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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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In order to obtain a basic driver’s license, an individual must undergo some sort of driver’s education course and complete a driving test. For most people, this occurs when they’re 16, although some states extend the driver’s education process with an additional step so that drivers do not get unrestricted licenses until age 18. Nevertheless, for most people, once the initial driver’s license is obtained, there is no need to pursue additional driver’s education.
There are multiple types of advanced driver’s education courses that are offered to individuals, however, and some people need to take these courses as part of their job training or for other purposes. In addition to professional driving school, individuals can pursue advanced driver’s education courses to improve their skills and receive a discounted rate on their auto insurance.
Why Driving Courses Save Money on Insurance
Driving safely is a combination of experience, muscle memory and technique. For many people, driving is something that comes as second nature after years of practice. This may lead to complacency, and people may slip into bad habits that are lazy or dangerous.
Learning driving techniques can help reduce the chance of an auto accident. People who learn defensive driving techniques have a greater ability to evade collisions, and even a basic refresher course about driving can help people improve their skills.
Because insurance companies determine how much a person’s premiums should cost based upon the likelihood of that person being involved in an accident, driver’s education courses are a great way to lower your risk and improve your rates. These types of courses are especially helpful to young drivers or people in high-risk categories who need some assistance in reducing the cost of their insurance.
Do All Driving Courses Save Me Money?
Not all forms of driver’s education can be used to get a discount on auto insurance. For example, specialized driving courses like those required to get a commercial driver’s license may not have any affect on your premiums since they are not applicable to regular driving.
The best courses to look for are defensive driving, advanced driving and DUI awareness courses. If in doubt, you can check with your insurance company to see what they consider to be important and if there are any limitations.
Additionally, not all programs will be accredited or seen as legitimate in the eyes of the insurance company. Always research any driver’s education course before you take it to make sure that it will actually help you.
How Much Will I Save?
As a rule, a safe driving course will save you approximately 10% on your insurance premiums. Some companies may offer a greater or smaller discount, but the average is usually 10%. These effects are not cumulative; you cannot continue taking multiple courses for further discounts.
You can, however, combine a driving school discount with other types of discounts to increase the amount of your savings. For example, you can combine a save driving course with a good student discount to multiply your savings. You can ask your insurance company how long the discount will last and how often you need to re-take a course to keep the discount current.
How to Find a Driving Class
There are multiple ways to sign up for an advanced driving course:
— Online Courses
Some driving courses can be taken online for a very affordable price. Not all insurance companies will recognize these as viable courses, but for the ones that do they can be an easy and low-cost way to reduce your insurance premiums.
— Through the DMV
Your local DMV may occasionally offer cheap defensive driving courses or other types of advanced driver’s training. You can inquire about them whenever you go to the DMV to renew your license, or you can find information online.
— The Local Library
Sometimes libraries, community centers and other places will provide driving courses. These may be free for the first people who sign up, or they might cost a small fee. Be sure to ask your librarian about upcoming events and how to enroll.
— Driving Schools
Some places offer independent driver’s education courses. These driving schools may also offer the courses necessary to get a commercial driver’s license or other types of specialized driving programs. They may be somewhat more costly than other types of programs, but you should have a wider variety of courses available through them.
No matter where you go to complete your driver’s education courses, be sure that the program offers a certificate of completion. This will allow you to prove to your insurance company that you’ve completed the program and qualify for the discount.
Prior to enrolling, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to make sure that the course will qualify you for a discount. If not, ask if there are any other courses you can take instead that will reduce the cost of your auto insurance. By working with your insurance company to ensure that you take the best course, you can reduce the cost of your premiums and save money on redundant education programs.