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If you've maintained a clean driving record, you are likely eligible for some kind of reward for being a safe driver — though discounts vary by amount and by insurance company. Good drivers can save anywhere from 10% to 30% on their car insurance premiums.
How do good driver discounts work?
Insurers take different approaches to rewarding safe drivers. We've broken down how these work below:
- Accident-free discount. Many major insurers offer discounts to drivers who have had no accidents in the past three to five years.
- Violation-free discount. If you've avoided any traffic violations in the past three to five years, you're likely eligible for a discount from your insurance company.
- Safe driver discount. Some insurance companies combine the accident-free and violation-free discount into one, offering a single safe driving discount to drivers who have avoided either incidents or accidents within the past three to five years.
- Usage-based insurance. Also known as telematics insurance, usage-based insurance monitors your driving — usually via mobile app or a device installed in your car — and offers you discounts on your premium based on your performance. Most major insurers offer some type of usage-based insurance.
- Lowered premiums. Instead of offering you a specific discount off your premiums, some insurers lower your rates if you've managed to avoid an accident for a specified period of time.
In addition, drivers can often earn a discount on their premium by taking a defensive driving course. While these courses are generally geared towards young drivers and drivers older than age 60, certain states make them eligible to all drivers. They typically take only a few hours and cover your state's driving laws and techniques to help avoid an accident. At the end, many courses give you a certificate that you can share with your insurer to receive this defensive driver discount.
What is considered a clean driving record?
For insurance purposes, a good driving record means your record is clean of any incidents during the past three to five years. The meaning of "safe driving" varies somewhat from insurer to insurer. Some of the incidents that insurance companies take into account include:
Insurers base rates on how likely you are to make a claim. If you have an incident on your record, that indicates that you have not always been a safe driver and are more likely to need your insurer to pay out a claim at some point.
By contrast, a clean record suggests that you generally drive safely and aren't as likely to need your insurer to pay out a claim. This lower risk allows insurers to offer you lower premiums — and if you maintain a good driving record long enough, some insurers will offer you a discount.
Which insurance companies offer discounts to good drivers?
The following major insurance companies offer some form of a reward to safe drivers:
How it works
|Allstate||Safe Driving Bonus program||Good drivers receive a bonus for every six months they remain accident-free. You can elect to have a credit applied to your car insurance policy, have the bonus deposited in your bank account or have a check mailed to you.|
|Allstate Drivewise||Telematics program that allows you to earn up to 40% off your premium.|
|American Family||Good driving discount||Avoid accidents, violations or claims for five years to receive a discount.|
|KnowYourDrive||Telematics program that allows you to earn up to 20% off your premium.|
|Farmers||Safe driver||Discount applied for any driver who has avoided certain kinds of points on their record.|
*Discount availability varies by state. Contact an insurance agent to confirm availability in your area.
Discount for good drivers in California
In California, drivers who meet the state's definition of a good driver are legally entitled to a 20% discount. To meet the state's criteria and receive a discount, California drivers must:
- Have continuously held a license for a minimum of three years.
- Have one or fewer points on their driving record.
- Have not been to traffic school more than once.
- Have no at-fault accident that resulted in death or injury.
- Have no DUI-related convictions for the past 10 years.
If that describes you, your insurance company is obligated to offer you a discount in California. Good drivers should reach out to their insurance company to ask about this discount — and be sure to shop around for the best cheap insurance in California as well.
How to be a good driver discount and maintain your discount
There are a few consistent habits that make someone a good driver. To be a good driver — and to maintain your auto insurance discounts – practice the following safe habits:
Drive less frequently
It sounds obvious, but it's worth repeating: If your car isn't on the road, you can't get into an accident, receive a ticket or drive under the influence. In fact, some insurers reward you for staying off the road with low-mileage discounts.
Look into accident forgiveness coverage
Even if you're a safe driver, accidents can happen to anyone. Accident forgiveness coverage means that your insurer will not impose a rate increase after you're involved in an accident. Some insurers allow you to purchase this coverage, while others offer it for free if you've renewed your policy and stayed accident-free for several years.
Texting, changing the song or double-checking directions — all of these things take only a split second, but that split second can mean the difference between avoiding an accident or getting into one. Plan your route and your playlists ahead of time, and wait until you're parked to respond to any texts or calls.
Avoid slamming the brakes and the accelerator
Slamming on the brakes and the accelerator is not only bad for your car, but it's bad for your own safety and the safety of those around you on the road. By giving yourself more time to accelerate and decelerate, you're less likely to collide with another driver.