Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Oct 5, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Taking a defensive driving class may help you to improve your driving record
  • Companies offer a defensive driver discount
  • Some insurance companies reward drivers who have taken a defensive driving class recently by offering a discount on their premium
  • Some insurance companies reward safe driving in other ways, such as with a claims-free discount
  • Drivers with Allstate have received a 10% discount for defensive driving

While some accidents and mishaps on the road cannot be avoided, many accidents are caused by driver behavior. Even if you do not cause an accident, driving defensively may help you to avoid one that may be caused by another driver.

Insurance companies recognize the benefit of well-educated drivers who understand defensive driving techniques, and some offer a defensive driving discount to help you save money on your premium.

Compare car insurance quotes to see how much you could save by switching insurers. Enter your ZIP code above to get started.

Table of Contents

What You May Learn in a Defensive Driving Class

You may have taken a driver’s education course when you learned how to drive, and a defensive driving course covers some of the same topics.

However, rather than focusing on the rules of the road and how to operate a vehicle, a defensive driving course focuses on how to be a safer driver. Some of the topics that may be covered in a course include:

  • How to eliminate road rage while driving
  • Understanding bad driving conditions and how to avoid them
  • Determining what qualifies as distracted driving and how you can prevent these activities
  • Being more observant of other drivers
  • How to respond to obstacles on the road

Where to Find an Approved Course

Learning how to drive more defensively can help you to potentially avoid accidents, but you may not be certain which type of driving course to take to qualify for the discount.

It is wise to first ask your insurance provider about their requirements for defensive driving courses.

For example, some providers may only accept state-certified courses. If you plan to shop around for better rates on car insurance after you complete the course, consider exploring common course requirements that a few of the top providers have before you sign up for a class.

Remember that a defensive driving discount is only one of many factors that can affect the price of your car insurance. In addition to comparing rates to find the best deal possible on auto insurance, focus on finding a reputable insurance provider.

Online research may reveal the provider’s financial strength as well as how satisfied the company’s established customers are.

By taking this step to research the many insurance coverage options available to you, you can potentially avoid unpleasant issues that may arise by purchasing coverage from the wrong provider.

In many areas, drivers can sign up to take a defensive driving course in a live classroom setting, and some even have a comedy theme to make them more fun and exciting. These live courses are commonly held during evening and weekend hours.

Another idea is to sign up for an online course. Depending on your state’s requirements, a live course may be completed within one to two sessions in most cases. You may break up an online course into numerous sessions as desired.

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Saving Money through a Defensive Driving Course

A defensive driving course is not free in most states, and some classes may cost $100 or more. The overall savings on your premium may not always be enough to cover the cost of the class.

However, remember that being a safe driver on the road can help you to save money as well. For example, by driving at the post speed limit sign, you can prevent some traffic citations that could result in hefty fines.

You may also prevent a serious accident by learning how to be a more defensive driver. This could minimize the number of claims you file over time, or it may decrease the dollar amount of your claims.

Both may have a positive impact on your ability to find affordable insurance in the future.

Each time you file a claim, regardless of the dollar amount of the claim, you are required to pay your deductible. The average driver’s deductible is $500. You may also have to pay expenses not covered by your policy out of your own pocket.

You can see that if this course prevents even a single accident or traffic citation, the class is financially worthwhile.

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Alternatives to the Defensive Driving Discount

A defensive driving discount is just one of several ways to save money by being a safe driver. For example, many insurance companies offer a safe driver discount.

Qualifications for this type of discount vary, but they are usually based on your driving record rather than on taking a specific class.

Remember that you may have to re-take the class every year or two to continue with the savings, so getting coverage from an insurance company that offers a safe driver discount may be a good alternative to consider.

Another alternative to a defensive driving discount is a claims-free discount.

If you have not had any claims on your record within the last few years, some insurance companies will extend this discount to you for financial savings on your premium.

Some even have a vanishing deductible, which essentially decreases your deductible amount slowly for each year that you do not have a claim on your policy.

If you have a clean driving record, you may save money on your policy by simply shopping around. These additional safe driving discounts or course discounts may provide even more substantial savings for you to enjoy.

Finding the Most Affordable Policy That Meets Your Needs

You understandably want to save money on your auto insurance premium, and taking advantage of a defensive driver discount is a great way to save money on your coverage.

However, the first priority is to buy effective coverage that meets your needs from a top provider that has a great reputation.

Spend time learning more about coverage types and limits, and research various providers to find the best companies to request quotes from and to learn about their defensive driver discount requirements.

By taking this step up-front, you can then easily select the lowest quote that you receive, and you can compare rate quotes and available discounts once or twice per year to maximize savings on your auto insurance.

Compare car insurance quotes today by entering your ZIP code below.