When looking for vehicle insurance, it’s a good idea to investigate any available insurance savings to help lower the total cost of your rates. The good news is, completing a defensive driving course qualifies you for just such a discount. After completing an approved driver safety course, numerous car insurance companies provide savings that can range from 5% to 20% off your annual auto insurance cost.
However, even if they take a course, not every driver qualifies for a defensive driving discount. Some carriers limit these discounts to motorists under the age of 25. Some areas do not allow them at all. Therefore, it’s crucial to shop around and speak with your insurance agent to see if you qualify for a defensive driving discount.
Defensive Driving Explained
Defensive driving refers to driving in a safe, sensible way to avoid the risk of motor vehicle accidents or driving offenses such as exceeding the speed limit, driving under the influence (DUI), failing to keep your lane, or other driving violations. Students in defensive driving classes may:
- Acquire skills to help them improve their driving behavior.
- Simulate real-life driving circumstances to see how they react.
- Think about ways to avoid possible collisions.
- Review how to recognize potential dangers.
These courses will teach you how to prevent accidents in congested traffic, drive in adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow and drive effectively at night. You may also study essential vehicle maintenance in some courses.
Who Qualifies for a Defensive Driving Discount?
Drivers need to be aware not all carriers offer these discounts in every state; your location and insurer may determine your eligibility for a defensive driving discount. GEICO, for example, offers defensive driving discounts ranging from 5% to 15%, depending on where you reside.
After taking an approved defensive driving class, Georgia residents can save up to 10%, while Delaware residents can save up to 15%.
Your ability to earn a defensive driving discount after completing a driver safety course may be affected by your age and other circumstances. For example, in most areas, you must be at least 50 years old and finish the program voluntarily to qualify for the GEICO discount.
Drivers need to know an at-fault accident or a traffic violation on your background is prohibited in some places to qualify for the discount. In addition, you must be 55 years old and have had no at-fault incidents in the previous 35 months to be eligible for Nationwide Insurance’s discount.
Your auto insurance rates will determine how much you can save with a defensive driving discount. Make sure you evaluate how much you’ll save based on the rebate your insurance carrier offers before enrolling in a class. Knowing what the savings amount will be can help you determine whether the savings are worth the class fee, depending on the class provider and where you live.
How to Lower Your Rates After a Traffic Infraction
Based on where you reside, taking a defensive driving course after receiving a speeding ticket or other moving offense may lower your insurance premiums. In addition, the court may dismiss the ticket in some situations if you finish a course. However, this is dependent on the judge hearing your case.
In some areas, attending a course can help you lower the number of points on your driver’s license, which can help you improve your driving record and save money on vehicle insurance. In New York, for example, completing a defensive driving course can result in the removal of up to four points from your driving history, as well as a ten percent discount on your vehicle insurance costs for three years.
Additional Benefits of Taking a Defensive Driving Course
Completing a defensive driving course can save you money and reduce the number of points on your driving record, but they aren’t the only advantages. Taking a driver’s education course is an excellent way to brush up on any driving laws you may have forgotten since getting your driver’s license and brush up on your safe driving skills as well.
These classes can also enhance your self-confidence behind the wheel and help you become a more responsible driver. Defensive driving classes take place in small group settings. In a smaller class, you’ll have time to ask any questions that come to mind on topics such as how to pass a road test or earn a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
It’s also a great chance to pick up some new defensive driving skills to help you maneuver on congested highways and drive safely in adverse weather conditions, such as a heavy downpour, snowfall, or fog.
And if you have children and want to ensure they develop safe driving habits at an early age, a defensive driving course may be the perfect opportunity for them to learn what it takes to be a good driver in general. In addition to teaching valuable skills that can save lives, these courses can make young drivers more effective at handling tricky driving situations.
Is It Worth Taking a Defensive Driving Class?
Defensive driving classes are not for everyone, but they may benefit older drivers who wish to update and enhance their driving skills and those who have received traffic citations and want to improve their driving records. Taking an approved defensive driving class may also qualify you for a car insurance rate reduction.
However, if you intend to take a defensive driving course only to lower your vehicle insurance premiums, you should do the math to determine how much you could save. Although the difference may not be sufficient to cover the course’s costs, the opportunity to enhance your driving skills may make it a good investment.
Closing Thoughts on Defensive Driving Courses
Taking an approved defensive driving course may save you money on your vehicle insurance premiums and help improve your driving record. Finishing a defensive driving class will also allow you to gain new driving skills, drive more safely on congested roads, and better maneuver in adverse weather conditions. Consider how much of a discount you can get from your insurance carrier and how much you can save on your vehicle insurance costs, as well as any other discounts for taking the course to determine whether it’s worth enrolling.