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Car insurance discounts

There are lots of ways to lower your car insurance costs with the help of discounts, including savings related to you, your driving, your vehicle, its use, and your policy.

Andrew HurstKara McGinley

By

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

&Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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This article has been reviewed by a licensed Policygenius expert to ensure that sources, statistics, and claims meet our standard for accurate and unbiased advice.

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By

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®

Certified Financial Planner

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

Updated|9 min read

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Car insurance discounts can save you money on your policy. You can qualify for more than one discount, and usually they're subtracted from your premium automatically when you apply for car insurance

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Insurance companies all offer discounts, but the specifics vary. However, there are some common discounts that are offered by most insurers. With most car insurance companies, drivers can earn savings thanks to their driving, their personal details like their job or age, their vehicle, the way it's used, and their policy itself.

Key takeaways

  • Discounts can lower the cost of car insurance, but the number and variety of discounts you can get depends on the insurance company.

  • The amount drivers can save by qualifying for discounts also depends on the insurance company.

  • Savings are usually for either your driving, personal details, the vehicle you drive, and your policy.

  • Companies usually offer a big discount for bundling more than one type of coverage together, such as home and auto insurance.

How to lower the cost of car insurance

There are potentially dozens of ways to lower the cost you pay for car insurance with discounts. Based on a review of the biggest car insurance providers in the country, Policygenius found that a single car insurance discount could save you between 4 and 40% on a policy, depending on the insurer and how many discounts you qualify for. 

While you can use more than one discount to save money on car insurance, many times insurance companies will prohibit you from stacking discounts after a certain point. While a company may offer more than one dozen discounts, you may only be able to use only half of them to save money.

The number of discounts varies by insurance provider, but often fall into one of a handful of groupings. You could get discounts depending on factors related to:

  • Your driving history

  • Your personal characteristics

  • Your vehicle's and its features

  • How you use your vehicle

  • Your insurance policy

While most discounts are applied automatically when you shop for coverage, some require you to sign-up for a program or complete a task for more savings. You may be able to lower your cost of coverage in the future by deciding to pursue those types of discounts later. 

If you're having trouble getting enough discounts to lower your car insurance costs, we recommend comparing quotes from multiple insurers. Since the difference in the cost of insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars from one company to the next, comparing is the most effective way to make sure you get your lowest rate.

→ Read about the best insurance providers for different drivers' needs

Driver safety discounts

Car insurance discounts related to driver safety are the most commonly offered type of discount among major providers. Additionally, these discounts can be substantial, depending on the company.

Safe driver and claims-free discounts

Perhaps the most common way to save money on car insurance, safe drivers (also referred to as good drivers) and claims-free discounts reward drivers for avoiding a wide range of risky behavior on the road. Nearly every company Policygenius reviewed offered at least one discount for avoiding accidents, tickets, and for not having any recent claims.

Usually, drivers have to remain incident or accident-free for a period of time before they can get a safe driver discount. This span of time depends on the insurer, but commonly it's at least three to five years. After that period, a deduction is applied to your policy — we found a maximum listed amount of up to 22% for this type of discount.

Defensive driver course discounts

Insurers frequently have discounts for drivers who complete a defensive driving course. These types of classes are usually held by your state's Department of Motor Vehicles office, but insurers sometimes accept a certificate of completion from other approved courses.

Driver characteristics discounts

You could lower your car insurance premiums depending on your personal traits. Unlike discounts related to your driving, these types of discounts are open to only certain types of drivers. For this reason, they're harder to qualify for — though there may be many chances for different types of drivers to save, depending on the company.

Homeowner discounts

Many of the largest insurance companies offer a slight discount to homeowners, even if the policyholder's home isn't insured with the same company. This is because homeowners are often perceived as less risky to insure, meaning they're less likely to get into accidents and make claims than people who don't own their own homes.

Mature or older driver discounts

Like homeowners, older drivers may be perceived by some insurance companies to be less risky to insure. Notably, Farmers and Nationwide offer discounts specifically for older, more experienced drivers — usually at least 55 years old.

Affinity and occupational discounts

There are car insurance discounts for a wide range of affinity groups and occupations. Insurance companies sometimes partner with particular organizations, including fraternity and sorority associations, social clubs, alumni associations, and more to offer members who sign up for coverage a discount.

Similarly, insurers may give auto insurance discounts to drivers with certain occupations or credentials. Academic professors, lawyers, medical doctors, federal workers, and applicants with higher-learning degrees can see some discounts with many insurance companies.

Military service discounts

Discounts for military service members or veterans work like other affinity and occupation-related car insurance discounts. Military members or veterans could receive a flat discount (like 15% with GEICO) as a reward for their service, or they may get a steep discount if they're deployed.

USAA's auto insurance coverage uniquely caters to active and retired military service members and their families. Only these people can access USAA's discounts — like 60% for deployment and 15% for garaging a car on a military base, coverage — along with the company's cheaper rates and highly-regarded service.

→ Read about the best coverage for members of the military

Student discounts

While car insurance rates for young drivers are among the most expensive, there are many savings opportunities for families with teenage drivers to lower the cost of their car insurance. These discounts for car insurance coverage typically include:

  • Teen-driver specific discounts: Insurers may offer lower rates to teenage drivers or drivers under 25 who avoid driving dangerously, including accidents and tickets, or young drivers whose parents are also insured with the company. Some companies also offer discounts for teenagers who complete special drivers education courses. When offered, these age-specific discounts may result in a lower premium discount than the similar versions for older drivers. 

  • Good student discounts: By maintaining a high grade point average throughout high school and college, students may qualify for lower insurance premiums with discounts worth as much as 15%. Insurers have different requirements for getting a good student discount, but at least a B average is common.

  • Away-from-home discounts: Students who don't live with their parents could see a special car insurance discount, depending on how far away their school is. Many companies offer away-from-home discounts as long as a student attends school at least 100 miles away from their parents' home (and doesn’t have a car with them).

→ Read about the best discounts for young drivers

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Vehicle discounts

Insurance companies frequently reward policyholders according to their vehicle they want to insure. Drivers could see lower rates depending upon the age of their car, its safety features, and where it's garaged, meaning where you keep it. 

We found that nearly every one of the largest auto insurance companies offers at least one vehicle-related discount, meaning there are a lot of ways to stack these discounts.

Discounts for driver safety technology

There are many auto insurance discounts that companies give according to a car's safety features. Broadly speaking, if a part of your vehicle's design makes it safer and less likely to be involved in a serious accident, there's a good chance you'll get a discount for those features. 

Among large car insurance companies, discounts for safety features could save you as much as 23%. Common features that may help you qualify for a discount include: 

  • Anti-lock brakes

  • Air bags

  • Automatic seatbelts

  • Brake assist systems

  • Daytime running lights

  • Responsive headlights

  • Lane departure warning

Anti-theft device discount

Like discounts for a vehicle's safety features, devices and systems that lower your car's risk of being stolen and having to be replaced are a potential source for significant insurance discounts — as much as 23% off your premium in some cases. You could qualify for these types of discounts if your car is garaged in a secure location, or has:

  • Anti-theft technology: This may include audible alarms, a locking steering wheel, or a remote kill switch, and more technology that came with your vehicle or that you equipped yourself.

  • A tracking device: Companies may offer discounts for approved GPS tracking systems. If your car were stolen, such a device would make recovery easier and decrease the likelihood of your having to make a claim.

  • VIN etching: This refers to the practice of etching your car's unique VIN number onto all its windows, doors, and throughout its body to deter thieves from stealing the car and selling it.

Usage-based discounts

Usage-based discounts include any cost-saving opportunities based on how you drive. Two common types of usage-based discounts are rewarded according to your behavior on the road and how often you use your vehicle. While the savings that come from both types of usage-based discounts may be substantial, they may also have drawbacks.

Read about how usage-based car insurance works

Telematics and behavior-based and telematics discounts

Car insurance discounts that utilize telematics — meaning systems that monitor your behavior and your vehicle's performance while on the road — can be used to lower your car insurance premiums significantly. 

All of the major insurance companies we reviewed offer some type of telematics-based discount software, with discounts ranging from 5 to 40% off your premiums.

If you decide to take part in your insurer's telematics program, you will usually connect an app or device provided by your company to your car. This will allow your insurance provider to monitor your driving behavior for a set amount of time, after which you could receive a discount.

Insurer

Program

Discount

State Farm

Drive Safe and Save

up to 30%

GEICO

DriveEasy

Not listed

Progressive

Snapshot

Not listed

Allstate

Drivewise

10% for signing up, up to 5% for staying connected

USAA

SafePilot

up to 30%

Liberty Mutual

RightTrack

up to 30%

Farmers

Signal

5% for signing up, up to 15% for safe driving

Nationwide

SmartRide

10% for signing up, up to 40% for safe driving

American Family

KnowYourDrive

up to 20%

Travelers

IntelliDrive

up to 30%

However, while participating in these programs is a great way to lower the cost of your car insurance, you may end up with higher rates if you brake too hard, speed frequently, or drive unsafely in other ways.

Low mileage or frequency-of-use discounts

Low mileage discounts (also called frequency-of-use discounts) work similarly as telematics-based insurance discounts. Both discounts are directly related to your performance as a driver. 

While telematics systems monitor your driving performance for a discount, low mileage discounts depend on how often you use your car.

The less you drive, the lower your chances of being involved in a car accident. As a result, you could see the steepest discounts if you don't use your car very much. Similarly, some insurance companies set rates according to the miles you travel — pay a flat rate and then an amount per mile. These are both ways for infrequent drivers to save money on car insurance.

→ Read about different types of usage-based and pay-as-you-go car insurance

Policy discounts

Insurance companies also offer discounts based on your policy and coverage. You could see lower premiums depending on how you shop for coverage, how you pay for car insurance, and how much insurance you decide to get.

Along with discounts related to your vehicle, policy discounts were the most commonly offered by major providers. These insurance discounts may also be easier to qualify for than other types of cost-saving opportunities, meaning you could potentially meet the requirements for more than one.

Bundling and multi-car discounts

Bundling and multi-car discounts are offered by nearly every one of the largest insurance companies. These types of discounts can result in big savings, too — as much as 25% of your premium.

  • Bundling: Most often, this discount is available to people who get an auto and homeowners insurance policy with the same company, but it may extend to people who combine another type of coverage with their car insurance. Bundling can yield discounts of 5 to 20% depending on the company, substantially reducing your final cost of coverage.

  • Multi-car: If you insure more than one vehicle with the same insurance company, there's a good chance you'll qualify for that insurer's multi-vehicle discount. Like discounts for bundling, multi-car discounts can be substantial. We found that insuring more than one vehicle on the same policy could save you up to 25% on your insurance coverage. 

Shopping and payment discounts

Perhaps the easiest way to save money on car insurance, discounts related to the ways you shop and pay for coverage also tend to be widely available across insurers. These types of insurance discounts usually may lower your overall premium by 10% or less, depending on the company. Examples of these discounts include:

  • Early sign-up or early bird discount: If you already have insurance and request a quote with another company before your policy's expiration, you could get a lower premium than if you had waited.

  • Request quote online: We found that requesting a quote online could save drivers at least 7% on car insurance, making it one of the most convenient ways to reduce your premium.

  • Paid in full discount: As long as you're able to, paying your entire premium at the start of your policy commonly results in a discount at most major insurance companies.

  • Electronic billing and automatic payments: Insurance companies reward drivers who opt to handle their policies online. By deciding to receive your bills and make payments online instead of by check or phone, you could qualify for a small car insurance discount.

Renewal or loyalty discount

New policyholders may pay more for car insurance coverage than drivers who have been insured with the same company for years. Insurers commonly offer a discount — sometimes 10% per renewal — on car insurance every time you decide to remain with one company.

This type of car insurance discount is similar to one for continuous coverage. Insurers occasionally reduce the cost of car insurance for drivers who have years of continuous insurance coverage and no history of late payments — even if the policyholder used to be covered by another provider.

Switching insurers

You could lower the cost of a car insurance policy by shopping around and switching insurance companies. Often, these discounts are worth as much as a discount for renewing as a way for insurers to entice people to leave their current providers without losing out on lowering premiums.

Compare rates and shop affordable car insurance today

We don't sell your information to third parties.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get a discount on my car insurance?

In addition to getting discounts on your auto insurance, you could lower your rates by making your deductible higher. You could also reduce the amount of coverage you have, but we don't recommend this course, since it could leave you unprotected from accidents and ultimately result in you paying more after a crash in bills and legal fees.

How do I get 10% off my car insurance?

While many of the most well-known insurance providers offer discounts that can take at least 10% off of your car insurance premium, Policygenius can also help you shop around for coverage so that you find the cheapest rates in your area for your driving history.

Who has the best car insurance discounts?

Compared to other major insurance companies, Farmers has the most car insurance discount opportunities. However, the best insurance company for auto discounts is the one that best lines up with your own profile. When looking for discounts, you want a large number of easily attainable discounts — not necessarily the longest list.

Methodology

Policygenius compared car insurance discounts offered by the 10 largest car insurance companies in the country, according to market share. After recording every discount advertised by these insurers, we sorted them into the five distinct groups mentioned above to ease comparison. The companies we focused on are: 

  • State Farm

  • GEICO

  • Progressive

  • Allstate

  • USAA

  • Liberty Mutual

  • Farmers

  • Nationwide

  • American Family

  • Travelers

Authors

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Expert reviewer

Certified Financial Planner

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®

Certified Financial Planner

gray twitter icon linkgray linkedin icon link

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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