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Car insurance is one of the costs several consumers overlook when shopping for a new vehicle. Depending on the insurance provider you go for, you can find yourself spending a lot on premiums. These premiums can further increase with every traffic violation. What most drivers are not aware of is that there are several ways to save money on the premiums they pay. Today, we will talk about defensive driver courses and the advantages of completing one.

Defensive driver courses

Insurance companies prefer safe drivers. Several of them often reward safe drivers by giving them various discounts on premiums. Taking and completing a defensive driver course not only enables you to learn road safety, but it also enables you to qualify for significant discounts on your insurance premiums.

You can take a course online or in a classroom setting. Most states give you the freedom to decide which learning format to use, as long as the class is certified by both your insurance company and the state’s DMV.

The course can last between four to eight hours and will take you through road safety statistics, techniques on how to avoid accidents, and the traffic laws of your state, among others.

While online classes such as give you flexibility in terms of timing and where you can take them, you will not have the advantage of one-on-one supervision.

Completing the course in a classroom setting will cost you more than the online format and will need you to go to class at the specified location and time. However, for this format, the instructor provides guidance and can answer all the questions you might have. It can also include behind-the-wheel instruction.

After completing the classes, you might need to sit for a comprehension test. You will then share the certificate you receive with your insurance company to qualify for the discount.

Discount eligibility

To qualify for the insurance discount, the course you take must be state-approved and accepted by the insurance company. So it is best to confirm before signing up for a course. For example, not all insurance companies accept online courses. There are several states like California and Alabama that mandate an insurance discount after completing safe-driving classes.

The eligibility or requirements vary depending on the company and the driver. Several companies offer the defensive driving discount to drivers under the age of 25 and over the age of 55 since they are at most risk. The Hartford and Allstate on the other hand, have no age requirement.

How much can you save?

While the discount varies depending on your insurance company, it often ranges between 5% and 10% and usually runs for three years. Most states and companies allow you to retake the course which renews your discount for another three years.

On top of that, the course can help you save even further through the additional discounts available. A car accident or a speeding ticket could increase your rates by up to 23% and 33% respectively and taking a defensive driver course significantly reduces your chances of getting in an accident or receiving a ticket.

If you apply what you learn, you can avoid accidents for several years. Not only will your rates remain low, but going five years without a major violation or an at-fault accident can qualify you for the accident-free discount. This discount can save you a further 10% if not more.

Of course, the main drive behind completing a defensive driving course should not be the insurance discount you qualify for. Rather, it should be the fact that it lowers your chances of being involved in an accident and can save your life.