Don’t Miss Out On These Hidden Auto Insurance Discounts

Don’t Miss Out On These Hidden Auto Insurance Discounts

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We get it — car insurance can be surprisingly expensive. If you’re already making a monthly car payment, spending too much on auto insurance could be a major burden on your budget. While you can’t control gas prices or when your vehicle breaks down and needs repairs, there are ways to save on car insurance.

Typically, these savings will come in the form of discounts that car insurance companies offer, based on how much risk you pose as a driver. While auto insurers do collect general information on your car and driving habits, the trick to getting these discounts is proactively asking for insurance offers.

To help you score a better deal on your car insurance, we’ve rounded up some common discounts that are available at many insurers, as well as tips on how you can compare auto insurance and pay less for adequate coverage.

What Auto Insurance Discounts Can I Get?

The first step toward paying less for car insurance is understanding the different types of discounts that exist. We’ve grouped these auto insurance discounts into five categories based on the type of information that insurers are interested in:

Note that certain discounts might not be offered in every state or by different insurance companies.

Driver safety discounts

It pays to be a good driver! Exercising caution on the road will help guard not only your personal safety, but also your wallet. If you’re careful and attentive behind the wheel, auto insurers may reward you with discount car insurance rates.

Driver Safety Discounts
Auto Insurance Discount Companies Offering This Discount
Accident-free driving Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers
Safe driving Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers
Defensive driving courses or driver education Farmers, Geico, Nationwide, State Farm, Travelers
Low-mileage driving Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers

Accident-free driving discount

If you’ve been covered by the same insurance company and stayed accident-free in the last few years, you may want to look into discount car insurance. However, the exact requirements will depend on your insurer.

For example, Progressive requires you to have no accidents for three years, whereas Geico’s minimum is five years. Some insurance companies, like State Farm, will even increase the discount the longer you go without an accident.

Potential savings:

  • Progressive: Up to 31% off your policy price if you remain accident- and ticket-free for three years
  • Geico: Up to 22% off most coverages if you haven’t had an accident in five years
  • Travelers: Up to 10% off if you’ve been accident-free for three years, and up to 23% off for five years with no accidents
  • Allstate: Signing up for Allstate Deductible Rewards gives you $100 off your collision deductible, with the opportunity to earn another $100 off every year (up to $500) for driving accident-free

Safe driving discount

Being accident-free and practicing safe driving habits usually go hand in hand for auto insurance companies. But some insurers, such as Allstate, Farmers, and Liberty Mutual, have apps that use information collected from your smartphone to reward you for safe driving.

Potential savings:

  • State Farm: Up to 30% off using the Drive Safe & Save app
  • Nationwide: Up to 15% off using the SmartRide program
  • Progressive: $145 per year, on average, under the Snapshot program

Defensive driving course or driver education discount

These driver education classes can improve your skills behind the wheel by taking you through various road scenarios and teaching you how to make the safest decision in a dangerous situation. Learning defensive driving skills may help you avoid accidents and damage to your car — which benefits both you and your auto insurance company.

Potential savings:

  • State Farm: Up to 15% off coverages
  • Travelers: Up to 8% off for successfully completing an approved course
  • Nationwide: Around 5% off for passing a state-certified course (age requirement may apply)

Low-mileage driving discount

Do you work from home or live in a walkable neighborhood? If you have a short commute or don’t drive often, you might be able to score a lower auto insurance rate. When you’re asked to estimate how many miles you drive each year, consider how much you’re actually on the road. According to 2018 data from the Federal Highway Administration, drivers rack up an average of nearly 13,500 miles per year.

Potential savings: This discount is based on the number of miles you drive.

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Driver status discounts

Insurance companies tend to offer discounts to students and those in certain occupations. Be sure to check with your employer or school to see if they have existing partnerships with auto insurance companies that could help you get a lower rate.

Driver Status Discounts

Auto Insurance Discount Companies Offering This Discount
Good student Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers
Student away at school or distant student Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers
Military Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual
Federal employee or affinity Farmers, Geico, Travelers
Senior Farmers, Nationwide

Good student discount

Generally, if you’re doing well in school, you can save more on car insurance. However, different auto insurance companies may impose additional requirements. For example, with State Farm, you need to be between ages 16-25 and enrolled full-time in addition to having at least a 3.0 GPA, being in the top 20% of your class, or providing qualifying test scores.

Potential savings:

  • State Farm: Up to 25% off (the discount applies even after you graduate, until age 25)
  • Geico: Up to 15% off certain coverages for full-time students who maintain a grade average of B
  • Progressive: 10% savings, on average, for full-time students maintaining at least a B average

Student-away-at-school or distant student discount

If you have a child going to school across the state or country, you might be able to get a discount since they’ll be driving the family car significantly less often. However, insurance companies may require them to meet additional criteria to receive this discount. For example, Farmers stipulates that the student must attend school more than 100 miles from your home and not have access to a covered car while there.

Potential savings: Travelers offers up to 7% off for dependents who are going to school at least 100 miles away and won’t be using your car.

Military discount

Some auto insurance companies offer a discount to veterans as well as those who are currently serving in the U.S. military or as members of the National Guard or reserves. Geico, in particular, has an additional discount for service members who are part of an emergency deployment to an imminent danger zone.

Potential savings: Geico offers up to 15% off for active-duty or retired military members and members of the National Guard or reserves (up to 25% off if you’ve been deployed to an imminent danger zone in an emergency).

Federal employee or affinity discount

Your occupation could help you score cheaper auto insurance. Companies like Farmers and Travelers offer discounts to members or employees of partner organizations. Geico also provides a special discount for current or retired employees of the federal government.

Potential savings: Geico’s Eagle Discount for active or retired federal employees offers up to 12% off total auto insurance premiums.

Senior discount

Some auto insurance companies, like Farmers and Nationwide, have a discount available to drivers who are over age 55 and complete a state-approved safe driver training or accident prevention course.

Potential savings: In certain states, Nationwide typically offers around 5% off for drivers ages 55 and older who have completed said course and haven’t had an at-fault accident in the last 35 months.

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Vehicle feature discounts

If your car is equipped with newer technologies, you could receive additional discounts. Anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices help keep your vehicle safe, meaning you also pose less of a risk to your insurer.

Vehicle Feature Discounts

Auto Insurance Discount Companies Offering This Discount
Anti-lock brakes Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, State Farm
New car Allstate, Geico, State Farm, Travelers
Passive restraint Farmers, Geico, State Farm
Daytime running lights Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual
Anti-theft device or system Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, State Farm

Anti-lock brakes discount

The term “pump the brakes” comes from a time when drivers were advised against slamming on their brakes. This could have caused the wheels to lock and skid, creating potentially dangerous situations on the road. Anti-lock brakes in newer cars automate the pumping process, which allows drivers to brake aggressively while keeping control of their vehicle.

Potential savings: Geico offers up to 5% off certain car insurance coverages for factory-installed anti-lock braking systems.

New car discount

New cars usually come equipped with modern safety features, a warranty, and parts in top condition, which can reduce the likelihood of accidental damage. As a result, some car insurance companies offer a new car discount — though they’ll define what “new” means. For example, Allstate requires a current model year or one year prior, and you must be the first owner of the car.

Potential savings:

  • State Farm: Up to 40% off medical payments coverage depending on the make, model, and year of your car (1994 or later)
  • Geico: Up to 15% off certain car insurance coverages for vehicles that are 3 years old (in model years) or newer
  • Travelers: Up to 10% off for cars that are newer than 3 years old

Passive restraint discount

If you own a vehicle with front air bags or automatic seatbelts, which strap you into your seat when the car starts, you may receive a passive restraint discount. Some insurers, like State Farm, only offer this discount for cars with a 1993 model year or older.

Potential savings:

  • State Farm: Up to 40% off medical payments coverage
  • Geico: Up to 23% off the personal injury or medical payments portion of your auto insurance if your car has air bags, with a different discount for seat belt usage

Daytime running lights discount

Some cars come with headlights that remain on when you’re driving, aka daytime running lights. The idea is that even though it isn’t dark outside, DRL still helps other drivers see you. The added awareness of your vehicle’s movements can reduce the risk of an accident.

Potential savings: Geico offers up to 3% off certain car insurance coverages.

Anti-theft device or system discount

Since comprehensive insurance covers the cost of replacing your stolen car, it makes sense that auto insurance companies would prefer to safeguard against the theft of your vehicle. For that reason, you could get a discount if your car is equipped with an anti-theft device, such as an alarm. However, you’ll want to compare the cost of this technology against the amount you’ll save, since an anti-theft discount is often only a small percentage off your insurance premium.

Potential savings: Geico offers up to 23% off the comprehensive portion of auto insurance premiums.

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Usage discounts

If you’re willing to allow auto insurers to monitor your driving, you can opt into programs where you pay for coverage per mile instead of a flat rate or receive a discount for practicing safe driving. Usage-based insurance programs take advantage of telematics technology to track not only the distance you’re covering, but also how safely you’re driving.

With a UBI policy, your car usage will be recorded and sent to your insurer. Those who drive fewer miles and don’t navigate the roads aggressively can pay less thanks to this data. The downside, though, is that you might not be comfortable with the surveillance.

Usage Discount Programs

Auto Insurance Program How It Works
Liberty Mutual ByMile Receive an adjustable monthly premium based on the number of miles you’ve driven in previous months
Geico DriveEasy Your driving behavior determines your score, which is factored into your auto insurance rate
State Farm Drive Safe & Save Your discount is calculated based on your annual mileage and adjusted at every policy renewal; get up to 30% off your auto insurance
Travelers IntelliDrive Your rate is adjusted based on your driving performance over 90 days, with savings of up to 30%
Allstate Milewise Pay a daily rate in addition to a per-mile rate
Farmers Signal Track a certain number of drives for an initial 5% off your premium, with the potential to get up to 15% off when your policy renews
Nationwide SmartMiles Pay a base rate plus a variable rate (cost per mile)
Progressive Snapshot Driving less overall can help you save more; average auto insurance savings come out to $145 per year

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Policy discounts

If you need homeowners insurance or coverage in other areas of your life, bundling your auto insurance with different types of policies from the same company could help you get a better deal. You can also save money on car insurance by taking advantage of loyalty incentives offered by insurers — like covering more than one car.

Policy Discounts

Auto Insurance Discount Companies Offering This Discount
Continuous insurance Progressive, Travelers
Multicar or multiple vehicle Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm,  Travelers
Multipolicy or multiline Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, Travelers
Homeowner or homeownership Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, Travelers
Autopay Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Progressive, Travelers
Pay in full Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, Travelers

Continuous insurance discount

Some auto insurance companies reward you for being continuously insured — even if it’s with a different company. For example, if you switch to Progressive, the company will offer you a discount based on how long you’ve been insured without any gaps in coverage.

Potential savings: Travelers offers up to 15% off.

Multicar or multiple vehicle discount

If you have more than one car to insure, you might be able to get a sizable discount by purchasing auto insurance from the same company. Progressive, for instance, allows you to insure cars belonging to a family member, spouse, or roommate as long as the vehicles are usually kept at your address.

Potential savings:

  • Geico: Up to 25% off most of your car insurance coverages
  • State Farm: Up to 20% off
  • Travelers: Up to 8% off
  • Progressive: 4% savings, on average

Multipolicy or multiline discount

Bundling more than one type of policy with the same insurance company can often result in extra savings — as well as leverage to negotiate a better deal. If you’re also in need of homeowners, renters, life, or small-business insurance, consider purchasing these policies from your auto insurer.

Potential savings:

  • Nationwide: Up to 20% off, with an average of $646 in savings, for bundling car and home insurance
  • State Farm: Up to 17% off for bundling vehicle insurance with homeowners, condo, renters, or life insurance
  • Travelers: Up to 13% off for bundling car insurance with another policy
  • Progressive: 5% savings, on average, for bundling two or more policies
  • Liberty Mutual: Up to $842 in savings for bundling auto insurance with home, renters, or condo insurance

Homeowner or homeownership discount

Even if you don’t purchase homeowners insurance through your auto insurer, the company may still offer you a discount simply for being a homeowner. Owning a home isn’t cheap, so check for this discount to make your auto insurance premium go further.

Potential savings:

  • Progressive: 10% savings, on average
  • Travelers: Up to 5% off for owning a home or condo

Autopay discount

Auto insurance companies may offer a one-time or ongoing discount as an incentive for you to get your monthly payments automatically deducted from your bank account. Another perk of signing up for automatic payments is that you don’t have to worry about paying your bill late.

Potential savings: Travelers offers up to 3% off for paying your premium via electronic funds transfer or payroll deduction.

Pay-in-full discount

If you can afford to pay the entire cost of your policy in advance, your insurer might give you a discount. Keep in mind that some insurance companies, like Progressive, won’t allow you to combine autopay and pay-in-full discounts.

Potential savings: Travelers offers up to 7.5% off.

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How To Save Money On Auto Insurance

 

Here are some tips and strategies on how to save money on car insurance:

  • Don’t wait until it’s time to renew. If you learn about discounts that you’re eligible for, you should call your auto insurance company to have your rate adjusted, even if you’re in the middle of your policy term.
  • Track your driving habits. Are you really driving as many miles per year as you estimated you would? By keeping an accurate eye on your mileage, you could end up saving more.
  • Review your policy with an insurance agent. It might be tempting to complete your insurance purchase entirely online out of convenience. But talking to a representative from your insurance company can help you ensure that you’re getting the discounts you deserve from the start.
  • Don’t settle for a subpar policy. “There may be some restrictions or exclusions that you did not know about that you did not want,” says Jim Dougherty, vice president of marketing and sales at Anchor General Insurance Agency in San Diego. “You can always cancel your policy if you do not like the terms of the policy language and would rather go somewhere else.”
  • Get ready to bundle. Whether it’s insuring multiple cars with the same company or bundling your auto insurance with other policies, you can save more by consolidating.

FAQ on Auto Insurance Discounts

These are the answers to some commonly asked questions about discount auto insurance.

How do discounts affect your car insurance rates?

Your car insurance quote is based on general information about you, the car, and where you live. This can include your driving record; the make, model, and year of your car; any safety features; and your parking accommodations. You can get a one-time discount or reduce the total amount you’re paying for auto insurance.

What is the average cost of auto insurance?

The cost of your policy will depend on the extent of the coverage you purchase as well as specific details about your car, location, and driving record. However, according to a 2020 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Americans spent an average of $611.12 for liability insurance, $363.08 for collision coverage, and $159.72 for comprehensive coverage in 2017.

How much should I pay for auto insurance?

Shopping around for the lowest auto insurance rates is a smart move, but how much you end up paying for coverage depends on a variety of factors.

“If you have a bad driving history, you might expect to pay more,” Dougherty says. “If you have an expensive car, you may have to pay more. If you have higher limits on your policy, this may also increase the price you pay on your insurance.”

Location is another factor that can greatly impact your rate. According to NAIC, Louisiana, Michigan, and Florida are the most expensive for auto insurance, while North Dakota, Maine, and Iowa are the cheapest.

Why is my auto insurance bill so high with a clean record?

If you’ve never filed a claim after an accident (or been in one at all), you might be wondering why you’re paying so much for auto insurance. According to Dougherty, it’s important to remember that your rate isn’t just based on your driving history — there are a number of other factors that insurers use to determine the level of risk you pose.

If you have a newer car, Dougherty says that’s one example of why your auto insurance might be more expensive. Newer cars often have sensors and updated technologies that are more costly to repair. Additionally, he says that your insurance company may need to raise rates for everyone if more people get into accidents that year.

Who offers the cheapest auto insurance?

Insurance companies can have a reputation for being pricey or cheap based on word of mouth, but the truth isn’t always that simple. According to Dougherty, one company won’t be definitively more or less expensive than another because the rate you’re offered will depend on the specifics of your situation.

“Some companies may do better with people who drive pickup trucks,” Dougherty says. “Some do not like young drivers on their policy and may charge more for households with younger drivers. While another insurance company might be even cheaper, it may include a mixed bag of exclusions on your policy.”

Remember: The cost of auto insurance not only varies per company, but it also changes based on where you live, how much coverage you’re buying, and your driving history, among other factors.

The Bottom Line on Auto Insurance Discounts

The good news is that there are a wide variety of discounts that can help you lower what you spend on car insurance. Before you make a final decision on your auto insurer, compare providers and identify which companies offer the most discounts that benefit your situation. Scooping up discounts can help ensure that you aren’t overpaying for auto insurance.