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Does Taking A Defensive Driving Course Lower Car Insurance?

Does Taking A Defensive Driving Course Lower Car Insurance?

Auto insurance premiums can put a strain on one’s budget, but did you know that completing a defensive driving course can potentially lead to savings? 

Last Updated Feb 07, 2024
5 min read
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From understanding the basics of defensive driving insurance discounts to evaluating the worthiness of investing in these courses, we will cover everything you need to know to make an informed decision. 

Does taking a defensive driving course lower your car insurance rate?

Yes, taking a defensive driving course can lower your car insurance rate. Insurance companies view individuals who complete these courses as responsible and lower-risk drivers.

However, it is important to note that not all insurance companies offer defensive driving discounts, and the specific discount amount can vary, as mentioned above. Therefore, it is crucial to check with your insurance provider to determine their policy regarding defensive driving course discounts.

What Is a Defensive Driving Insurance Discount?

A defensive driving insurance discount is offered to policyholders who have completed an accredited defensive driving course. These courses focus on teaching drivers advanced techniques and strategies to improve their driving skills, avoid accidents, and minimize risks on the road.

Insurance companies recognize the value of these courses in promoting safe driving behavior and reducing the likelihood of accidents. As a result, they incentivize policyholders to participate in defensive driving education by offering discounts on their insurance premiums.

How much does defensive driving lower insurance?

On average, policyholders can expect a discount ranging from 5% to 20% off the premium cost.

The amount of savings you can achieve on your insurance premium by completing a defensive driving course depends on several factors. 

Insurance providers calculate discounts based on various considerations, including the specific course completed, the state where you reside, and the insurance company’s individual policies. 

For example, if your current premium is $1,000 annually, completing a defensive driving course could lead to savings between $50 and $200 annually. Over time, these savings can accumulate significantly, making defensive driving courses a financially rewarding investment.

Are defensive driving courses worth the money?

The value of defensive driving courses extends beyond the potential insurance savings. While there may be a cost associated with enrolling in these courses, the benefits can far outweigh the upfront investment. Taking a defensive driving course can also benefit teenage drivers by teaching good driving habits and lowering car insurance rates for teens.

Defensive driving courses equip drivers with the essential knowledge and skills to navigate various challenging situations on the road. By learning defensive driving techniques, individuals become better prepared to:

  • Handle road hazards
  • Respond to emergencies
  • Make safer decisions while driving
  • Help prevent accidents
  • Avoid costly damages to vehicles 
  • Save lives
  • And much more!

Additionally, defensive driving courses can lead to long-term savings by reducing the risk of traffic violations, which can result in fines, increased insurance premiums, and potential license suspensions. Therefore, with long-term benefits and other potential cost savings in mind, defensive driving courses are indeed worth the investment.

Defensive driving instructor placing cones

How do I qualify for a defensive driving course discount?

To qualify for a defensive driving course discount, there are a few steps you need to take. First, as noted above, check with your insurance provider to ensure they offer such a discount, as not every insurance carrier does.

Once you confirm this, find an accredited defensive driving course recognized by your insurance company. Most insurance companies provide a list of approved courses on their websites or can provide recommendations. It is important to choose a course that meets your state’s requirements and is widely recognized in the insurance industry. 

Not doing your research properly could result in you spending money on a defensive driving course your carrier does not recognize as accredited.

After completing the course, make sure to obtain a completion certificate. This document proves that you have successfully finished the defensive driving course. 

Next, submit the certificate to your insurance provider to claim your car insurance discount. Insurance companies usually have specific procedures for submitting the certificate, so be sure to follow their guidelines to ensure the discount is applied properly to your premium.

Keep in mind that defensive driving course discounts may have limitations. Some insurance companies may require policyholders to renew the course periodically to maintain the discount. 

It is essential to stay informed about any renewal requirements to continue benefiting from the discount.

Note: Once your insurance carrier accepts your certificate, the discount is generally not applied to your current policy term. Once your policy renews, the discount will be applied at that time.

What does a defensive driving course cover?

Defensive driving courses cover a range of topics designed to enhance your driving skills and promote safe driving habits on the road. The specific curriculum may vary depending on the course provider, but common areas of focus include:

  • Defensive driving techniques: Learning how to anticipate and react to potential hazards on the road, including aggressive drivers, adverse weather conditions, and unexpected situations.
  • Traffic laws and regulations: Reviewing current traffic laws, road signs, and regulations to ensure compliance and promote safer driving practices.
  • Risk management: Understanding the concept of risk on the road and strategies to minimize it, such as maintaining safe following distances, scanning for potential dangers, and adjusting driving behavior based on road conditions.
  • Collision avoidance: Developing skills to avoid accidents and handle emergencies, including proper braking techniques, evasive maneuvers, and understanding vehicle dynamics.
  • Distracted driving awareness: Highlighting the dangers of distracted driving and providing strategies to minimize distractions while behind the wheel.
  • Impaired driving prevention: Educating drivers on the risks of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and promoting responsible decision-making.

How long is a defensive driving course?

The duration of a defensive driving course can vary depending on several factors, including the course provider, delivery method (online or in-person), and the specific curriculum. On average, most defensive driving courses range from four to eight hours. However, some courses may offer shorter or more extensive options.

Traditional in-person courses are typically conducted over the span of a single day, with sessions lasting approximately six to eight hours. 

On the other hand, online defensive driving courses often provide flexibility, allowing participants to complete the course at their own pace. Online courses may offer the option to start and stop as needed, enabling students to complete the coursework over several sessions.

When choosing a defensive driving course, consider your schedule and learning preferences. Ensure that the course you select fits your availability and allows you to complete the required hours within your desired timeframe.

Who offers defensive driving courses?

Defensive driving courses are offered by various institutions, including driving schools, community colleges, and online education platforms. Many states have specific requirements regarding the accreditation of defensive driving courses, so it’s important to choose a course that meets your state’s guidelines and is recognized by your insurance provider.

Driving schools and community colleges often provide in-person defensive driving courses. These courses typically involve classroom instruction, interactive activities, and sometimes hands-on driving exercises. They are facilitated by experienced instructors who provide valuable insights and guidance.

Online education platforms have become increasingly popular for defensive driving courses. These platforms offer the convenience of completing the course from the comfort of your home at your own pace. Online courses usually consist of interactive modules, videos, quizzes, and a final exam. They allow participants to access the course material at any time and from any device with an internet connection. This flexibility makes online defensive driving courses a convenient option for individuals with busy schedules or those who prefer self-paced learning.

When selecting a defensive driving course provider, ensure that they are reputable, accredited, and recognized by your insurance company to qualify for the insurance discount.


Online vs. in-person driver training classes: Pros and cons of each

When considering defensive driving courses, you may have the option to choose between online and in-person classes. Each delivery method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each:

Online driver safety courses


  • Convenience: Online courses offer the flexibility to complete the coursework at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can access the material from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Self-paced learning: Online courses allow you to progress through the material at a speed that suits you. You can review challenging topics or breeze through familiar ones.
  • Cost-effective: Online courses often have lower fees compared to in-person classes, as they eliminate the need for physical facilities and instructors.


  • Lack of in-person interaction: Online courses may lack the face-to-face interaction and personal guidance provided by instructors in traditional classroom settings.
  • Self-discipline: Without the structure of in-person classes, online courses require the self-discipline to stay motivated and complete the coursework within a reasonable timeframe.

In-person driver safety courses


  • Instructor guidance: In-person courses offer the benefit of direct guidance from experienced instructors. They can answer questions, provide real-time feedback, and offer valuable insights based on their expertise.
  • Interactive learning: Classroom settings allow for interactive activities, group discussions, and hands-on exercises, enhancing the learning experience.
  • Networking opportunities: In-person classes provide opportunities to interact with other participants, fostering connections and the exchange of experiences.


  • Time commitment: In-person courses typically require attending sessions on specific dates and times, which may pose scheduling challenges for some individuals.
  • Higher cost: Compared to online courses, in-person classes may have higher fees due to the costs associated with facilities, instructors, and materials.

Consider your personal preferences, schedule, and learning style when deciding between online and in-person defensive driving classes. Both options can provide valuable knowledge and skills, so choose the one that aligns with your needs.

Can a defensive driving course still lower your car insurance rate if you got a traffic ticket?

A defensive driving course can still lower your car insurance rate even if you have received a traffic ticket like a speeding ticket. In fact, completing a defensive driving course after receiving a ticket can have additional benefits beyond the potential insurance discount.

This commitment can help mitigate the negative impact of the traffic ticket on your insurance premium. Insurance companies recognize that individuals who undergo defensive driving education are more likely to develop safer habits, reduce the risk of future violations, and contribute to a decrease in accidents. 

Some insurance companies may offer a one-time discount for completing a defensive driving course, while others may have specific guidelines or limitations. 

It is crucial to contact your insurance provider and inquire about their policy regarding defensive driving courses and traffic ticket discounts. They can provide the necessary information and advise you on how to proceed.

How do I pick the best defensive driving school?

Selecting the right defensive driving school is essential to ensure you receive quality education and meet the requirements of your insurance provider. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a defensive driving school:

  1. Accreditation: Verify that the school is accredited by the appropriate authorities or recognized by your insurance company. Accreditation ensures that the course meets specific standards and provides valuable instruction.
  2. Course delivery options: Determine whether you prefer online or in-person instruction. Consider your schedule, learning style, and convenience when making this decision.
  3. Reputation and reviews: Research the reputation of the defensive driving school. Read reviews and testimonials from previous students to gauge the quality of their courses and instruction.
  4. Course content: Review the curriculum and ensure that the course covers all relevant topics required for defensive driving education. It should include defensive driving techniques, traffic laws, risk management strategies, collision avoidance, and other key elements.
  5. Instructor qualifications: Inquire about the qualifications and experience of the instructors. They should have extensive knowledge of defensive driving and be able to communicate the course material effectively.
  6. Cost: Compare the prices of different defensive driving schools and consider the value you will receive for the price. Remember to balance cost with the reputation and quality of the course.

Considering these factors can help you select a defensive driving school that meets your needs, provides comprehensive education, and ensures eligibility for the insurance discount.

Who is eligible for a defensive driver training discount?

Eligibility requirements for a defensive driver training discount can vary among insurance providers and states. However, there are common criteria that most insurers consider when determining your eligibility. Typically, to qualify for a defensive driver training discount, you must:

  1. Complete an approved course: Complete an accredited defensive driving course that your insurance provider recognizes. Ensure that the course meets the specific requirements of your state and insurance company.
  2. Have a valid driving license: Hold a valid driver’s license when completing the course.
  3. Not having any recent violations: Have a clean driving record without recent traffic violations or accidents. Insurance providers are more likely to offer discounts to drivers who demonstrate responsible and low-risk driving behavior.
  4. Adhere to renewal requirements: Some insurance companies require policyholders to renew their defensive driving course periodically to maintain the discount. Stay informed about any renewal obligations to continue benefiting from this discount. Be your own advocate.

Other reasons you may need to take defensive driving classes

In addition to the potential insurance savings and skill enhancement, there are several other reasons why individuals may choose to take defensive driving classes, which could include the following:

  1. Court or Legal Requirements: In certain situations, a court or legal authority may mandate the completion of a defensive driving course as part of a sentence or to dismiss a traffic violation. The course demonstrates a commitment to improving driving habits and can help fulfill legal obligations.
  2. Point Reduction: Many jurisdictions employ a point system where accumulated points on a driver’s license can result in penalties or suspension. Defensive driving classes may offer the opportunity to reduce existing points on a driving record, helping drivers maintain a clean record and avoid potential consequences.
  3. License Reinstatement: If a driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, completion of a defensive driving course may be required as part of the reinstatement process. These courses can demonstrate a commitment to safe driving practices and may be necessary to regain driving privileges.
  4. Personal Development: Defensive driving classes offer a chance for personal growth and development as a driver. They provide a platform to refresh knowledge of traffic laws, gain updated information on road safety, and enhance driving skills. By investing in these courses, individuals can proactively improve their driving abilities and contribute to safer roads for everyone.
  5. Voluntary Skill Improvement: Even for experienced drivers, defensive driving classes can serve as a refresher course to reinforce safe driving techniques. These courses offer the opportunity to learn new strategies, stay updated on current driving practices, and address any areas where improvement may be needed.

Defensive driving courses offer numerous benefits beyond potential savings on auto insurance. Whether you’re looking to lower your insurance premiums, enhance your driving skills, dismiss a traffic ticket, or fulfill an insurance requirement, these courses can prove valuable. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate the options available, consider the pros and cons of online and in-person training, and check with your insurance provider to determine eligibility requirements and potential insurance savings.

What Is SteadyDrive?

SteadyDrive is a mobile app that uses the technology in your smartphone to score how safely you drive and helps good drivers get exclusive auto insurance discounts. 

Once SteadyDrive is installed on your phone, the app analyzes your driving habits in the background over the course of the test drive. You can always check your progress toward the discount within the app.

SteadyDrive works on your Android or Apple phone and is free and easy to use. Simply download, and drive, and we will do the rest. If sitting in a physical defensive driving course or on a video conference call that lasts for hours doesn’t sound that appealing to you, just driving your car safely could save you hundreds of dollars per year on auto insurance through SteadyDrive.

For more information, learn How SteadyDrive Can Save You Money.

Stay safe and happy driving!


SteadyDrive is not an insurer or an insurance agent or broker. SteadyDrive does not provide you with an insurance policy, so make sure that you have insurance coverage while you drive. Please contact your insurer or an insurance agent or broker (if applicable) directly regarding questions you may have pertaining to auto insurance coverage. For more details, see SteadyDrive’s Terms of Service.

Insurance companies often offer defensive driving insurance discounts as a reward for drivers who demonstrate a commitment to safe and responsible driving practices. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various aspects of defensive driving courses and their impact on auto insurance rates.

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