In this article, we’ll explain the types of safe driving habits that auto insurance companies consider good driving behavior, how to qualify for safe driver discounts, and how to maintain a clean driving record.
How do safe driver discounts work?
Safe driver discounts work by giving you a discount on your car insurance if you meet the insurance company’s qualifications.
Insurance companies look at lots of factors that can affect your car insurance rates. They consider your driving history and many other factors including your zip code.1 Auto insurers consider the traffic patterns and risks in the area where you drive. You can’t control these factors, but you can lower your rate by earning a good driver reward.
Safe driving practices often include:
- Accelerating gradually
- Driving within the proper speed limit
- Not making sharp turns
- Not using a phone while driving
- Braking gently
Here are a couple of ways auto insurance companies can reward you for being a better driver2 :
- Discounts for your driving habits – A lower auto insurance rate based on information from apps or telematics devices that evaluate how, when, and where you drive.
- Discounts for your driving record – A lower auto insurance rate based on how many tickets or accidents you’ve been involved in over time.
Auto insurance companies often have many ways to give you discounts on your rates. That’s one reason they always check your driving record when you buy car insurance. Clean drivers typically get discounts. Drivers who are willing to give apps and telematics devices a try may get an additional discount as a reward for having good driving habits.
SteadyDrive allows you to be proactive in providing auto insurers with additional information about your safe driving habits to get discounted rates from leading insurance providers.
You’ll be glad to know that your driving record doesn’t have to be completely spotless to get a safe driver discount. That’s because auto insurers consider your driving record over time. The longer stretch you have without tickets and accidents, the more likely you’ll qualify for safe driving discounts.
How much can you save with a safe driver discount?
Each auto insurance company has its own formula for deciding how much to offer in safe driving discounts. According to Forbes Advisor, safe drivers can save between 10% to 40% on their auto insurance premiums.3
How do auto insurance companies apply discounts to households with multiple drivers?
Again, each company has its own standards for how to apply discounts. In general, they base safe driver discounts on the average driving records of all household drivers.4 You may not qualify for the best discount if one or more drivers have a slight blemish on their driving records. Yet, the records of better drivers in the household may offset the difference.
What is considered a clean driving record?
The definition of a clean driving record is somewhat subjective. What one insurance company considers a clean driving record may not match another insurance company’s standards at all.
Fortunately, you can always shop around for quotes to find the company that provides the best discounts and rates.
How clean does your driving record have to be to qualify for a discount?
Most auto insurance companies look at your driving record for the last 3 to 5 years. They consider the types of incidents on your driving record and the frequency of incidents.
Auto insurers may consider one or more of the following types of incidents when deciding whether you qualify for a safe driving discount5:
- Traffic violations for speeding tickets, reckless driving, failure to stop or yield, running a traffic light, etc.
- Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated
- At-fault accidents
A few companies may consider other types of claims in deciding whether you qualify for a discount. In some cases, comprehensive claims like hitting a deer or glass breakage can also play a role.
Some insurance companies also consider that everyone has an accident at one time or another. An occasional accident doesn’t mean you’re not a safe driver. For that reason, some companies will forgive the first accident that happens within a certain timeframe.6 A company that offers accident forgiveness can help you qualify for a good driver discount.
Which insurance companies offer discounts to good drivers?
The simple answer is that the majority of insurance providers offer some safe driver discounts for drivers who meet their eligibility criteria.
When getting auto insurance quotes, you’ll find the percentage and qualifications for good driver discounts vary between companies. Even so, you won’t have trouble finding auto insurance companies that offer these discounts. By getting quotes from multiple companies, you are in the driver’s seat to determine which company helps you lower your insurance rates the most.
How to qualify for a safe driver discount
We’re highlighting some simple things you can do to increase your chances of getting a good driver discount:
- Keep a clean driving record for 3 to 5 years
- Ask for court supervision if you get a ticket (in states where it’s allowable)
- Live in a state that allows auto insurers to offer safe driving discounts
- Take a defensive driver course
- Don’t use your personal car for business use if possible
- Be conscious of distractions such as mobile phone use
- Require everyone in the vehicle to wear seatbelts at all times
- Encourage all household drivers to take a defensive driving course
All isn’t lost if you don’t qualify for a good driver discount right away. Now that you know how to qualify for a safe driver discount, you can start working toward the goal. In time, you’re likely to achieve it!
You can also learn more about proper driving etiquette and basic driving tips to help keep you safe on the roads.
How to maintain a safe driver discount
Once you qualify for a safe driver discount, you’ll want to keep it. Keep up your responsible driving habits, and there’s less chance of losing it.
Keep the following things on the top of your mind to get the reward of a good driver discount.
Avoid Traffic Violations and Car Accidents
One of the first lessons of driving is to stay alert. Cautious driving can help you avoid traffic violations. Pay close attention to the speed limit and traffic signals, especially in areas that you’re unfamiliar with. Always be a defensive driver. Pay attention to your blind spots, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, and watch out for careless drivers.
Practice Safe Driving Habits
Keep your eyes moving while driving. Look in front of you, behind you, and watch both sides. Follow the speed limit, use your turn signals, and always wear your seatbelt. Whenever possible, stay off the road when conditions are poor. Be patient when traffic is heavy. Most importantly, never drink and drive.
Smartphones usually have a “do not disturb” feature that automatically sends calls to voicemail when you’re driving. If your phone doesn’t have this feature, put your phone away so you’re not tempted to text or answer a call.
When traveling with small children, obey the laws for car and booster seats. Stop the vehicle if you need to tend to them.
Get clear directions to your destination before you head out, or use a dash-mounted GPS.
Avoid Slamming the Brakes and the Accelerator
Brake gently to avoid skidding or losing control of your vehicle. Accelerate slowly, as you’ll be able to react faster if you need to.
Perform Regular Vehicle Maintenance
Well-maintained vehicles help prevent accidents. Regularly check your brakes, battery, lights, windshield wipers, and tires to be sure everything works properly.
Other Types of Auto Insurance Discounts for Good Drivers
To get even more savings, you may qualify for one or more of the following discounts insurance companies offer good drivers:
- Defensive Driver Course Discount – Discounts for drivers who complete driver instruction training
- Passive Restraints Discount – Discounts for having airbags in the vehicle
- Student Away Discount – Discounts for students who are away at school over a certain number of miles without a car
- Vehicle Safety Discount – Discounts for a favorable loss experience on your car’s make and model
- Multi-policy Discount – Discount for bundling multiple policies. For example, bundling your auto insurance with your homeowner or renter’s insurance policy to save even more.
How Safe Driving Can Save You Money With SteadyDrive
Your age, marital status, gender, and credit score are some of the common factors auto insurers use to determine your premiums. However, these demographics don’t tell the entire story of how safely you drive.
By downloading SteadyDrive, you can get a quote within a few weeks (or less) that more accurately reflects your driving experience.
Otherwise, your rate will be based on your driving record alone (and other factors insurers look at, like your age, gender, credit score, etc). If you qualify, you will receive car insurance quotes that include discounted rates. Safe drivers can save hundreds on car insurance.
RELATED: How SteadyDrive Can Save You Money
Frequently Asked Questions About Safe Driver Discounts
What is a safe driver discount?
A safe driver discount is a percentage of savings on your auto insurance simply by developing safe driving habits. Accelerating smoothly, turning safely, driving according to the speed limit, braking gently, and avoiding phone use all make a difference.
Are safe driver discounts and good driver discounts the same?
Most auto insurers use safe driver discounts and good driver discounts interchangeably, but not all of them. Each insurance company determines how to define the safe driver discounts they choose to offer drivers.
Is a safe driver discount only for people with no accidents?
Each insurance company determines which drivers qualify for a safe driver discount. Depending on the type of accident that’s listed on your record, you may still qualify for a safe driver discount.
How does driver education factor in safe driver discounts?
Young drivers can take a defensive driver training class which will teach them about safe driving habits. Also, drivers age 55 and older can take a defensive driver class as a refresher to remind them to continue safe driving habits. In both cases, auto insurance companies recognize that driver education courses encourage safe driving habits for drivers young and old.
1Kilroy, A. (2023) 9 key factors that affect car insurance rates, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/factors-in-rates/ (Accessed: 06 December 2023).
2Tiede, M. GoodDriver Discounts, Trusted Choice. Available at: https://www.trustedchoice.com/car-insurance/auto-coverage-discounts/safe-good-driver-discounts/. Written 27 July 2018. (Accessed: 20 November 2023).
3Metz, J. (2023) Car Insurance Discounts Guide 2023, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/discounts/#:~:text=Car%20insurance%20companies%20love%20safe,of%20available%20car%20insurance%20discounts. (Accessed: 20 November 2023).
4Car Insurance for Multiple Drivers: Everything You Need to Know, Car and Driver. Available at: https://www.caranddriver.com/car-insurance/a36147033/car-insurance-multiple-drivers/. Written April 16, 2021. (Accessed: 20 November 2023).
5How to Get a Good Driver Discount on Car Insurance. Available at: https://www.valuepenguin.com/good-driver-car-insurance-discount#cleanrecord (Accessed: 06 December 2023).
6Kilroy, A. (2023b) What is accident forgiveness coverage?, Forbes. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/car-insurance/accident-forgiveness/#:~:text=Usually%2C%20accident%20forgiveness%20only%20applies,forgiven%E2%80%9D%20by%20your%20insurance%20company. (Accessed: 06 December 2023).
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.
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