Finding the Best Auto Insurance Discounts
You received your most recent car insurance bill in the mail and gasped.
You’ve known for a while that car insurance rates were on the rise, but you didn’t expect to see those figures staring back at you.
Now, you’re left wondering: Are there any auto insurance discounts that apply to me? How can I get a lower car insurance premium? Turns out, there are myriad different kinds of rewards and promotions that you might be eligible to receive. Unfortunately, most motorists are unaware of these programs and haven’t tapped into them.
That’s why we’re here.
Today, we’re sharing an in-depth guide to the different kinds of auto insurance discounts to look into, and how you can start reaping the rewards as soon as possible.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
The Four Different Types of Auto Insurance Discounts
Although these auto insurance discounts are wide and varied, most fall into four main categories. These include:
- Driver safety discounts
- Driver status discounts
- Insurance policy discounts
- Vehicle-specific discounts
Let’s take a look at each one of these categories in greater detail.
Driver Safety Discounts
For the most part, your driving record is pretty clean. Your ticket infractions are minimal or non-existent, you follow the speed limit and you obey all traffic signs. Shouldn’t your auto insurance company reward you for your efforts?
You might be eligible for these and not even realize it. Good driver discounts are far and away the most common types that auto insurance discounts that insurers offer. When you apply them to your current rates, you can notice a significant difference almost immediately.
The catch? Not all driver safety discounts are created equal. They’re designed to reward different types of good behavior on the road.
The types of discounts include those for:
- Defensive driving
- Safe driving
- Good driving (No accidents)
- Low mileage
Check with your auto insurance company to see if they offer any or all of these discounts. Many insurers will provide a discount for some behaviors, such as defensive driving, but not for all of them.
Not sure if you qualify for any of them? Let’s review what each one means.
Defensive Driving Discounts
No, you can’t just receive a discount for driving defensively every time you get behind the wheel. Rather, your insurer will want to see proof that you’ve studied the specifics of this approach. As such, most will require that you complete official defensive driving lessons from a registered or certified driving school in your area.
These lessons will cover a range of topics that can help you become a more aware and responsive driver. Specific discussion points include how to assess road conditions, traffic patterns, and adverse weather events.
While the coursework itself might seem like a burden, the effort is worth it. Drivers who complete approved lessons could quality for 10% to 15% on their auto insurance coverages for:
- Personal injury
- Medical payment
Looking for a class near you? You’ve come to the right place. We offer online defensive driving courses across the country. Start by selecting your state and follow the steps to register today!
If you’re signing up for a new policy, be sure to mention that you’ve taken this course before you complete your application so you can apply for the most competitive rates. If you’re in the middle of an existing policy, most insurers will update your rate once the course is finished.
Some will require a six-hour course while others are satisfied with a one-hour course. Either way, we’ve got you covered with full-video, mobile-friendly courses for an affordable rate.
One consideration to keep in mind? Some insurers will only consider a defensive driving course eligible for a policy discount if you’re a senior citizen. Ask about this before signing up for the course.
Safe Driving Discounts
You learned about the habits of a safe driver years ago in your driver’s education course. You know to always wear your seatbelt, check your mirrors, use your turn signals, and more. If you still adhere to those habits today, your auto insurance company might reward you with a discount.
Some of the actions you’ll need to follow include:
- Making sure all of your passengers wear seatbelts
- Maintaining low driving speeds
- Braking gently
Some insurers will discount your liability and collision premiums by 10% or more if there’s a record that you’ve followed these steps.
Good Driving/No Accident Discounts
Some insurers will look at your driving history and group safe driving and good driving together when considering your overall discount. Yet, others will rank them separately.
What does it mean to be a good driver? The answer isn’t as vague as it sounds. If you’ve been accident-free for three to five years, most insurers consider this to be all the evidence they need. Still, it’s smart to check with yours to see what their exact definition is before moving forward.
Most of the time, you don’t need to call and argue your case. The insurance company is keeping track of all accidents (even minor bump-ups) so when it’s time to apply the discount, they will do so.
The best part? Even if you don’t qualify for this particular discount when you sign up for a new policy, you can still cash in on it later. If you can keep your track record clean for your insurer’s required time period, you should be able to lower your policy at your next renewal.
Low Mileage Discounts
Do you only use your car a few times a week? If you’re not behind the wheel that often, the insurance company doesn’t consider you as risky or expensive to insure. This could equal a discount for you!
When you sign up for a new quote, most will inquire about your annual mileage. Be honest and accurate here. If you drive fewer than 7,500 miles, you could notice some pretty substantial savings that could reach as high as 20%!
The only caveat? Some insurers will require that you sign up for their monitoring service, which keeps track of every time you hit the road. If you have nothing to hide, it’s easy to agree to this request and well worth it.
Driver Status Discounts
Unlike the discounts described above, these reductions aren’t based on your driving habits. Rather, they consider who you are as a person, both behind and away from the wheel.
Wondering if you qualify? Below are a few of the most common characteristics that most insurers will reward:
- Good student
- Military personnel or federal employee
- Student away from home
- Senior citizen
- Corporate or academic professional
Good Student Discounts
If you’re a young driver, you’ll undoubtedly see some of the highest premiums around. One way to help lower those costs? Keep studying! Some insurers will give discounts of up to 25% if you can maintain an average of a B or higher.
To be eligible, drivers must be full-time students willing to provide a copy of their school records to the insurance agency.
Military Personnel or Federal Employee Discounts
Have you served your country in either a military or federal government capacity? If so, make sure to mention this when applying for auto insurance. Many companies offer a discount for those in your shoes, with some reaching as high as 15%.
The range of employees that this category covers includes:
- Active service members
- Federal employees
- Those retired from federal service
Keep in mind that in addition to a lower rate on your standard auto insurance premium, you could also qualify to receive your insurance coverage completely through companies that cater to military and defense personnel.
Student Away from Home Discounts
Parents, here’s another one for you. Did your child go off to college and leave his or her car at home? If so, let your insurer know.
If the college they attend is more than 100 miles from your home, you could qualify for a discount. In fact, some companies will reduce your liability premium by up to 25%!
Senior Citizen Discounts
If you’re 55 years old or older, you’re considered a “senior” or “mature” driver. As such, your auto insurance company could reduce your basic liability coverage, physical damage coverage or both, with savings of up to 10%.
Want to see even more savings? Some will also bump up your discount if you take an online Mature Driver Improvement course.
Corporate or Academic Professional Discounts
Before you sign on your new auto policy, talk to your employer. Many organizations will have partnerships with local insurance companies that allow their employees to receive discounted rates for insuring their vehicles.
The most common organizations include trade organizations, professional organizations, and university alumni groups. Though these discounts are on the lower side (around 3% to 5%), every little bit helps.
Insurance Policy Discounts
Did you know that you can make certain adjustments to your insurance policy that can affect your rates? This next group of discounts is centered on your policy itself rather than who you are as a driver or person.
The different policy types eligible for a discount include:
- Homeowner car insurance policies
- Multi-car policies
- Early-signed policies
- Paid-in-full policies
- Auto payment policies
- Loyal customer policies
Homeowner Car Insurance Discounts
Even if you haven’t purchased a homeowner’s policy through your auto insurance company, check about this discount because you could still be considered a qualifying homeowner. The premiums this normally affects include:
- Physical damage
- Personal injury protection
- Uninsured motorist
Do you plan to cover more than one vehicle on your insurance plan? If so, many insurers will give you a discount on your overall numbers, with some as high as 25%. The only catch is that most will require that all the drivers using the cars under the policy be related by either blood or marriage.
You might be eligible if you and your roommate jointly own or share a vehicle, so ask!
Are you looking for whole-family protection? If so, why not consider bundling your home and auto insurance? You could qualify for a lower rate when you apply this way. A few of the most common policy combinations include:
- Auto + home
- Auto + boat
- Auto + home + umbrella
Your auto-specific discount could range between 5% and 25% when you combine your coverage this way.
Early-Signed Policy Discounts
While it might be a little more difficult to find this type of discount, ask anyway. If you’re able to sign a new policy before your current policy expires, your insurance company could reward you with a discount of up to 10%.
Paid-in-Full Policy Discounts
Are you able to pay for your entire six-month or 12-month policy in one lump payment by the first effective date? When you do, some companies will reward you with a discount of up to 10% off your premium. Remember to look for this option when you’re filling out the paperwork!
Auto Payment Discounts
If you’re covered by a smaller, local insurance agency, this type of discount might not apply to you. Yet, if you receive coverage from a larger, national chain, see if you can qualify for a lower rate by receiving and paying all of your bills online.
When you set up automatic payments, this makes it easier for everyone and as such, some companies will take up to 5% to 10% off your total.
Loyal Customer Discounts
It pays to stick with your carrier. To show their appreciation for your support, some will reward their faithful signers with loyalty-related discounts. Keep in mind, however, that these might not always show up as percentages off your premium.
Instead, many companies will recognize loyal customers in other ways, such as allowing them one large-accident forgiveness plan or allowing them access to a higher tier of customer support.
Finally, take a look at your car. It could save you money, too!
Some insurance companies will offer you a discount on your premium if your car is equipped with factory installed safety features, including:
- Anti-theft devices
- Anti-lock breaks
- Automatic seat belts
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane-departure warning systems
- Daytime running lights
Check with your insurance agent to see if any of these discounts apply to your vehicle. While some are looking specifically for newer innovations, such as advanced crash-avoidance systems, others are mostly concerned with proven safety technology that has demonstrated the ability to reduce insurance claims.
Save Smart, Drive Smarter
In your quest to find auto insurance discounts, you’ll notice that many companies are willing to offer reductions on your premiums if you take proactive measures to be the most knowledgeable driver you can be.
If you’re interested in taking a defensive driving course to refresh your former education and save money on your next bill, we’d love to help. By taking our online course, you could save hundreds of dollars on your insurance costs over the next three years.
Contact us to learn more about how to sign up for a class and the many benefits of taking this step. See you on the road!