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How To Get a Defensive Driving Discount

Lots of insurers offer discounts to drivers who complete a defensive driving class, and these discounts can range from 5% to 20% off your car premium. Most classes can be anywhere from four to eight hours long, and members can choose from in-person or online courses. Each state has its eligibility requirements on top of your carrier’s policies, and many discounts are age-based: offered mostly to teenagers and those over 60. Still, taking a defensive driving course can be worthwhile even without a discount as they can help you drive safer. Before registering, here are a few things you should do:

  • Go over your state's laws and regulations regarding defensive driver discounts
  • Ask your insurance company about eligible discounts, including defensive driving discount age limits
  • Make sure you take a defensive driving course that is approved by your state and insurer if a defensive driving discount is available

Who Is Eligible for a Defensive Driver Training Discount?

Defensive driver training discounts are usually for drivers under 25 and above 55 since these age groups tend to be at higher risk for accidents and have higher insurance premiums. Age restrictions vary from state to state — New York, for example, requires that insurance companies offer rate discounts to drivers of all ages who successfully complete a defensive driving course. You should always contact your insurer to see what’s available to you. 

Some insurers may impose other eligibility requirements; for example, Allstate requires that drivers not have any recent driving violations or at-fault violations. With most insurers, your discount generally lasts for three to five years, at which point you can retake the class to qualify again for the discount.

How Can I Get a Defensive Driving Discount?

Most drivers can get a defensive driving discount for their auto insurance by successfully completing an approved driver's education course. Keep these points in mind:

  1. Always check with your insurance company before taking a defensive driver course to confirm that they will offer a discount and if they have a list of approved courses, some insurers may only offer discounts for specific classes that meet certain criteria. Allstate, for example, requires the course to be a minimum of six hours long. 
  2. In some states, students can decide to either take it in a classroom setting or online. Find out which option is available to you by looking at your state’s laws or talking to your insurance agent. 
  3. During the driving safety class, drivers will learn about safe driving and road safety statistics. They will also learn about their state’s traffic laws, how to maintain proper distance and how to scan the road.  
  4. Once you’ve completed the class, you just have to provide your insurance provider with a certificate of completion to have the discount applied to your policy. 

Finding a Defensive Driver Course

Most states offer defensive driving classes at local driver’s ed schools or online as approved by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or Public Safety. As long as your insurer and state DMV approve it, you are free to take any course. 

Many drivers prefer defensive driving courses through AAA, American Safety Council and the AARP.

Before taking a defensive driver course, confirm with your insurer that they will offer a discount.

What Is It Like to Take a Defensive Driver Training Class?

A defensive driver training class is commonly taught in a classroom or online. These classes can be anywhere from four to 12 hours long, depending on the class and state regulations.

In-person classes

  • Typically around $50–$100
  • Classes are at a specific time and place
  • Can ask the instructors questions
  • Done in one afternoon

Online classes

  • Typically around $15-$40
  • Can be done remotely
  • Times are flexible
  • Less one-on-one time with the teacher
  • Need to verify that it is accredited

What Do They Cover in a Defensive Driving Class?

Defensive driving classes teach drivers different techniques to prevent accidents — such as maintaining safe distances between cars or being aware of your circumstances. In traffic school, you will learn road and driving safety statistics, such as how speed can impact the severity of a crash and what times of day are most likely to see car accidents. Drivers will also learn how to avoid accidents by scanning the roadway, obeying their state’s traffic laws and more. Once the course is completed, drivers may have to undergo a comprehension test in order to pass and qualify for a discount from their insurer.

The defensive driver training class commonly goes over the following topics:

  • Defensive driving techniques
  • Crash prevention strategies
  • Drug and alcohol education
  • Basic car maintenance
  • Traffic safety issues and laws

Which Car Insurance Companies Offer Defensive Driving Discounts?

Insurer

Eligibility

Discount amount

Additional Information

USAA

Drivers who meet their state's eligibility requirements and complete a defensive driving course 

Total amount varies

USAA is

available only to active-duty

military members, military families and veterans

State Farm

Drivers who meet their state's eligibility requirements

Up to 15%

 

Farmers

Drivers 55 and older who complete an approved driver's education class

Up to 15%

Drivers must finish a

Driver’s Education course

approved by the state DMV

Travelers

Drivers who complete an approved driver education course

Up to 8%

 

Nationwide

Drivers 55 and older who complete an approved driver's education course

Up to 5%

To qualify, drivers must have

no at-fault accidents in the

past 35 months and have

completed a state-approved

course

American Family

Drivers 55 and older who complete an approved driver's education course. 

Total amount varies

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.

Esurance

Drivers 55 and older who complete an approved driver's education course

Up to 10%

 

Allstate

Drivers who complete an approved driver education course

Amount varies by state

 

The Hartford

Drivers who complete an approved driver education course

Total amount varies

 

AAA

Varies by state

Up to 10%

 

Liberty Mutual

Drivers 20 and younger who complete an approved driver's education course

Amount varies by state

 

MetLife

Varies by state

5%-10%

 

Amica

Age requirement varies per

state.

Varies by state

Qualified drivers must

complete an approved

driving course.

Remember that a defensive driving discount is only one of many discounts available to insurance shoppers. If you want to reduce your rates, comparing quotes for the lowest price on auto insurance may be just as effective.

Additional Reasons You Need to Take a Defensive Driving Course

Defensive driving classes are used as either mandatory or optional solutions for traffic violation sentences. They are also known as remedial driving courses or traffic schools. For example, a court or judge may order you to finish a defensive driving class after a serious moving infraction, or you might decide to take a class in order to reduce the number of points you have on your license. Court-ordered defensive driving courses are separate from those designed to reduce your insurance rates. Additionally, many insurance companies require drivers to have a clean driving record in order to be eligible for a discount. Therefore, if you are assigned by the court to attend traffic school, you will likely have to wait for the violation to drop off your record before you can qualify for an insurance discount.

Defensive Driving Discount - Find Affordable Rates

State-Specific Defensive Driver Training Courses

In most states, drivers can take a state-approved defensive driver training course to reduce points on their license, dismiss a ticket or save on insurance rates. Keep in mind that a driver training discount lasts for three to five years. Plus, you’ll save even more if the course helps you avoid a traffic or accident violation. 

State

Defensive Driving Eligibility

Coverage After Completing an Approved Defensive Driving Course

Alabama

Alabama offers an online traffic system so you don’t have to appear in court. You can ask to attend a defensive driving course to prevent the ticket from being part of your record.

Varies

Arizona

Drivers can take an approved online defensive driving course to dismiss a traffic ticket.

Up to 10% 

Arkansas

Drivers can take a defensive driving course online to dismiss the ticket.

Up to 15% 

California 

Once approved by the court, drivers can take an approved online defensive driving course to dismiss a traffic ticket.

Up to 5% 

Connecticut 

Connecticut allows drivers to take online defensive driving classes to reduce their insurance rates. 

Up to 10% 

Delaware

Drivers can take state-approved online defensive driving courses to reduce insurance rates.

Up to 15%

Florida

Drivers can qualify to attend an online driving improvement course to improve their insurance rates and reduce their fines.

Up to 10% 

Hawaii

Drivers can complete online defensive driving classes to dismiss a traffic ticket

Hawaii does not offer discounts at this time.

Idaho

Idaho Transportation Department allows drivers to take online defensive driving courses to reduce points on your license. 

Up to 10% 

Illinois 

Drivers are allowed to complete an online defensive driving course for an insurance discount. 

Up to 5% 

Indiana

Drivers can complete programs set forth by the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get a point credit on their driving record. 

Up to 10% 

Kansas

Kansas drivers can dismiss a ticket and lower insurance rates by attending an online state-approved defensive driving class.

Up to 10% 

Kentucky

Kentucky has court-ordered online defensive driving options that allow drivers to dismiss a traffic ticket. 

Up to 10% 

Louisiana

Drivers can take a court-approved online defensive driving course to dismiss a ticket. 

Varies

Maine 

Drivers can take driver safety courses and online defensive driving to lower their insurance rates and reduce points on their license.. 

Up to 10% 

Maryland

Maryland drivers can take driver improvement courses and online defensive driving classes. 

Up to 10% 

Massachusetts 

Massachusetts drivers can take state-approved online driving safety courses to reduce points on their license. 

Massachusetts does not offer discounts at this time.

Michigan

Drivers can take a Michigan-approved driver improvement class to avoid adding points to their driving record. 

Michigan does not offer discounts at this time.

Minnesota

Minnesota drivers can take approved online defensive driving classes for discounted car insurance rates.  

Up to 12% 

Mississippi 

Mississippi drivers have limited online state-approved options for defensive driving classes and drivers must meet certain criteria to have their ticket dismissed, such as not getting a traffic ticket in the last three years. 

Up to 10%

Missouri

Missouri allows drivers to take approved online defensive driving classes to reduce points from their driver's license. Classes must be a minimum of eight hours. 

Up to 10%

Montana

Montana drivers can take defensive driving classes to reduce insurance rates.

Up to 10%

Nebraska

Nebraska drivers can take online defensive driving courses online along with eight hours of classroom instruction to remove two points from their license.

Up to 10%

Nevada

The Nevada DMV allows drivers to take online defensive driving courses to  reduce points on their driver's license or insurance rates.

Up to 10%

New Jersey 

New Jersey approves online defensive driving courses.

Up to 5%

New Mexico

New Mexico DMV allows drivers to take approved online defensive driving courses to have a traffic ticket dismissed from their record. 

Varies

New York

New York allows drivers to reduce points on their driver’s license and reduce insurance rates after taking an online defensive driving course online.

Up to 10%

North Carolina

North Carolina drivers can attend an online court-ordered defensive driving course through an approved provider.

North Carolina does not offer discounts at this time.

North Dakota

North Dakota drivers can complete online approved defensive driving courses to reduce points on their driver’s license. 

Up to 10%

Ohio

Ohio drivers can attend an online defensive driving course to receive two-point credits on their driving record. 

Varies

Oklahoma

Oklahoma drivers can attend an online defensive driving course to dismiss their traffic ticket. 

Varies

Oregon

Oregan allows drivers to take approved online defensive driving courses to dismiss traffic tickets on a case-by-case basis. 

Varies

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania drivers are allowed to take online driver improvement courses to lower their insurance rates.

Varies

South Carolina

South Carolina courts approved online defensive driving courses to reduce points on your driver's license. 

Up to 10%

Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Safety approves online live-stream defensive driving classes which are about eight hours long.

Up to 10%

Texas

Texas allows drivers to take a state-approved online defensive driving course to dismiss a traffic ticket. 

Up to 10%

Utah

Drivers can take online defensive driving courses to reduce points from their license.  

Varies

Virginia

Drivers can take a state-approved online driver improvement program to lower their insurance rate and reduce points on their license.  

Up to 10%

Washington

Washington drivers can take an approved online defensive driving course to reduce their insurance rates.

Up to 10%

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. drivers can take an approved online defensive driving course to reduce their insurance rates.

Varies

West Virginia

West Virginia. drivers can take an approved online defensive driving course to reduce their insurance rates.

Up to 10%

Wisconsin

Drivers can take a state-approved online defensive driving course. 

Up to 10%

Wyoming

Drivers can take state-approved online defensive driving classes to reduce insurance rates, dismiss a traffic ticket and reduce points from their license. 

Up to 10%

Drivers can take a defensive driver training course to reduce points on their license, dismiss a ticket or save on insurance rates.

Key Takeaways:

  • Check with your insurer regarding all their requirements before signing up for a course.
  • Defensive driving courses provide more than just a discount — drivers can learn how to prevent collisions, why accidents happen and how to react to dangerous situations. 
  • Taking a defensive driving course may result in a car insurance discount of 5% to 10%

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