D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has appeared on legaladvice.com, themanifest.com, and vice.com.

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Defensive and safe driver courses can save you big on car insurance.
Defensive and safe driver courses can save you big on car insurance. (image by unk.edu)

We all love a bargain. We all love getting things for the best price possible. And there’s no reason we can’t get the auto insurance coverage we need for the lowest cost, either.

One of the basic steps to getting the lowest premium price possible is by ensuring that every single discout we qualify for, we have or we get.

A lot of vehicle-based discounts, such as safety features and factory installed alarm systems, will automatically be added to the car insurance policy by a car insurance company’s quote system, which pulls the existence of those features from the VIN.

But there are also a number of discounts that also benefit you and the rest of society. We’re talking about driving courses. Not only do many insurers offer substantial discounts for drivers enrolling and passing driving courses, but these same courses will make you a better driver, and we can never have enough of them.

Because you’ll become a better driver, you’re less likely to be involved in accidents. That means you’re less of a risk to your car insurance company. And the natural aversion to risk that is a basic tenet of insurance is reflected in the rates you pay for your car insurance policy.

But it isn’t just those looking to become safer drivers that can benefit from both the classes and the discounts. If you’ve recently been the recipient of increased rates from your auto insurer because of repeated moving violations or convicted of say, driving under the influence, driving courses may allow you to get closer to your original rates. These courses may also be required by your insurer after such events in order for you to maintain your current policy as well.

There are three basic types of driving courses accepted by numerous car insurance companies for obtaining discounts on your auto policy. They include: online courses, classroom courses, and courses that feature hands on driving exercises – and they also apply to those who ride motorcycles as well.

Online courses are usually offered directly on a car insurance company’s website and offer education and then a quick question and answer session. Because these courses aren’t exactly in-depth, they often feature the lowest discounts, but they are still worth the minimum amount of time they take to complete.

Most of the larger discounts require real in-classroom or behind the wheel work. You’ll find the majority of insurance companies offer discounts for those who complete such courses in defensive driving. Your insurer should be able to provide you with a listing of accepted courses and providers, either by asking an agent, calling them over the phone or by doing a quick search on their website.

No matter which of the three types of courses you complete, there are three separate age groups that each get benefit out of these courses: teenagers just beginning their driving experience, adults who have been driving for some time, and of course, senior citizens as well.

For teenagers, many will have already had to undergo some level of drivers education, depending upon the state they live in. Some require hours of coursework before the can receive their driving permit or driver’s license.

Since younger drivers feature some of the highest risk to insurers, you’ll likely not only want them to attend driving programs for their own safety, not to mention lowering your insurance costs.

Adults who have driven for years without incident can also benefit from taking such courses, as can seniors. And if you’ve had multiple accident claims or moving violation claims, you’ll probably want to take such courses to lower a recently raised car insurance policy premium.

Remember, contact your own car insurance company first. They’ll point you in the right direction and let you know who provides the type of driving courses they would like you to have. A quick phone call to your agent or the company’s toll-free number, or a quick browsing of their website should get you on the path of driver education discounts. And by completing these courses, you’ll become a better, and safer, driver each time you’re on the road.