When you buy auto insurance, you want to get the best deal on the coverage you need. Your first quote might seem high, but you can often reduce the cost of your policy by taking advantage of car insurance discounts.
Learn more about what car insurance discounts are, and the many ways that you can reduce your costs.
- You might qualify for discounts based on your driving history, payment method, car features, or group affiliations.
- You can often add discounts online, through an insurer's app, or by phone.
- Some insurers offer discounts for having two or more policies, such as car insurance and home insurance. This is often called "bundling."
What Are Car Insurance Discounts?
Most auto insurance companies offer a full lineup of discounts that reward their policyholders for factors that lower the costs of providing them with coverage. For example, your insurer might offer you a discount if you have a clean driving record or if you have a newer-model car that comes with anti-theft protections built in.
By seeking out the available discounts offered by your insurer—or its competitors—you may be able to save 10% to 40% on your car insurance. Here's a closer look at how to add car insurance discounts to your policy, as well as common discounts that can help you lower your car insurance premium.
How Do I Add Car Insurance Discounts to My Policy?
If you want to add discounts to your policy, your first course of action should be to contact your auto insurance agent. You can do that in a number of ways, including over the phone or online.
Add Discounts Online
If you have an online account with your insurer, you can log in and manage your policy through a custom portal. There may be clear options for adding any discounts that apply to you. If you request a car insurance quote online, the insurer might ask you questions to figure out whether you qualify for certain discounts.
Add Discounts by Phone
You can call your insurer's customer service line to ask about discounts. You'll often have to verify your account by answering a number of questions. Once you prove your identity, you'll be able to talk to a person and find out more about the types of discounts available.
Add Discounts With an App
More and more insurance companies are creating mobile apps for policyholders. If your insurer provides this option, you can log into your account via an app. Then, you can manage your discounts in a handy streamlined manner.
You can also use any of these methods to check for discounts that may have been applied to your account in the past or upon setup.
Now that you know how to add discounts, what kinds of discounts should you be looking for?
Good Driver and Affiliation Discounts
Auto insurance is all about risk management for policy providers. When you can show signs that you're a responsible driver (and person), they'll see you as less risky. The effect could be a drop in your premiums, but how can you prove that you're a responsible driver (and person)?
Good Driver Discounts
One way to show your worthiness to an auto insurer is by avoiding tickets and fender benders. Many offer some form of "good driver" discount for people who don't have certain marks on their driving record for a set amount of time. For example, State Farm offers a discount once you've been insured for three years in a row without an at-fault accident or moving violation. The discount can increase over time if you stay accident-free.
Defensive Driving Course Discounts
One more way to show that you present low risk as a driver is by taking a defensive driving course. State-approved course providers offer driving safety classes that can help you improve your skills behind the wheel. They cover topics such as driving in bad weather and steering clear of accidents. Many insurers offer discounts to drivers who complete these courses. Note that eligibility depends on your age and state, so be sure to check the rules before you enroll.
Many state-approved defensive driving courses are now offered online, so you can complete them from the comfort of home when your schedule permits.
Teen Driver Discounts
When a teen starts driving, it can be a scary (and costly) time as a parent. It may be a relief to learn that some companies offer discounts that can help lower the cost of insuring a teen driver. Here are a few:
|Insurance Company||Discount/Program||Who Qualifies||How It Works||Discount|
|AAA||SMARTtrek||All ages||An app tracks driving habits and offers feedback||10% at signup; up to 30% at renewal|
|teenSMART||Ages 16 to 26||Teens take an online eight-hour class that teaches safe driving||Up to 24%|
|Nationwide||SmartRide||All ages||An app tracks driving habits over four to six months to set your discount||10% at signup; up to 40% at renewal|
|Allstate||Smart Student discount||Full-time students who get good grades; young adults up to age 25 who complete the teenSMART program; or students away at school at least 100 miles from where the parent's car is parked||Contact an agent to find out what to submit to show grades or distance from home; complete online teenSMART course||Varies|
|Drivewise||All ages||The app tracks driving habits and rewards drivers with discounts||Up to 40%|
|State Farm||Steer Clear||Under age 25||Drivers must complete five training modules, practice driving, mentoring, and more||Varies|
|Drive Safe and Save||All ages||An app tracks and rewards good driving habits||Up to 30%|
|Driver training discount||Under age 21||Get a discount if all drivers under 21 on the policy complete an approved driver's ed course||Varies|
Good Student Discounts
If a driver on your policy is in high school or college, meets the insurer's age requirements, and maintains a minimum grade point average (GPA), they may qualify for a "good student" discount.
State Farm, for example, offers up to 25% off your premium for a full-time student who is 16 to 25 years old with a 3.0 GPA or better. Students also qualify if they're ranked in the top 20% of their class or if they have comparable test scores while being homeschooled.
Do you belong to any clubs or groups? You may also be able to get discounts based on your affiliation with certain groups through a membership, job, or service. For example, insurance companies often partner with groups such as:
- Colleges and universities
- Alumni associations
- Military branches
- Federal organizations
- Unions and other professional organizations
Ask about your insurer's partnerships to make sure you don't miss out on any discounts.
One way you may be able to save on your car insurance is through equipment discounts. Your insurer may lower your premium if your car has certain features that help prevent accidents and injuries. For example, GEICO offers discounts for cars that have airbags, anti-lock brakes, and daytime running lights. They also offer up to 15% off if you have a new car, which GEICO defines as no more than three model years old.
Many insurers are willing to offer you a discount if you sign up for more than one type of policy or insure more than one car. They entice you to sign up for more service with them (rather than buying from someone else). This approach is called "bundling insurance." It might also be called a "multi-policy discount." For example, State Farm offers discounts if you have a renters, condo, life, or homeowners policy along with an auto insurance policy, and up to 20% off if your household insures two or more cars.
You may also be able to save just by paying your normal bills in a certain way. For example, Allstate offers a discount for paying for your policy in full or for setting up automatic withdrawals for your premium payments each month. Both of these options help guarantee that you'll pay on time and in full.
ZIP Code Discounts
Where you live and park your car will also affect your car insurance premium. States are divided up into auto insurance rating territories. Insurers use this map to base the rate for each zip code on the claims history of the policyholders who live there, as some places present higher risks than others. The details may vary from state to state, as some states regulate this practice more strictly than others.
For the most part, dense urban areas tend to have higher premiums than rural areas, due to factors like higher crime rates, more accidents, and heavy traffic.
If your town has a high record of claims, compared to others in the state, you will likely have a higher premium. On the other hand, if you live in a tiny town that has fewer claims and almost no traffic, you may get a discount.
While it may not make sense to move just to save on car insurance, if you are thinking about a move, it could be a factor on your list when making a future budget. It could also offer a clue about the neighborhood. You may want to shop around for car insurance quotes in the places you are eyeing before you decide where to move, to see how your rates will change.
State Farm. "Save More With Our Auto Insurance Discounts." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
AAA. "Ask an Agent: How Can I Save on Auto Insurance for My Teen Driver?" Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
Nationwide. "SmartRide." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
Allstate. "Auto Insurance Discounts for Teen Drivers." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
State Farm. "Car Insurance for Teens and New Drivers." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
State Farm. "Save More With Our Auto Insurance Discounts." See "All Discounts Available in Your State." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
GEICO. "Car Insurance Discounts - Savings on Auto Insurance." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
State Farm. "Save Up to $965 on Auto & Home Insurance." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
Allstate. "Car Insurance Discounts." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.
Connecticut Office of Legislative Research. "Territorial Rating for Auto Insurance." Accessed Nov. 10, 2021.