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From student discounts and great multi-policy insurance to savings for safe drivers, there are dozens of ways to save on your car insurance premium.
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Written by: Daniel Robinson Written by: Daniel Robinson Author Daniel is a writer for the Guide team and has written for many automotive news sites and marketing firms in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, specializing in the subject of cars Finance and maintenance. Daniel is the Guide team’s authority on car insurance, loans, warranty options, car services and more.
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Edited by: Rashawn Mitchner Edited by: Rashawn Mitchner Managing Editor Rashawn Mitchner is an editor on the Guide team with over 10 years of experience covering personal finance and insurance topics.
Taking advantage of car insurance discounts can often be the difference between cheap car insurance and premiums that are too expensive. Fortunately, top insurers offer dozens of discounts based on driver history, affiliation, vehicle features and customer loyalty.
We at Team Guides will explain the different types of car insurance discounts available to drivers and ways to lower car insurance rates. Remember that rates can vary between insurers, so it’s important to shop around and compare quotes from some of the best car insurance companies.
The Guide team is committed to providing reliable information to help you make the best decision about your vehicle insurance. Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate a ranking of the best car insurance companies. We have collected data on dozens of car insurance providers to rate companies on a variety of ranking factors. After 800 hours of research, the end result is an overall rating for each provider, with insurers scoring the highest points on the list.
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While each auto insurer offers a slightly different selection of auto insurance discounts, there are some that can be found commonly in the industry. Most of the standard auto insurance discounts can be grouped into the following categories:
Most insurers find ways to reward safe drivers. Here are some common types of auto insurance discounts for people who maintain good habits behind the wheel:
Going three to five years without an accident can earn you a significant discount with many high car insurance. The requirements for good driver discounts vary from one provider to another, so be sure to ask your agent if you qualify.
This type of discount comes with the use of a telematics program that tracks your driving habits – either through a mobile application or a plug-in device. If you avoid sudden stops, rapid acceleration and speeding when you enroll in such a program, you can often save up to 30% on policy renewals with certain companies.
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Completing a defensive driving course usually only takes a few hours, but it can save you 10% to 15% on your car insurance premium. Before you sign up for any driving class, make sure it’s approved by your provider. Some companies offer this discount only to young drivers and senior citizens.
If you only drive occasionally, you can save up to 20% on your car insurance premium. The average driver puts about 12,000 miles on the odometer each year. Those who drive less than 7,500 miles annually are often eligible for savings. Some insurers require a telematics device to check mileage.
Driver profile often means as much as driving habits when it comes to car insurance discounts. The following savings opportunities are based on the driver’s personal attributes:
Almost every car insurance offers some kind of discount for good students. This is great for consumers, as insurance rates are especially high for drivers under 21. Full-time students who maintain at least a “B” average often qualify for good student discounts as high as 25%.
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There are also away-from-home discounts for students who leave their vehicles at home while attending school 100 or more miles from home. This may also be called a remote student discount.
USAA provides insurance policies exclusively for active duty military, veterans and their immediate families. Most other providers offer discounts of up to 15% for military members and veterans. Discounts for federal employees vary, and Geico offers special savings for drivers in the group.
Insurance companies have several relationships with trade organizations and alumni associations. Geico is the industry leader here, working with more than 500 professional organizations and universities to offer discounts.
Some insurers offer discounts to drivers 55 and older. You’ll also find incentives for drivers over 55 to keep their skills sharp through online driver improvement programs.
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There are many policy-related discounts that car insurance companies can provide. Some discounts are automatically applied, while you have to ask for others. Here are some common types of policy discounts:
These discounts are usually easy to find, as insurance companies have many incentives to get you on board for some type of protection. There are a variety of savings to unlock by bundling your auto policy with home, life, boat or other types of coverage. Some companies offer up to 25% off your total insurance premium when you bundle policies.
Potential savings vary with multi-car discounts. Some insurance companies like State Farm offer a 25% discount for adding multiple vehicles to your policy. Many companies offer discounts in the range of 10% for insuring multiple cars.
Pay-in-full, autopay and paperless statement discounts fall under this umbrella. Paying your entire premium up front often results in savings of around 10% – whether for six months or a year.
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Setting up automatic payments from a checking, debit or credit card account can save you 5% to 10%. Going paperless saves insurers some overhead costs, so they often reward you with a 10% discount.
Being specific about your vehicle can also get you a special auto insurance discount. Some companies even offer discounts for new car insurance. Here are some common discounts associated with vehicle attributes:
Installing an anti-theft device can save you 5-15% of your comprehensive coverage, although it is usually the least expensive element of your total protection. If your vehicle is a common target of car thieves, it is a good idea to install an anti-theft device even if the discount is marginal.
Many insurance companies offer a 5-10% discount off your collision coverage premium for an anti-lock braking system (ABS) installed at the factory. It’s a good idea to ask your agent to check the discount, as it should be applied automatically.
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This type of discount applies to seat belts and front airbags. You can save up to 30% on your personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payments (MedPay) simply by having factory fitted seat belts and front airbags.
Usage-based programs can help good drivers save more on car insurance. Most leading auto insurance companies offer some type of usage-based discount, although many programs are not available in every state.
So, how does it work? Telematics insurance programs track your driving habits in real time. It can do this through mobile apps, plug-in devices or Bluetooth tracking beacons. Depending on the provider and the situation, you can choose the type of device. Most programs offer a discount for signing up, which is replaced by a discount based on your driving habits when your car insurance policy is renewed after the first tracking period.
Careful people and those who drive less often see the best usage-based auto insurance discounts. If you engage in bad driving habits while enrolled in a usage-based program, you may be penalized by receiving a smaller discount or no discount at all. However, some programs, like Progressive’s Snapshot®, can actually increase your rates based on your driving habits. Let’s take a closer look.
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We at the Guide team evaluate every major auto coverage provider to narrow down the best insurance in the business. Here’s how some of our top picks stack up in terms of general auto insurance discounts. Be aware that discounts may not be available in all states.
Along with standard discounts, the following top providers offer some unique discounts for companies:
Geico is the only leading company that offers auto insurance discounts for federal employees at the Eagle level or higher. At the moment, the discount amount is 12%, and it applies to the total car insurance premium of the policyholder. Members of more than 500 corporate and alumni groups can also receive group affiliation discounts.
USAA serves people in the military and their family members, so it has some unique auto insurance discounts. Drivers can get a 60% discount if they keep their vehicles in a safe place, which can help during deployments. USAA also offers a 15% discount for vehicle garages on military bases.
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Progressive is the only company on our list of top providers that offers discounted car insurance just for teenagers