How to get car insurance discounts

There are many ways you can get discounts on your auto insurance, like completing a defensive driving course, or bundling your car insurance with your home or condo insurance.

Logan SachonKara McGinley


Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Senior Managing Editor

Logan Sachon is an Insurance Expert and Senior Managing Editor at Policygenius. She joined the company in 2018 as an Insurance Editor and has written extensively about insurance and personal finance for the Policygenius website and for the Easy Money by Policygenius weekly newsletter. 


Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto, and renters insurance. She's been writing about insurance since 2019, and her work and insights have been referenced in Kiplinger and

Updated October 7, 2020|4 min read

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Auto insurance is required in almost every state in the U.S., and even where it's not required, having auto insurance coverage is still important protection. That means that insurance companies don’t have to convince you that it’s a good idea to buy an insurance policy — the way they do with, say, life insurance — so much as sell you on the idea that you should be buying it from them instead of the competition.

One way insurance companies can entice customers is to offer discounts. Discounts can help make your car insurance more affordable, so it's good to know which ones are offered by different car insurance companies.

There are a lot of different auto insurance discounts you can get from your insurance provider, but most insurance companies categorize discount types into three main groups:

  • Driver discounts - Discounts having to do with you and your driving habits

  • Vehicle discounts - Discounts having to do with your car

  • Policy discounts - Including multi-policy discounts and discounts for paying your insurance premiums for the year up front

Before you buy car insurance, you can save money right off the bat by ensuring that you’re buying the right amount of car insurance. Need to know how much car insurance you need? We can help you figure out your ideal coverage amount, plus get you free car insurance quotes from America’s top insurers.

Key Takeaways

  • Auto insurance companies offer discounts based on your driving habits, like if you’ve been accident free for three years or if you’ve completed a defensive driving education course

  • You can get a discount on your car insurance policy if you buy another type of insurance — like your homeowners or renters insurance — with the same company

  • Safety features can also result in discounts, like if you have an anti-theft system in your car

Driver discounts

One of the major factors in determining your car insurance rates is what kind of driver you are and what driving habits you have. There are some things, like your age, that you can’t do much about, but you can take advantage of some of your personal details to save big on your premiums.

Affiliation discounts

Many car insurance companies will give discounts based on affiliations with certain groups, and this often takes the form of occupational discounts.

A few affiliations include:

  • Active military members

  • Types of federal employees

  • Educator discounts

  • Members of certain clubs or organizations

  • College alumni discounts

Besides these broad groups, you can also look for more employer-specific discounts. GEICO, for example, has insurance discounts for employees of Berkshire Hathaway companies.

Student discounts

Student discounts are pretty popular because they make it more affordable for parents to buy car insurance for young drivers, which is notoriously expensive.

  • Good student discount: If a full-time student keeps their grades above a certain threshold, premium rates stay low.

  • College student discounts: Many insurers also offer discounts for full-time students while they’re actually still in college. It’s hard (or expensive) for a lot of students to bring their cars with them when they leave for college, but they’ll still need insurance for when they come back home. For those who won’t be driving their car that often, they can get car insurance at a reduced rate so they’re still protected without paying full-time premiums.

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Good driver discounts

There are also discounts for how well or how often drivers drive.

  • Safe driver discount: Based on the number of claims filed, how many times you get ticketed, and so on while driving. If you’ve ever had a fender bender, you know that it can raise your rates by quite a bit. But if you can go three to five years — depending on the car insurance company — without any accidents or tickets, you might be able to see a drop in your insurance premiums.

  • Driver’s education discount: If a young driver in your family completes a driver’s education course, they may be eligible for a discount on most coverages.

  • Defensive driving education discount: Some insurance companies will offer a discount to drivers who complete a defensive driving education course (regardless if you are a new or old driver).

  • Low-mileage discounts. The less you drive, the less likely you are to be in an accident, so many insurance companies will give you a break if your annual mileage is low enough.

Vehicle discounts

Most insurance companies will offer discounts on your car insurance premiums for safety features that you can add to your vehicle.

  • Anti-theft system discount: Built-in anti-theft systems can result in a discount on the comprehensive coverage of your car insurance policy.

  • New vehicle discount: Some insurance companies will offer a discount if your car is newer than three years old.

  • Tracking device discount: Savings if you have a GPS tracking system like OnStar, LoJack or another GPS tracker that can locate your stolen vehicle.

  • Safety tech discount: Other types of safety technology can earn you saving, like electronic stability control, which helps keep you from skidding.

Policy discounts

A lot of auto insurance premium discounts are used for customer retention. Insurers want to give you every reason to stay with them and they want to make it worth your money to do as much business with them as possible: they want you to insure every car you have with them, plus other property, too.

Bundling, multi-car, and multi-policy discounts

Most insurance companies insure more than just cars; they offer a variety of insurance products, such as homeowners insurance and renters insurance. If you buy multiple policies, also called bundling, your insurance company may offer you a discount. If you have multiple cars, insuring them all through the same insurance company can get you a multi-car or multi-policy discount.

We can help you get an insurance checkup to see what your insurance needs are, and if you need more coverage, getting some if it in one place can save you money.

Family plan discounts

Family plans are also common for auto insurance. If you, your spouse, and your kids are all insured with the same company, you’ll probably get a discount. Plus, having all of your plans at one company makes it easy to avoid the hassle of multiple car insurance premium payments to multiple companies at different times.

Policy payment discounts

How you pay can also save you money. Some insurers will offer a discount for things like:

Renewal discount

The most obvious time to focus on customer retention is when a customer has to renew their policy, which is why most insurers offer some sort of renewal discount to keep you from switching to a different insurer.

Switching insurers

Some insurance companies will offer you a discount if you transfer or switch your auto insurance policy to them. Basically, if you join with a new insurer they might give you a discount for ditching the competition. This makes it worth shopping around when it comes time to renew your car insurance — just in case you can find a better deal elsewhere.

There’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to your auto insurance. The car insurance discounts you’re eligible for can play a big role in which carrier you go with and how much you’ll pay every year. It’s important to do your research to see which company can get you the best deal.

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