savings can range from 3–23%.

Car Insurance Discounts Offered by Major Insurers

Most major car insurance companies offer five categories of car insurance discounts: driver profile, vehicle equipment, payment, policy and driver history. Across all surveyed providers, MoneyGeek found 37 available discounts. However, keep in mind that not all are offered in every state or car insurance company.

Driver Profile Discounts

Driver profile discounts reward drivers for certain personal traits. For example, being a senior driver, a homeowner or a student earns you a discount with many providers. Depending on your driving profile, you may be eligible for more than one discount in the list below.

List of Driver Profile Discounts
  • Discount
    Description
  • Good Student
    Maintain a B or higher GPA as a full-time, unmarried student under the age of 25.
  • Distant Student
    Go to college over 100 miles from your family home without taking your car.
  • Homeowners
    Own a home, even if it isn’t insured with the same carrier.
  • Defensive Driving
    Complete a state-approved defensive driving course.
  • Driver’s Education
    Complete a state-approved driver’s education course.
  • Military Discount
    Be an active or past member of the military.
  • Affinity Discount
    Belong to certain personal, professional or school organizations.
  • Continuously Insured
    Be insured continuously, without a lapse in coverage.
  • Legacy
    If an adult child under a certain age was previously insured on a parent’s policy and they purchase their own policy with the same carrier, they may be eligible for a discount.
  • Emergency Deployment
    Be an active military member given emergency orders to deploy.
  • Federal Employee
    Be an active or retired federal employee.
  • Shared Family Car
    Have a driver 20 years or younger and more drivers than cars in your household.
  • Senior Driver
    Be a driver aged 55 or older and complete a state-approved driver training course in the last three years.

Vehicle Equipment Discounts

Drivers who purchase new cars or install certain safety features are eligible for vehicle equipment discounts. Some common savings available in this category are new vehicle, advanced safety feature and airbag discounts. Insurance providers often allow customers to stack these discounts for more savings. However, not all discounts are offered in all states and by all carriers.

List of Vehicle Equipment Discounts
  • Discount
    Description
  • Anti-Theft System
    Systems used to deter theft, such as a factory-installed car alarm activated by a remote.
  • Air Bag
    Having one or more airbags installed in the car.
  • Anti-Lock Brakes
    An automatic braking system that improves traction control and reduces the risk of accidents.
  • New Vehicle
    Owning a car within the last two to three model years.
  • Daytime Running Lights
    Automatic headlights that activate when the car is turned on.
  • Advanced Safety Features
    Features used to reduce accidents, like adaptive headlights or electronic stability control.
  • Alternative Energy
    Vehicles powered by any fuel other than gas — available in select states.
  • Honing Device
    A location tracking feature that can be used to find a car that’s lost or stolen.
  • VIN Etching
    Unique to your vehicle and etched into each window to make your car easier to identify if it’s lost or stolen.

Payment Discounts

Drivers can take advantage of payment discounts by paying their bills in full, setting up automatic payment and going paperless. The more you pay your bill on time and use technology to manage your car insurance, the more discounts available to you in this category.

List of Payment Discounts
  • Discount
    Description
  • Paperless
    Receive policy documents electronically.
  • Automatic Payment
    Set up automatic payments directly from a checking or savings account.
  • Pay in Full
    Pay your premium in full rather than monthly installments.
  • Sign Up Online
    Sign up for insurance coverage online.
  • Early Signing
    Sign up for insurance before the renewal date of your previous policy.
  • Responsible Payment
    Pay bills early or on time over 12 months.
  • Internet
    Receive a quote online.

Policy Discounts

Policy discounts are offered to drivers who bundle their insurance policies or insure multiple cars under the same policy. In addition, drivers who pay for insurance while their vehicles are in storage may also be eligible for a policy discount. Not all states and insurance companies offer policy discounts, so be sure to check with your provider to see if you qualify.

List of Policy Discounts
  • Discount
    Description
  • Bundling
    Insure more than one policy type with the same carrier, such as home and car insurance.
  • Multiple Cars
    Insure more than one car with the same carrier.
  • Vehicle Storage
    Store a car while maintaining insurance and potentially save up to 60% on premiums.

Driver History Discounts

Driver history discounts benefit people with good driving habits. Save money on your premiums and get deals in this category by driving safely, using a seatbelt, driving less and staying with the same carrier. Availability and amount of savings for these discounts vary by state and carrier.

List of Driver History Discounts
  • Discount
    Description
  • Safe Driving
    Remain claim-free for several consecutive years, to be determined by each company.
  • Accident Forgiveness
    This benefit prevents your rates from going up after your first at-fault accident.
  • Seat Belt Use
    Available for anyone who always wears their seat belt.
  • Mileage
    Drive fewer miles every year to save on your premiums.
  • Loyalty
    Stay with the same carrier for a certain length of time to receive this discount.

Companies That Offer the Most Car Insurance Discounts

While most insurance companies have the same core discounts available, some offer many more to attract customers. Farmers, GEICO, Liberty Mutual and Amica offer the most discounts while Esurance, AAA and Nationwide offer the fewest available discounts.

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  • Company
    Number of Discounts
  • 1.
    Farmers
    21
  • 2.
    GEICO
    16
  • 3.
    Liberty Mutual
    16
  • 4.
    Amica
    16
  • 5.
    Allstate
    14
  • 6.
    Progressive
    13
  • 7.
    USAA
    12
  • 8.
    State Farm
    10
  • 9.
    Nationwide
    7
  • 10.
    AAA
    5
  • 11.
    Esurance
    3

Farmers Discounts

Farmers boasts the most car insurance discounts of any carrier. The company also provides more vehicle equipment discounts than its competitors, including discounts for VIN etching, anti-theft systems, alternative energy, anti-lock brakes and more.

  • Standout discount: Farmers Insurance offers a honing device discount, which allows drivers to save if they install a device in their vehicle that tracks their location. This device can help drivers relocate their car if it’s stolen.
  • Standout discount: Farmers is the only company on our list to have a senior discount, which gives reduced premium rates to people over 55 who have completed state-approved safe driver training in the last three years.

GEICO Discounts

GEICO offers 16 available discounts, with most discounts under the driver profile discount category.

  • Standout discount: GEICO offers a federal employee discount to active and retired federal employees.
  • Standout discount: GEICO offers an emergency deployment discount, allowing military drivers to save on their premiums if deployed for an emergency.

Liberty Mutual Discounts

Liberty Mutual has 16 discounts across a broad range of discount categories.

  • Standout discount: Liberty Mutual helps drivers of hybrid or electric cars save on their car insurance with alternative energy discounts.
  • Standout discount: Liberty Mutual offers a military discount for active, retired and reserved military insureds.

Amica Discounts

Amica has 16 discounts, with the most discounts available in the driver profile category.

  • Standout discount: Amica offers a legacy discount, which allows drivers under 30 who were insured on their parents’ Amica policy for at least five years to receive a discount on their own policy.

Allstate Discounts

Allstate offers 14 discounts, with most discounts available in the payment history category.

  • Standout discount: Allstate offers a responsible payment discount, allowing drivers who don’t receive a cancellation notice for non-payment within a 12-month period to score savings on their car insurance.

Progressive Discounts

Progressive Insurance provides 13 discounts, with most discounts offered in the payment category.

  • Standout discount: Progressive is the only company MoneyGeek surveyed that has accident forgiveness, which prevents your insurance rates from increasing after your first at-fault accident.
  • Standout discount: Progressive makes signing up for car insurance easy and affordable by offering their customers an internet discount for enrolling in their policy online.

USAA Discounts

USAA has 12 discounts, primarily in the driver profile category.

  • Standout discount: USAA offers a vehicle storage discount, which allows drivers who insure store their car while it’s in storage to save up to 60% on car insurance.
  • Standout discount: USAA offers a driver’s education discount, which gives drivers a discount for completing an approved driver safety course.

State Farm Discounts

State Farm gives customers ten opportunities for discounts, mostly in the driver profile and vehicle equipment categories.

  • Standout discount: State Farm offers a defensive driving discount, which allows drivers who complete a defensive driving course additional savings.
  • Standout discount: Drivers under 21 who complete an approved driver education course are eligible for State Farm’s driver’s education discount.

Nationwide Discounts

Nationwide Insurance offers seven discounts on car insurance, with most in the driver profile and payment categories. However, most of these discounts are fairly standard and provided by most other companies. Drivers can take advantage of discounts for bundling, making automatic payments and going paperless. Nationwide also awards good student, safe driving, defensive driving and anti-theft system discounts to its customers.

AAA Discounts

AAA offers just five discounts. These include bundling, multiple cars, early signing and anti-theft system discounts.

  • Standout discount: AAA offers an affinity organization discount, which allows drivers in a qualifying partner organization or professional group additional savings on their car insurance.

Esurance Discounts

Esurance has the fewest available discounts of the companies we surveyed, with a total of three discounts. These discounts fall into the policy and payment categories and include bundling, homeowners and online sign-up. Since Esurance does not offer home insurance, drivers can save if they bundle renters and car insurance policies.

How to Get Car Insurance Discounts

Even though most insurance companies offer discounts, they’re not always applied automatically. To ensure you receive all the discounts you’re eligible for, you may have to take a few extra steps.

1

Get a Quote

Whether you shop online or through an agent, start the process by getting an estimate of your premium costs.

2

Review Available Discounts

Once you receive your quote, compare the applied discounts to the savings available through the company.

3

Ask About Unapplied Discounts

If you feel you deserve a deal that wasn’t applied and is available through the carrier, ask why it wasn’t used and see if you can include it in your quote.

4

Shop Around

Shop around with other insurance carriers to find the best deal on car insurance. Keep in mind that some companies that don’t offer a robust selection of coupons still have affordable rates, like USAA.

Methodology

MoneyGeek uses data and information collected and analyzed from state departments of insurance and Quadrant Information Services to determine discounts and category types for each carrier.

Sample rates are for a sample driver profile of a 40-year-old male with a clean driving record who drives 12,000 per year in a 2010 Toyota Camry LE. These premiums are for a policy with 100/300/100 liability limits and comprehensive and collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

About the Author


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Mandy Sleight is a professional freelance writer and licensed insurance agent. She has her property, casualty, life, and health licenses and has been working in the industry since 2005. Mandy has worked for well-known insurance companies like State Farm and Nationwide Insurance, and most recently as the Operations Coordinator for a start-up employee benefits company.

Mandy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Baltimore and her Master in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University. She uses her vast knowledge of the insurance industry and personal finance combined with her writing background to create easy-to-understand and engaging content to help readers make smarter choices with their budget and finances.