Are driving courses worth it?
Driving courses can be worth it when almost every single car insurance company will offer discounts for taking defensive driving courses. The idea is that driving courses make you a better driver, making it less likely that you’ll file a claim. Fewer claims combined with an excellent driving history will always result in lower rates.
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UPDATED: Jan 18, 2021
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We believe every driver should have multiple hours of driver’s education. We’ve seen too much statistical, real-world evidence that suggests those who have completed educational coursework, from the basics of driving to defensive driving to advanced driving techniques, are better and safer drivers on the roads. But are driving courses worth your time and effort? And do they provide tangible, real-world benefit to those who take them? (Spoiler alert: yes, they are and yes, they do.)
You’ll Pay Less on Your Premiums
All car insurance companies offer discounts. Those that have shown to greatly reduce your risk factors are the ones that often obtain the biggest discount. Almost every single insurer will offer discounts for taking courses in defensive driving, because they make you more aware on the road. Being more aware means you’re less likely to make a claim, and you’ll be rewarded for this reduced risk with a lower car insurance premium.
You’ll get the biggest discount in combination with things like being a safe driver without a history of significant claims. But for some people, taking driving courses may do more than simply lowering their premiums – it may be the only thing that keeps them in the driver’s seat.
We can think of multiple situations where driving courses are pretty much the only recourse an individual might have: significant moving violations or DUI convictions that threaten your ability to drive, let alone afford the cost of insurance; having an abundance of at-fault claims; or when you add a new teenager to your policy. Teenagers are already the highest-risk group as is, so we highly suggest signing them up for driver’s education, defensive driving courses, and also ensuring they’re eligible for a good student discount to keep their impact on your auto policy at a minimum.
For the average driver, you’ll see a discount of 5 to 20 percent, depending upon the type of course you complete and who you have your auto policy with. In some cases, significant discounts of five percent or more are available just for passing online courses offered by an insurer. We think that’s well worth the insignificant amount of time required to do so.
They’ll Make You a Better Driver
While discounts and lower car insurance premium costs are a welcome to anyone who drives, we think there may be benefits beyond just saving money. We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the vast majority of so-called auto accidents and car crashes or collisions are preventable. We’re not kidding – most automobile accidents – are preventable. If every single driver employed the basic techniques of defensive driving, the number of crashes, not to mention the numbers of Americans killed or injured on roadways could be reduced dramatically.
If we can’t get you interested in such courses just for your own safety, then we can certainly expand on how they will save you thousands of dollars on your auto insurance premiums over your lifetime. Because you’ll become a better driver, you’ll have less claims made over your lifetime.
That’s right – in addition to any discount available just for taking the course, you’ll pay less just because you’ve become a better driver. Regardless of any other factor that goes into how an insurer will quote your premium, your driving and claims history will always two of the most important.
Better drivers have fewer “accidents” and moving violations. Fewer collisions and crashes mean fewer claims. Fewer claims combined with an excellent driving history will always result in a lower premium cost. Not only are you safer, but you’re going to be saving in multiple ways on your auto insurance.
What to Look for in a Driving Course
We certainly suggest perusing your insurer’s website or giving them or your agent a call before you sign up for any driving course. Most insurers have a list of acceptable courses available, and it makes sense to ensure they’ll accept your driving courses.
From state and local government efforts, to adult or secondary education, or to private organizations and entities, there are a wealth of driver’s education, defensive driving and advanced driving technique classes available. There are even courses designed especially for senior drivers to allow them to brush up and keep driving safely at an advanced age. But it’s important that you choose accredited providers that your auto insurer will accept and provide discounts for taking courses from.