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The Defensive Driving Discount: How Much Could You Save?

Christy Bieber
By: Christy Bieber

Our Insurance Expert

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Drivers need comprehensive, affordable car insurance. A defensive driving discount helps motorists buy this essential coverage for a lower cost. So, how much does defensive driving lower insurance, and how can you earn this driver training insurance discount?

How to get a defensive driving discount

Most insurers provide a defensive driving discount. To obtain this savings, drivers will need to:

  • Sign up for a policy from an insurance company offering a defensive driving discount
  • Locate a state-approved course. The Department of Public Safety or Motor Vehicles usually certifies these courses.
  • Complete a defensive driving course online or in person. The course usually covers traffic laws and defensive driving techniques.
  • Pass the defensive driving course.
  • Provide the information to their car insurance company.

Who qualifies for a defensive driving discount?

Different insurance companies have slightly different rules to qualify for a defensive driving discount. For example, Geico defensive driving discount rules may differ from requirements set by other insurers. So, it's important to check each individual company's requirements.

In general, however, motorists will qualify if they pass a state-approved defensive driving course. Some insurers also require the motorists to be accident free for a certain number of months. And some offer a defensive driving discount only to seniors, which is unfortunate. When companies restrict the discount to seniors, younger motorists miss the opportunity to save. This includes parents who are buying car insurance for teens.

How much of a discount do you get for defensive driving?

If you're wondering, "What is the insurance discount for defensive driving?" the answer varies by insurance provider. In most cases, motorists will save between 5% and 20% on their insurance premium as a result of earning a defensive driving discount.

Car insurance companies with defensive driver discounts

Car insurance discounts can vary from one company to another. However, most major insurers provide savings for defensive driving courses. Listed below are several major insurers that provide a defensive driving insurance discount.

Geico defensive driving discount

Geico's defensive driving discount is available to eligible motorists who have completed an approved course. Discounts vary by location. For example, drivers in Arizona could save up to 10% on coverage. But the savings caps out at 5% in New Jersey.

Nationwide defensive driving discount

Nationwide's defensive driving discount is also available to motorists who have completed an approved defensive driving course. However, there are other criteria. The discount is available only to drivers 55 and over. Drivers must also live in qualifying states. And they must not have been involved in an at-fault accident over the past 35 months.

Farmers defensive driving discount

Like Nationwide, Farmers defensive driving discount is only available to seniors. Motorists must be 55 in some states or 65 in others. They must complete an approved course to earn the savings.

What is a defensive driving course?

A defensive driving course teaches motorists how to improve driving skills. Classwork focuses on helping motorists learn and apply safe driving strategies.

Defensive driving courses often focus on common causes of traffic crashes. They also explore the dynamics of how collisions occur. Drivers are provided with insight into crash protection techniques. These include knowing vehicle stopping distance and reaction distance.

How much does a defensive driving class cost?

The cost of a defensive driving class varies depending on program and state. Most courses cost anywhere from $20 to $40. Online defensive driving courses tend to cost less than in-person classes.

Where can I take a defensive driving course?

Most insurers require drivers to complete a course approved by the state to become eligible for a defensive driving discount. Motorists should check with the local Department of Public Safety or Department of Motor Vehicles. For example, the Pennsylvania DMV has information about four organizations offering Penn-DOT approved courses.

Some courses are taught in person. Others are virtual courses that are taught online, allowing motorists to complete them in their own time.

Online vs. in-person defensive driving training

Both online and in-person defensive driving training courses can help drivers earn a defensive driving discount. Online courses can be more convenient. But some drivers prefer to attend class in person. It all comes down to preference.

Other benefits of defensive driving courses

Defensive driving courses don't just help motorists save on insurance costs. Classes also reduce the risk of a collision. And they can make motorists better, safer drivers. An accident can be financially and personally devastating. If a defensive driving course reduces the chances of a crash occurring, motorists are better off.

Additional ways to save on car insurance

When determining how to lower car insurance costs, motorists should look beyond a defensive driving discount. Drivers can also save money by avoiding accidents and maintaining a clean driving history. Shopping around for car insurance quotes can help keep premiums low as well. And so can asking for other discounts, such as for membership in specific organizations.

Motorists should also research the cars with lowest insurance rates. That's because the cost of an insurance premium can vary from one vehicle to another. By taking the time to research all insurance options -- and compare the cost of insuring different vehicles -- drivers can get the best pricing for the auto insurance coverage they need.

The Ascent's best car insurance companies

Check out our hand-picked list of the best car insurance companies. Our top picks are packed with valuable perks, such as low rates, bundled discounts, and best-in-class service.


  • Many insurers offer substantial discounts on premiums for drivers who have completed a defensive driving course. In some cases, motorists could save as much as 20% on insurance premiums. Since car insurance can be costly, many drivers find paying the low fees associated with a defensive driving course to be well worth it.

  • Individual insurance companies make the rules for how long the defensive driving discount is good for. In general, however, motorists will enjoy savings for around three years after they complete a defensive driving course.

  • Advanced driving courses can reduce the risk of accidents. As a result, it is possible an insurance provider will reduce premiums for motorists who complete these courses. Drivers should read the fine print on their policy to determine if their insurer offers savings for successful completion of an advanced driving course.

  • Insurers typically accept defensive driving courses that are approved by the state. If any of these courses are free, insurers will accept them. Drivers need to confirm fees and that they will be provided with documentation showing they passed the course in the end.

Our Insurance Expert