Defensive driving courses are available to Maryland drivers to fulfill orders from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration and to save on their car insurance rates. Recipients of the MVA letters must take these courses, or risk having their drivers' licenses suspended. If you're looking to save money on your auto insurance in Maryland, eligibility requirements and discounts are company to company. Compared to other states, there are no uniform rules about what age or type of driver you have to be in order to get a driving improvement discount in Maryland.
Benefits of Taking Defensive Driving Courses in Maryland
There are two different types of benefits to signing up for these types of classes - which are also known as driving improvement courses - based on which situation you find yourself in:
1. Keeping Your License after Getting a MVA Order
Motorists are required to take defensive driving courses in Maryland when they receive a letter from the MD Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), and the immediate benefit is that you get to hold on to your license. The most likely reasons for the letter are: they were referred by a judge, have accumulated 5-7 points, or were convicted or granted probation for a moving violation when driving with a provisional license. Judges will refer drivers if they have received many violations in a row or over the course of their driving history and need to take a remedial course. Drivers must complete the course or the MVA will require drivers to surrender their driving privileges and licenses to the MVA until the course is taken. After the course is completed, drivers may avoid a fine, ticket, points, or suspension, depending on the situation and district court ruling.
2. Getting a Discount on Auto Insurance
Another potential benefit is saving on your auto insurance rates in Maryland. This depends on your company, and sometimes on age. For example, GEICO allows mature drivers above the age of 50 to save up to 10% on their defensive driving courses if those customers’ policies are underwritten by three specific affiliates: Government Employees Insurance Company, GEICO General Insurance Company, or GEICO Casualty Company. Travelers swings the other way, with driver training discounts for motorists under the age of 21.
Below is a table of the ten biggest auto insurance providers in Maryland with the amount drivers could potentially save on their premiums. Some companies only offer insurance for mature drivers, young motorists, or sometimes anyone who has taken a class. Make sure to talk to your agent or auto insurance company to see if you qualify before registering for a class.
|up to 10%||Age 50+|
|up to 15%||Steer Clear Discount for drivers under 25|
|up to 10%||Must be age 25|
|up to 5%|
|$20-$25||USAA only insures military personnel and their family members|
|3/4 of Course Cost|
|10%-15%||Discount for teens depending on basic or advanced course|
Maryland Auto Insurance
|up to 8%||Driver Training Discount under age 21|
State Farm does not offer a discount for taking a state-approved improvement class, but they do have a Steer Clear course for drivers under 25 in MD. Young drivers can save up to 15% if they have completed the course and had no moving violations or at-fault accidents in the last three years. This class is different from the MVA approved courses, because it only applies to new drivers insured with State Farm.
Liberty Mutual lets Maryland teenagers some money too on the liability portion of their car insurance. Basic courses are around 4 hours, and can save teens 10% on their bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, while the advanced courses are around 8 hours but can save teen drivers 15% on those same types. If you're looking to save money on your car insurance, these courses are only worth it if the discounts are greater than the cost of the class. For example, if a hypothetical teenager's annual premiums are $1,000, passing the 4-hour class could save them $100 on their liability insurance, while passing the 8-hour class could save them $150. However, if your class cost $95, then the savings (in this case, for 4 hours) might not be worth it.
Unlike the majority of the insurers in the table, Progressive's defensive driving discount in Maryland is open to all ages of motorists. Drivers at Progressive can save ¾ of the cost of their class on their auto insurance premiums. For example, if the class itself costs $100, drivers can save $75 on their rates - in effect subsidizing the cost of their course. While this can translate into more intangible driving skills on the road, this may not be worthwhile to someone looking to reduce their auto insurance costs.
Driver Improvement Program (DIP) in Maryland
Classes are offered through in-person instruction that lasts 4-8 hours and online classes can be done at the driver’s own time. This program is designed for driver rehabilitation, and the course material generally covers advanced techniques on how to drive and react on the road. Those who have an MVA referral letter must take it to their DIP class and complete the class before the due date.
Costs of a class depend on the provider and the location. We see that most carriers generally range from $50 to $95. However, you should check with your insurer, because they may have preferential rates for certain defensive driving programs they’ve teamed up with. For example, GEICO is partnered with SafetyServe.com, offering a class with a cost of $19.95 – significantly cheaper than the more popular options.
Many options are available in the 24 counties and drivers have to get into contact with a DIP provider to get more information about location, time, and cost. Below is a table of some online and in-classroom courses in Maryland. Classes offered online are linked to the website and classroom instruction course are listed on the bottom of the list.
List of Providers in Maryland
|Type of Class||Phone|
|Online / In-person||410-321-9190|