What Is the Defensive Driving Discount?

Did you know that you can get a discount on car insurance by taking a defensive driving course? Learn more about it here.
Instructor high-fiving defensive driving course student

Did you know you can save anywhere from 5 to 15% on car insurance by improving your driving skills? Some insurers give out a discount for defensive driving courses. This is because it shows you care about being safe on the road and are proactively taking steps to improve your driving.

Be aware that, depending on your age, you may not be eligible for the defensive course discount. Insurers normally only offer savings for those who are over the age of 55 or younger than 25. However, the eligibility rules vary between carriers.

This article will help you learn everything you need to know about this discount. This includes how it works and if you qualify. You’ll also find out who offers this benefit and how much you can save.

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How the Defensive Driving Discount Works

Discounts are a great way to save money on auto insurance. Each one knocks a percentage off of your rates. Getting several at the same time can significantly lower your premium.

In particular, insurers reward drivers who practice safe driving habits and actions. This includes taking courses to learn better habits. Taking a defensive course can lower your premium by up to 20%. Though, this depends on your age, insurer, and state. Keep in mind that your insurance company may refer to this discount with a different name, such as accident prevention or driver education.

What Is a Defensive Driving Course?

Defensive courses exist to help prevent you from getting into accidents or any other dangerous situation on the road. They’re typically offered by state governments and, on occasion, in partnership with insurers. These classes go over the following:

  • Defensive maneuvers
  • Car maintenance
  • Traffic laws and regulations
  • How to avoid weather hazards

Not only can taking a driving course save you money, but it’ll more than likely keep you safer. It’s a win-win for you and your provider.

How to Qualify

Not everyone is eligible to save money by taking a driving course. In general, insurers only reward drivers on the young and old sides of the spectrum. This refers to drivers under the age of 25 or over the age of 55. But your company may have different age requirements.

Age isn’t the only requirement to qualify for savings. Your insurer may want you to:

  • Be the car’s main driver
  • Have completed a valid driver training course within the last three years (two in Washington state and D.C.)
  • Have a clean driving record for three years
  • Be able to provide proof of completing the driving course

Who Offers the Defensive Driving Discount

Several insurance companies offer defensive driving discounts. Each company has varying requirements and savings amounts. Below is a list of each major insurer to offer this reward:

State Farm

With State Farm, you can save anywhere from 5 to 15% by taking a defensive driving class. Your exact savings will depend on other factors, such as your state and age. To qualify for this benefit, you must meet these requirements:

  • Be the car’s main driver
  • Have no tickets or accidents in the last three years (two in Washington state and D.C.)
  • Show proof that you’ve completed the course
  • Be at least 55 years old (60 in Ohio and Connecticut)

Depending on your state, this discount may not be available. You may also see State Farm give it another name. These states offer this reward, but under a different name:

  • Accident Prevention – Maryland
  • Accident Prevention Course – New York
  • California Good Driver – California
  • Driver Education Course – Colorado
  • Driver Improvement Course – Pennsylvania
  • Driver Training – only available in 23 states
  • Good Driving – available in all states, except CA, IL, IN, MA, MO, NH, NJ, and RI
  • Inexperienced Driver Safety Education – California
  • Mature Driver Improvement Course – California
  • Motorcycle Education Course – Hawaii
  • Motorcycle Training Course – Oregon and Tennessee
  • Traffic Mitigation – Delaware

American Family

American Family (AmFam) offers a defensive driver discount. The exact savings are unclear on the insurer’s website. All you need to do to start saving is complete a valid defensive course and submit proof of completion to AmFam. You must also be over the age of 55 and be a resident of a qualifying state. The following states are eligible:

  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Utah
  • Washington


People over the age of 55 can lower their rates with Nationwide by taking a defensive driving course. The exact percentage of savings isn’t available on Nationwide’s website. Be sure to ask your agent for more info on how much you can save. To qualify for this discount, you must:

  • Pass a valid accident prevention course
  • Have no at-fault accidents within the last three years


GEICO offers both defensive driving and driver’s educational course discounts. The savings for completing each course varies. Eligibility requirements are also unclear. You can assume that you’ll likely need to be over 55 years old or younger than 25 to qualify. Be sure to ask your agent about specific requirements and savings.


Farmers customers over the age of 55 can save by completing safe driver training in the last three years. The company doesn’t list the exact discount percentage. Your agent will have more info on how much you can save.


Travelers’ driver training discount helps young drivers save money on car insurance. You’ll need to pass a valid driver’s education course to qualify. How much you can save isn’t clear. It’s a good idea to check with your agent or contact the insurer directly to find out how much you stand to save.


USAA offers a driver training discount through SafeDriver.com. Anyone who completes this training program can lower their premium. Savings vary from person to person. This benefit also may not be available in your state. Check with your USAA agent to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does a defensive driving course discount lower your insurance?

A: Savings can vary depending on your age, state, and insurer. In general, you can expect to save anywhere from 5 to 20%. Be sure to speak with your agent about how much you can specifically save.

Q: What does a defensive driving course cover?

A: These classes cover a wide range of driving techniques and maneuvers. This includes the following:

  • Traffic laws
  • How to avoid weather-related hazards
  • How to perform defensive maneuvers
  • Basic car maintenance

Q: How long does a driving course take?

A: This depends on which driver training program you select. SafeDriver.com’s class takes around three to four hours to complete. Other programs could take several weeks to complete. You should also expect to pay a fee for the program.


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