How to Get a Defensive Driving Discount

A defensive driving discount can save you a significant amount of money. Depending on the insurer, qualification rules may vary. Learn more about the benefits this discount offers and how you can get one.

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure
Last Updated: 11/8/2022
2 Expert Contributions
Written By     |  
This is an icon

Methodology

Why Trust MoneyGeek? A defensive driving discount can lower your car insurance cost. To help you better understand the topic, we consulted several experts and asked for their insights. MoneyGeek follows a thorough research methodology to ensure our data is correct and our suggestions are relevant to the average driver. When producing this page, our subject matter expert followed a multistep writing process that involved fact-checking and editorial review.

What Is Defensive Driving Discount?

Various factors affect the cost of auto insurance — driver’s age, history and car type are just a few of them. Depending on your profile and circumstances, you may find you qualify for saving opportunities, such as the defensive driving discount.

Many insurance companies offer driver’s this discount as a reward for completing defensive driving courses. This type of road safety training can decrease the risk of getting into an accident. The qualifying requirements and rules vary. Shop around and compare offerings to find the best deals.

Loading...

Does Defensive Driving Discount Lower Your Car Insurance Rate?

Depending on your needs and circumstances, your auto insurance costs can vary. For instance, new drivers can get cheap insurance, but often pay higher costs because they’re presumed riskier compared to experienced drivers.

Fortunately, there are ways to lower car insurance rates. One of these is through discounts. If you have completed a defensive driving course or are thinking of participating in one, you may qualify for a defensive driving discount. With this discount, you can receive 5%-20% off your dues, depending on your location and insurance company.

tip icon
DEFENSIVE DRIVING COURSE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

A defensive driving course usually lasts six to eight hours. However, shorter courses finish within three to four hours. Meanwhile, longer sessions require 10 to 12 hours.

While defensive driving courses may vary depending on the service provider, there are certain aspects to expect. For instance, a class will include lessons about road risks, perceptions, driving conditions and safe driving techniques.

An illustration of a woman who is qualified for a defensive driving discount.

Qualifying for Defensive Driving Discount

A defensive driving course insurance discount can help reduce your car insurance costs. However, not all drivers qualify for this discount. Depending on the insurance company, qualification requirements vary, but will likely include taking a defensive driving course. How much of a discount a driver can receive may also differ depending on driving history and age.

  • This is an icon

    Age

    Drivers under 25 and those over 60-years-old are typically the groups eligible for the discount. That’s because individuals in these age groups are considered the most at-risk of getting into an auto accident.

  • This is an icon

    Location

    States may also have laws related to defensive driving discount eligibility. In some cases, insurers are required to offer this discount to all drivers regardless of age.

  • This is an icon

    Course type

    Not all defensive driving courses are the same. Each insurer has rules and requirements for eligibility. For instance, some online classes may not be accredited. Some insurance providers may only accept specific courses.

  • This is an icon

    Insurance provider

    Depending on the insurance carrier, there may be additional eligibility requirements. For example, some companies may require drivers to not have recent at-fault accident claims or violations to become eligible.



tip icon
DEFENSIVE DRIVING DISCOUNT: EXCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS

To qualify for a defensive driving discount, you must meet the age and course requirements. Depending on the insurer, there may be other qualification rules. For instance, you may need a clean driving record for a certain number of years and you shouldn’t have violations on your driving record.

Check with your insurer first to discuss necessary requirements, such as paying for a course that’s not accredited.

5 Steps to Earn the Discount

Creating a defensive driving account is one of the first things you need to have to be able to qualify for a defensive driving course insurance discount. The following steps can help you get started.

1

Look for a policy from an insurer offering a defensive driving discount

Not all companies offer this discount. Research companies that do. Then, compare their rates and policy offers. Generally, the best car insurance company is one that offers a balance of affordability and quality service. Once you choose an insurer, take note of their eligibility requirements for the discount.

2

Check state-approved courses

Some states may have a list of certified courses that you can take. You can check this with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or a similar agency.

3

Take the course

Choose the defensive driving course accredited by the insurance company you have chosen and certified by the state. Depending on your circumstances, you can take a class online or in person.

4

Complete the course

In most cases, a defensive driving course includes understanding risks, traffic laws and defensive driving techniques. Make sure you complete the training and pass the course.

5

Submit the necessary documents to your car insurance company

Once you get a certification, you can proceed with the application for the discount. Send the necessary information and documents to your insurer. Wait for their decision whether you can get the discount or not.

An illustration of a woman discussing defensive driving discounts with her auto insurance representative.

Auto Insurance Companies With Defensive Driving Discounts

One of the most important factors you need to consider when looking for defensive driving course insurance discounts is the insurance provider. While most major companies offer this type of discount, there are some that don’t. Additionally, the discount amount and eligibility requirements may vary for each insurer. The following insurers offer a defensive driving discount.

  • Company
    Requirement
    Discount Amount
    Additional Information
  • The defensive driver
    discount is available to
    drivers over the age of 55.

    Varies by state

    To be eligible, drivers must
    complete an approved
    driver course and live in
    Colorado, Georgia, Idaho,
    Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota,
    Nevada, North Dakota,
    Ohio, Oregon, Utah or
    Washington.

  • Age requirement varies per
    state.

    Not disclosed

    Qualified drivers must
    complete an approved
    driving course.

  • Drivers who are at least
    65-years-old (or 55 in
    some states) may qualify
    for the Senior Defensive
    Driver Discount.

    Not disclosed

    The driver has to complete a
    Driver’s Education course
    approved by the state DMV.
    You should also provide
    a certificate of completion
    from the agency.

  • GEICO has two types of
    discounts under driver’s
    education. These are the
    defensive driving and
    the driver’s educational
    course.

    Varies between
    states

    Eligibility requirements vary
    depending on the state.

  • Drivers who are 55- years-old
    or older in select states may
    qualify for a defensive driving
    discount.

    Not disclosed

    To qualify, drivers must have
    no at-fault accidents in the
    past 35 months and have
    completed a state-approved
    course.

  • Taking a defensive driving
    course may help you get a
    discount. This may vary per
    state.

    Depends on
    the state

    Interested drivers may know
    more about this discount by
    talking to a local State Farm
    agent.

  • Eligible drivers can get a
    discount after completing
    a basic driver training
    course.

    Not disclosed

    USAA products are only
    available to active-duty
    military members, veterans
    and military families.

    This is not available in Hawaii
    and North Carolina.

Is Taking a Defensive Driving Class Worth the Cost?

A defensive driving class can help ensure you remain a safe driver and therefore, reduce the risk of an accident. Aside from this, completing a course may also help you become eligible for a defensive driving discount. Depending on the company and the state, this could be between 5%-20%.

How Much You Can Save

The average cost of car insurance is $1,424 per year. Let’s say you take a defensive driving course for $50. You then qualify for a 10% defensive driving discount good for three years. This means you will save $142.40 per year or a total of $427.20 in three years.

That said, it is important for you to evaluate your circumstances and needs. Comparing companies may also help you find more affordable defensive driving courses.

tip icon
ENSURE YOUR DISCOUNT IS ACTIVE

A defensive driving course certificate generally lasts for about three years, which is also the typical period for a defensive driving insurance course discount. This means you may have to complete a state-approved defensive driving class after the end of your discount term to keep it active. You can check with your insurer to learn more about the length of your discount.

An illustration of a man discussing with his wife if they should do a defensive driving course.

Other Reasons Why Defensive Driving Class May Be Good for You

A defensive driving class may offer various benefits. With the right course, you can learn techniques to become a safer driver. You can also get expert advice from highly qualified instructors. This can help reduce your risk of getting in an accident and may improve your driving record in the long run.

1

Refresh your knowledge

Some drivers, even experienced ones, could use a refresher when it comes to driving laws. Taking a defensive driving course can help ensure that you are updated about traffic regulations and can provide you with some new information you don’t know.

2

Increase your safety awareness

Driving can be dangerous. That’s why it’s important to be well-equipped with the right skills and knowledge. A defensive driver course can help make you a safer driver.

3

Improve your record

Having a violation on your driving record can affect you for years. However, taking a defensive driving course can prove that you are trying to improve your overall driving awareness. It may help take a few negative points off your driving record.

4

Save lives

Being a safe driver can help you save a life. By being responsible on the road, you lower the risk of causing an accident that can affect other people’s lives.

Defensive Driving Discount FAQs

MoneyGeek answers some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you better understand defensive driving courses and discounts.

Expert Insights

While a defensive driving discount can help save money on auto insurance, it may not be for every driver. MoneyGeek asked industry experts to share some insights that may help you in making well-informed decisions when choosing the best auto insurance and discounts.

  1. What are alternative options for drivers who do not qualify for defensive driving discounts?
  2. What is the best way to evaluate whether getting a defensive driving discount is worth it?
  3. Any tips on how to find the best defensive driving course?
Patti Clement
Patti Clement

Senior Vice President of Private Client Advisors at HUB International Private Client Services

Lauren Mckenzie
Lauren Mckenzie

Insurance Agent and Broker at A Plus Insurance

Related Content

Being a defensive driver can not only save you money, it can save lives. The following resources can help you learn more about driver safety, the best insurance coverage, how to avoid road dangers and more.

  • A Guide to Teaching Children Traffic Road and Safety: Find out the road dangers and risks, especially for children. Learn how you can teach your children road safety.
  • Best Car Insurance Guide: Find the best auto insurance company based on different driver profiles. MoneyGeek ranks the top insurers for different states and found the best option for service, budget and new cars, among others.
  • How Does Car Insurance Work: Learn more about car insurance, how it works and how you can find the right policy coverage.
  • Senior Driving Guide: Driving needs change as you grow older. Learn how you can stay safe and maintain your independence as a driver even as a senior in this guide.
  • Winter Driving Dangers and How to Avoid Them: Be familiar with the common driving dangers and the most dangerous states during winter. Get tips on how you can stay safe on the road during winter.

About the Author


expert-profile

Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.