Auto Insurance

6 Lesser-Known Ways to Save on Auto Insurance

Given that the average cost of auto insurance coverage is more than $900 per year, most vehicle owners will spend tens of thousands of dollars on insurance over a lifetime of driving. And, unfortunately, drivers often receive quotes and choose a company without finding all possible discounts.

Auto insurance is a necessary cost for any driver or car owner and, over time, and it is often one of the most significant expenses you incur. Prices for auto insurance can vary wildly, with some costs skyrocketing by 10X among drivers depending on their driving records, insurance companies and amount of coverage purchased. However, given that the average cost of coverage is more than $900 per year, most vehicle owners will spend tens of thousands of dollars on insurance over a lifetime of driving. And, unfortunately, drivers often receive quotes and choose a company without finding all possible discounts.

There are several “standard” auto insurance discounts that nearly every insurer offers, such as multivehicle and multipolicy discounts. What drivers may be less familiar with are the dozens of niche discounts which, while often smaller, can add up to hundreds of dollars in savings each year. These lesser-known discounts can save you up 25% on your auto insurance premiums, making them worth inquiring about when shopping for coverage.

Association discounts

Large associations such as AAA, AARP and Farm Bureaus frequently negotiate insurance discounts as member-only benefits. In many cases, these discounts are minor, but over time the savings add up.

These association discounts aren’t just available through small insurers—many of the largest auto insurance companies have their own programs in place. For example:

  • GEICO offers an 8% discount for individuals belonging to the elite organization, Mensa.
  • Allstate offers discounts to Farm Bureau members in good standing.
  • Nationwide offer discounts to members of the American Nurses Association.

If you belong to any association, it’s easy to ask your insurance agent or a representative from the association itself if there are any available discounts.

Employers and occupation discounts

Depending on the field you work in, and in some cases your employer, you may qualify for a discount with some auto insurance companies. But the discounts available for a given profession change by insurer, so you likely need to do your research ahead of time in order to take advantage of this savings opportunity.

Educators and teachers, for example, can expect to receive discounts from Esurance, Farmers Insurance and GEICO. In addition, Liberty Mutual offers teachers a zero-dollar deductible if their vehicles are vandalized on school property, at no additional cost.

Similarly, emergency responders including police officers, firefighters and EMTs receive discounts on their auto insurance from Farmers Insurance and Nationwide.

GEICO, on the other hand, offers discounts to individuals working for some Berkshire Hathaway companies. You can see if you qualify by visiting the GEICO website and entering your employer’s name in the organization field.

Go green and receive discounts

With the continued emphasis on saving trees, recycling and taking care of the environment, many insurance companies are transitioning from traditional paper correspondence to electronic versions. Many national insurance companies offer a small discount for agreeing to pay electronically or going paperless altogether.

Active duty military & veteran discounts

Those that have served or are serving our country in the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, often qualify for discounts on their auto insurance, as well as some other insurance policies. GEICO, for instance, offers a discount of 15% to active and former military members and has a special program to assist their families with any insurance needs.

USAA, on the other hand, exclusively serves military members and their families, making the company a popular choice for insurance for this community. In addition, active-duty military personnel receive additional discounts for storing their vehicles on base or when they are deployed, since they are less likely to use the vehicles. Drivers can qualify for this discount only if their vehicles are stored in secure locations and aren’t driven for at least 30 consecutive days.

Typically, insurance companies offering military discounts only require proof of service for you to be eligible for the premium savings.

Discounts for taking defensive driving courses

If you’ve had an accident in which you were determined to be at fault, if you have received a speeding ticket or if you have had your insurance rates increase for some other reason, a simple way to lower them may be to take a defensive driving course. Allstate, for example, currently offers a 10% discount to any policyholder that successfully completes a defensive driving course.

Education discounts

Young drivers consistently face some of the highest auto insurance rates—often even greater than those of drivers with multiple moving violations. Thankfully, many auto insurance companies offer discounts to offset the significantly higher costs.

Allstate and State Farm offer good student discounts if you have a student driver on the policy with good grades. These discounts range from 5% to 25% on auto insurance premiums and simply require proof of grades to qualify for the savings.

Some insurance carriers will offer discounts if an individual on the policy is more than 100 miles away no access to the vehicle, which can mean discounts while your child is away at college. This allows you to keep your child on the insurance policy, while not paying inflated premiums unnecessarily.

Maxime Croll

Maxime is a Product Manager at ValuePenguin focusing on insurance. Previously she was the Director of Product Marketing at CoverWallet.