Save Money On Car Insurance – Defensive Driving Course

One of the most frustrating monthly expenses for me is car insurance. It’s a necessary expenses, but it never seems to make sense to me. I was constantly told that my rates would drop as I got older, especially as my car aged. This never seemed to be quite so true, and I never really saw the savings. Not to mention my insurance company is highly rated when it comes to actually making a claim and even personal references from everyone I know – nobody ever has a negative thing to say about them. It has led to be to afraid of switching to a huge company like Geico where you read a lot of negative stories about the claims process. I have reached out and gotten quotes from other highly rated insurers, but many times the rate was not that much different or was actually more expensive. You can always adjust your coverage to save some money, but in many cases that’s not worth it either.

So if we ignore all the factors of adjusting your coverage and increasing your deductibles to save money on car insurance, there is actually a really simple way to lower the amount that you pay for car insurance. That method is through a defensive driving course that can be taken in person or many states offer online alternatives. You may have heard of someone taking a defensive driving course when they received a ticket to lower the offense or reduce the amount of points they received on their license. The fact is that you can also take a defensive driving course voluntarily to receive a discount on your car insurance!

Most states offer a 5%-15% discount on your certain portions of your car insurance from taking a defensive driving course and the course is valid for up to 3 years. Many online versions of the courses only cost you $20 and you will likely end up saving hundreds of dollars over those 3 years, so I think that it’s a great value. The courses run for about 6 hours worth of content and then there is a test at the end, and I didn’t find the test or the course itself to be difficult at all.

Here are the applicable portions of my insurance (yearly cost) before taking a defensive driving course:

  • Liability: $570
  • Personal Injury Protection: $178
  • Collision: $798

Here is my insurance after the 5% discount:

  • Liability: $541
  • Personal Injury Protection: $169
  • Collision: $758

So I paid $20 for the defensive driving course, and I’m going to be saving a total of $78 just in the first year. If I estimate to save $70 next year and then $65 the year after, I’ll end up saving a total of $213 in those three years for $193 in actual savings after the cost of the class. Obviously if your insurance is cheaper than mine (it probably is), make sure you do some math to make sure the savings make sense for you. If you’re in a state that offers a 10% discount, that makes it even easier for you to save money.

The only states that do not offer defensive driving discounts are:

  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • North Carolina
  • Vermont

And if there is one takeaway that sticks with you from a defensive driving course, hopefully it is the importance of following distance. So many people tailgate while driving 65 MPH+ on the highway without realizing that it’s not humanly possible to stop in enough time to prevent a collision! Leave some more distance between you and the car in front of you and give yourself some more reaction time. 90% of the time when you rear end another vehicle the accident is going to be your fault. By staying alert and keeping a safe following distance, you can avoid ever getting into an accident like that.

photo credit: _WIL0876 via photopin (license)

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4 Comments

  1. Just looked at this but unfortunately everything I’ve seen Progressive doesn’t offer any additional discount for taking the course. I may contact them just to double check. Nice write-up!
    -Rich

    1. I tried doing some searching on your Progressive issue and didn’t find it clear whether they offered defensive driving discounts. It seems that if they aren’t advertising – it’s more likely that they don’t offer the discount.

  2. Tiny savings over a year but you keep optimizing your expenses like that and soon you’ll have a nice big cash flow into your investments from what seemed like trivial tiny amounts of money.
    I might have to look into that. I’m 28 now and my insurance really hasn’t gone down either. no accidents or tickets in over 7 years.
    @ Redeemed, I have Progressive too, that sucks if true.

    1. That’s a good point, I think most people think they can’t save a large amount of money, so then they don’t bother. But if you slowly optimize each expense and it adds up to a ton of money!

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