All of the insurers in our rating of the Best Car Insurance Companies offer discounts. The savings opportunities available vary by insurer but include:
- Good (safe) driver discount
- Student discount
- Anti-theft device discount
- Paperless discount
- Military discount
- Automatic payments discount
- Loyalty discount
- Low-mileage discount
To help you find the most savings, we’ve compiled a list of common car insurance discounts. Most auto insurers, including those in our rating of the Best Car Insurance Companies, offer discounts that fit into one of these categories:
- Policy discounts
- Driver behavior discounts
- Driver characteristic discounts
- Affinity discounts
- Vehicle-based discounts
Keep in mind that this isn’t a complete list of available discounts. Discounts and eligibility requirements vary by insurer and state. The best way to find out what’s available is to contact your insurer.
Or, if you’re currently looking for new coverage, make sure to ask about available discounts and whether you or other drivers on your policy meet the eligibility requirements.
Bundling or multipolicy discounts
If you purchase two or more insurance policies from the same insurer – auto, home, renters, etc. – you may be eligible for a multipolicy or bundling discount. You may also be able to get a discount for insuring two or more vehicles through the same insurer, which is typically called a multi-car discount.
Bundling discounts and eligibility vary by insurer, but they are one of the most common auto insurance discounts available.
The biggest advantage of bundling is the potential savings. Another benefit is the convenience of managing all your insurance policies on the same website or by calling the same customer service number.
One drawback to bundling your car insurance is that you may not save that much. It’s possible that you will pay less overall if you don’t bundle policies, especially if you own a collectible or hard-to-insure vehicle.
Compare the best homeowners and auto insurance bundles
Does bundling car insurance save money?
The average car insurance policy costs $1,547 annually, according to our analysis of car insurance rates, so it’s easy to see the appeal of lowering your premium through bundling.
Insurers in our rating of the Best Home and Auto Insurance Bundles offer discounts of 10% to 25% or more for combining policies. But there’s no guarantee that your discount will be as significant. You’ll only know if bundling is right for you by doing your research and comparing quotes from multiple insurers.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends comparing quotes from at least three insurance companies. Many insurers will provide you with a free auto insurance quote online, over the phone, or in person with a licensed agent.
What kinds of policies can you bundle?
Insurers commonly advertise discounts when you bundle your auto and renters or home insurance, but you may be eligible for additional savings by bundling other policies, including boat, motorcycle, or life insurance.
Keep in mind that bundling options vary by company and state, so it’s a good idea to check with an insurer to learn about your options. Here’s a breakdown of some of the policies you can generally bundle together, though additional options may be available:
Policy renewal/loyalty discounts
Insurance companies want to keep your business, and many of them will reward you with lower rates if you continue to renew your policy. If your renewal is approaching, contact your insurer to find out if you’re eligible for a loyalty discount.
That said, you should still explore other options. Even if your insurer does offer a loyalty discount, it may not be enough to beat lower rates offered by other insurers.
When policyholders pay their entire premium up front, they can often receive a paid-in-full discount from their insurer. If you’re purchasing a new policy, you may be able to see paid-in-full discounts when you complete the quote process. If you’re renewing an existing policy, contact your insurer to find out if paid-in-full discounts are available.
Some insurers also provide auto insurance discounts to policyholders who pay their premiums quarterly or semiannually instead of monthly. If making a full payment isn’t in your budget, find out if the insurer offers other payment schedule discounts.
Automatic payment discounts
Many car insurance companies also reward policyholders who choose automatic payments. You can typically set up automatic payments using an electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your checking account or by setting up recurring payments using your debit card or credit card.
Automatic payments can also be a great way to ensure your coverage doesn’t lapse, but they aren’t without drawbacks. If you choose automatic payments, you’ll need to have the funds available for withdrawal in accordance with your payment schedule.
If the funds aren’t available, you may be responsible for fees and penalties from your bank and your insurer. It’s also possible that your insurer will cancel your policy for nonpayment.
Many companies entice policyholders to go paperless. Opting into a paperless feature generally means your bills and any other policy correspondence or documentation will be delivered via email, accessible online, or available through the company’s app.
Good driving discounts
If you have a clean driving record, meaning your driving history is free from accidents, speeding tickets, and other violations, your insurer will see you as a low-risk driver. That can earn you lower premiums in general, but some insurers also offer a good driver discount.
You may still be eligible even if you haven’t had an accident or violation within the past three to five years, depending on the insurer.
Usage-based insurance discounts
Usage-based insurance (UBI) programs allow insurance companies to track key metrics, like speed, breaking, and mileage, by using a mobile app or a tracking device installed in your vehicle.
This type of program, sometimes referred to as black box car insurance, allows an insurer to tailor rates based on your driving habits and performance. UBI programs encourage safer, smarter driving to help lower your risk of getting into or causing an accident.
Some companies offer discounts to drivers who enroll in UBI programs.
Defensive driving discounts
A defensive driving course can help you become a safer driver and, depending on your insurer and where you live, it may even lead to lower car insurance rates. Many insurers reward drivers who take defensive driving courses by extending a discount once the course is completed.
Some providers offer these discounts to all of their policyholders while others offer them only to a specific group of drivers, like seniors or teens.
The less you drive, the lower the risk to both you and your insurance provider. That’s why a lot of auto insurers offer discounts for those who drive fewer miles per year. The definition of “low mileage” varies by insurer, but if you drive fewer than 13,500 (the national average), it’s worth asking your insurer about potential discounts.
Good student discounts
Teen and young adult drivers generally have higher insurance rates, but good students (and their parents) may be able to unlock lower rates with good grades. Most of the car insurance companies we analyzed offer discounts for drivers who are full-time students and maintain good grades.
The definition of “good” differs by insurer, so if you think it may apply for you or a driver on your policy, then contact your insurer to find out.
Distant student discounts
If there is a student driver on your policy and they’re away at school, you may qualify for a discount if their car stays at home. Generally, the student must be enrolled full time and be at least 100 miles away from home, but requirements and eligibility may vary by insurer.
Some employers negotiate bulk auto insurance rates for their employees. If yours does, you may be able to get a discount while you work there. Keep in mind that these discounts are tied to your employment and will likely end if you’re no longer employed.
Even if your employer does have an agreement with a specific insurer, it’s still a good idea to look around. You may be able to find a lower rate elsewhere.
Many of the top auto insurance companies offer perks for policyholders that work in a specific field. Exactly which professions qualify for savings vary, but teachers and first responders are often included.
This type of discount is available to members of specific organizations, the likes of which vary by insurer. For instance, some insurers will give discounts to policyholders who have an AARP card. Others may give you a percentage off if you are a member of an alumni association.
Military and veteran discounts
If you or another driver on your policy is a member of the military community, you may be eligible for lower rates. Many insurers offer military or veteran discounts as a way to honor those that serve.
If this applies to you, it’s also a good idea to look into USAA car insurance, which is exclusive to members of the military community and their families. Its rates are among the lowest of those we’ve analyzed.
Safety equipment discounts
Vehicle safety features can protect drivers and passengers, potentially creating less risk for insurance companies. Though not all companies have safety equipment discounts, some do. If you have common safety features – e.g., airbags, anti-lock brakes, etc. – in your vehicle, ask your insurer about available discounts.
Anti-theft feature discounts
Much like safety features, anti-theft devices can decrease the risk associated with insuring your vehicle. Not all insurers offer this type of discount, but if you have an anti-theft system in your vehicle, it’s worth contacting your insurer to find out if you’re eligible for savings.
New vehicle discounts
Some car insurance providers will offer discounts for policyholders who drive new cars. While the definition of “new” varies by insurer, if you drive a car that’s less than three years old, you could earn a percentage off your premium.
Below, you’ll find more ways to save as much as possible on your auto insurance policy.
Shop around when it’s time to renew
The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends getting quotes from at least three insurance companies whenever it’s time to look for a new policy. Insurance rates vary widely from driver to driver and state to state, so you might be surprised to find out which company is the cheapest for you.
One thing to remember: Be sure to get multiple quotes for the same types and levels of coverage to give you an accurate comparison.
Call an agent for personalized coverage
Independent insurance agents can help you search for policies and find the lowest rates. And, by picking up the phone, you can talk to someone who can help you find discounts or specialized coverage that you might not be able to find online. Independent agents are not tied to a specific insurance company, so they can help with quotes from multiple insurers.
Insurance brokers can also help you explore options across various companies. However, they cannot officially sell you the policy or bind coverage like licensed insurance agents can. They also typically charge fees.
Raise your deductible or lower your coverage
When you raise your deductible or lower your coverage, you get lower premiums. This strategy can be especially beneficial as your car loses value and won’t cost as much to repair. However, you’re taking a risk that you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you are in a crash or your car is damaged some other way.
Maintain good credit
Good credit can show an insurer that you have a history of paying your bills on time. As such, drivers with good credit often pay lower rates than those with poor credit. If you have poor credit, improving your score may help you lower your rates over time.
Learn how insurers may use your credit score to calculate an insurance score to help predict the likelihood you’ll file a claim.
Check insurance rates before buying a new car
It’s no secret that it costs more to insure some cars than others. For example, cars with greater theft rates or powerful engines may have higher premiums. But did you know that you can check to see how a new car will affect your policy before you actually buy it?
Before signing the paperwork, contact your insurance agent with the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car you’re considering and they can advise on how it will impact your premium.
Don’t pay for coverage you don’t need
Many consumers pay for car insurance products and add-ons they don’t need. For example, if you have roadside assistance from AAA, you don’t need to pay for that coverage a second time through your insurance company.
This can also happen with gap insurance, which ensures that you are able to pay off your loan or lease if you’re a victim of auto theft or your car is declared a total loss. Many people continue to pay for this feature after they no longer need it. It may also be automatically included in your agreement with the financing or leasing company.
If you have reached a position of positive equity on your car loan or lease, meaning the amount you have left to pay is small, you can save money by dropping your gap insurance. Note, however, that some leasing companies require gap coverage to be in place for the duration of the lease.
Before making this move, however, you should also consider your own level of risk tolerance. If it would stress you out to completely remove the coverages, look for a balance of cost and deductible that would make you feel comfortable. You may be able to make some changes to save yourself money without eliminating these coverages completely.
Don’t over-insure an old car
Almost all vehicles decline in value as they age. At some point in a car’s life, buying collision and comprehensive insurance is no longer worth the expense. This is especially true if you have high deductibles on those coverages and still pay a hefty amount in premiums.
If your vehicle’s value has declined to the point where you could replace it out of pocket without too much financial strain, you might consider removing the comprehensive and collision coverage from your policy.
For more information about auto insurance, see the following guides:
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