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How to find the best car insurance discounts

After the initial purchase price and fuel investments, auto insurance is one of the costliest components of car ownership. According to The Zebra's State of Insurance study, the average car insurance rate in the U.S. is $1,548 per year. That’s some serious pocket change. If you don't seek out insurance discounts, you could be leaving money on the table.

The Zebra's licensed insurance experts have compiled a list of the most common car insurance discounts offered by America's top insurance companies to help you find the savings you deserve.

 

Common auto insurance discounts from A - Z

 


 

Advance Purchase Discount

When considering a move to a new car insurance carrier, timing is key. A coverage lapse of just one day can result in a hefty price increase. On the flip side, some insurance companies reward careful planning with discounts if you purchase your new policy seven days before your next premium is due to your current insurer. Make sure you give yourself at least two weeks before your current policy is up to compare car insurance quotes and find an applicable car insurance advance purchase discount.

 

Advance Purchase (Days)Avg. Annual Premium% Savings
0$1,427--
7$1,3882.76%
10$1,3723.87%

 

Top car insurance companies with advance purchase discounts include:

 

Affinity Discount

Where you work, attend school, or pay membership fees may help you to save on your car insurance. Some insurance companies offer affinity discounts to those in occupations requiring less driving than average and to pre-selected occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, doctors, dentists, registered nurses, engineers, scientists, and teachers.

Top insurance companies offering affinity discounts:

See The Zebra's in-depth coverage of affinity discounts for car insurance.

 

Annual Mileage Discount

Car insurance companies are in the business of predicting and anticipating risk. By driving less, you're less likely to get into an accident and file a claim. This makes you a less risky, more appealing client to an insurance company. If you're a low-mileage driver, consider asking your insurance company about low-mileage discounts. Some insurance companies may require electronic monitoring of your mileage to confirm a rate reduction.

For more information on this discount, see our article on car insurance for low-mileage drivers.

Popular insurance carriers with annual mileage discounts:

  • USAA
  • AAA
  • Travelers

 

Anti-theft Discount

A car equipped with anti-theft devices can save you the hardship of dealing with a stolen vehicle and the corresponding insurance headaches. Depending on your insurance company, you receive the added benefit of a discount. While the discounts listed below are quite small, more advanced anti-theft devices such as fuel/ignition cut off switches and tracking devices can save you an average of 10% to 25% on car insurance premiums.

 

Anti-Theft DeviceAvg. Annual Premium% Difference
None$1,427.29 —
Passive Disabling Device$1,417.690.67%
Tracking Device$1,419.760.53%
Active Disabling Device$1,421.910.38%
Audible Alarm$1,422.260.35%

 

Popular insurance carriers offering anti-theft discounts:

  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Farmers
  • Esurance
  • Nationwide
  • 21st Century

 

Driving Class Discount

Discounts are often available after the successful completion of an accident-prevention or defensive driving course. These courses typically cover traffic laws, defensive driving techniques, and drug and alcohol education. These classes are typically available via states' Department of Public Safety or Department of Motor Vehicles. Contact your carrier to see which courses are approved for discounts and whether you qualify — some carriers may only offer defensive driving discounts for seniors.

New drivers under the age of 21 could benefit from the successful completion of a training course, which typically includes both a minimum number of classroom hours and supervised driving hours.

Top carriers offering driving class discounts:

  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Esurance
  • Nationwide
  • MetLife
  • American Family
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century

 

E-Pay Discount

Reducing the unnecessary use of paper is good for the earth, good for business, and potentially good for your wallet. A handful of companies offer discounted car insurance policies to customers who utilize e-Sign services — where you sign your policy documents online — or e-Pay options  — where you receive paperless billing through email statements.

 

e-Sign / e-PayAvg Annual Premium% Savings
No$1,427
Yes$1,4190.60%

 

Carriers offering paperless car insurance discounts:

  • Progressive
  • Allstate
  • Nationwide
  • Travelers

 

Good Driver Discount

A good driver discount — sometimes called a safe driver discount — is an excellent perk for insurance shoppers with clean driving records. Eligibility for a good driver discount entails going a certain number of years — typically between three and five —  with no at-fault accidents and no moving violations. Discounts tend to increase the longer your record remains claim-free, running between 10% and 26% savings.

Top companies offering good driving insurance discounts:

  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • State Farm
  • Allstate
  • Esurance
  • Nationwide
  • MetLife
  • American Family
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century

 

Good Student Discount

Car insurance companies consider good students less likely to drive in a risky manner. Many insurers reward young drivers with grade point averages (GPAs) of 3.0 or better with good student discounts. This discount is often restricted to drivers under 25 and requires proof of GPA — typically via a transcript or report card — at the start of every policy period. Below are average savings from a good student discount combined with a good driver discount.

 

AgeAverage Discount
16$344
17$303
18$267
19$219

 

Popular insurance companies offering good student auto policy discounts:

  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • Progressive (available in some states)
  • State Farm
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Farmers
  • Esurance
  • Nationwide
  • MetLife
  • American Family
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century

 

Green Vehicle Discount

An eco-friendly car is also wallet-friendly, at least when it comes to car insurance coverage (and fuel conservation). Instant discounts — typically up to 10% — may be available for drivers that own or lease hybrids or alternative-fuel vehicles. Since hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) are often built with the latest features (research from the Highway Loss Data Institute shows people traveling in hybrids are 25% less likely to be injured in an accident than people in traditional vehicles), you may qualify for additional discounts for newer safety developments like curtain airbags or Electronic Stability Control.

Companies offering green vehicle car insurance discounts:

  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Farmers
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century (available in some states)

 

Homeowner Discount

Premiums are calculated based on the amount of risk a car insurance company shoulders when covering a policy. Homeowners (this includes traditional houses, condos or apartments) are considered to be low-risk (read: less likely to file claims) and receive a discount as a result.

 

Homeowner StatusAvg. Premium
Renter$1,427
Condo owner$1,393
Homeowner$1,393
Renter w/ multi-policy$1,350
Condo owner W/ multi-policy$1,280
Homeowner w/ multi-policy$1,261

 

Learn more about homeowners, renters or condo insurance.

Carriers offering homeowners discounts on car insurance policies:

  • Progressive
  • Farmers
  • Esurance
  • The General
  • 21st Century (available in some states)

 

Multi-Policy Discount

One way to get a car insurance discount is to buy Homeowners, Renters, or Condo insurance with the same insurer. This practice, commonly referred to as bundling, may translate into additional discounts with each policy. An added benefit of bundling is that you can keep track of and make changes to your current policies all in one place.

Carriers offering multi-policy car insurance discounts:

  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Farmers
  • Esurance
  • Nationwide
  • MetLife
  • American Family
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century (available in some states)

 

Multi-Vehicle Discount

Similar to the multi-policy discount, many insurance providers offer discounts for covering more than one vehicle on the same insurance policy. To qualify, the vehicles must be placed under a single policyholder’s name, be driven only by the policyholder or family members in the same household, and be currently in use, i.e., not in storage. This discount can be especially beneficial if you need to cover a teenage driver. Restrictions vary, with some providers placing a four-vehicle cap on each policy.

Top companies offering multi-vehicle discounts:

  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • AAA
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Farmers
  • Esurance
  • American Family
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century

 

New Vehicle Discount

Savings between 10% to 30% are up for grabs if you’re covering a new car — or sometimes a vehicle less than three years old.

Insurers providing new vehicle discounts:

  • USAA
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century (available in some states)

 

Passive Restraint Discount

Factory-installed safety features like motorized seat belts and airbags not only keep you safe but also keep money in your pocket. Additional discounts may be available for other safety features like anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights. Consult your insurance carrier on discounts offered when shopping for a new car.

Carriers offering passive restraint discounts:

  • USAA
  • GEICO
  • State Farm
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • Esurance
  • American Family
  • 21st Century

 

Pay-in-Full Discount

Paying your annual premium in full means you can clear any thoughts about payment from your mind for 12 months, and perhaps more importantly, earn a discount. Almost half of the insurers we assessed offer a discount for paying your premium in full rather than in monthly or semi-annual installments.

 

Payment TypeAvg. Annual Premium% Savings
Installments$1,427
Paid-in-full$1,3604.70%

 

Auto insurance companies with paid-in-full discounts:

  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Esurance
  • Travelers
  • The General
  • 21st Century (available in some states)

 

Distant Student Discount

If you are a college student attending an out-of-state — or just out-of-town — university, or if you have a child on your policy who is attending school far from home, the Distant Student Discount could save you up to 30%. Terms and mileage vary based on carrier, but the conditions are straightforward: an eligible student must attend a school several hundred miles from home, without access to a vehicle.

Carriers providing distant student discounts:

  • State Farm
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • American Family
  • Travelers
  • 21st Century

 

Telematics

Telematics and usage-based insurance present new ways for auto insurance companies to price policies — and for good drivers to save. Telematics-based insurance involves an insurance company monitoring its client's driving via a plug-in device and calculating monthly premiums based on the client's driving habits. Telematics-informed premiums can be calculated as soon as six months into the policy. This is a great way to save on auto insurance premiums if you're a cautious driver, as your average speed and driving habits come into play in determining your premiums.

 

CompanyAvg. Savings

Progressive

Average of $130
AllstateAverage of 10-25%
State FarmUp to 15%
EsuranceVaries
NationwideUp to 40%
Liberty MutualAverage of 5-30%

 

Insurance companies with telematics discounts include:

  • Progressive
  • Allstate
  • State Farm
  • Nationwide
  • Esurance
  • Nationwide
  • Liberty Mutual (available in some states)

 

Other Types of Discounts

Some discounts are less common and not explictly mentioned by insurance companies but can still save you money. Those include:

 

Seasonal Car Insurance Promotions

Like any product, auto insurance prices fluctuate from time to time. While seasonal auto insurance promotions are uncommon, car insurance companies frequently modify their pricing strategies based on industry-wide data and adjustments to rating factors.

The best way to get the lowest rates — regardless of whether you can find a car insurance promotion — is to shop around at every opportunity. By seeking quotes every six months, you can keep your finger on the pulse of insurance prices and ensure you don't pass up an opportunity to save.



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