Completing a defensive driving course is one of the easiest ways to save money on car insurance. Insurance companies know that no matter how skilled you are at driving an automobile, no matter how many years you have been driving, and no matter how acute your reflexes are, you share the road with people who are not as experienced, skillful and reactive as you are. So once you have mastered driving, your next tasks are to keep insurance costs down and learn how to avoid or minimize the damage caused by others.
Next to knowing how to avoid a fatal crash, the best advantage of a defensive driving course is that most insurance companies will reward you with a premium discount for completing the course. On average, you can expect about a 10 percent discount after successfully completing a course. This is especially helpful for new teen-aged drivers, whose premiums are set higher than most. To qualify for the discount, you need to check with your insurer to verify what types of courses they will approve. Get the specifics in writing if possible. You need to verify the approved courses; the documentation you need is proof that you took the course, and the means for claiming the discount. If your insurer doesn’t have a specific list, verify the course selection eligibility with your agent before you pay for the course.
In addition to premium discounts, there is an indirect savings associated with a defensive driving course. If you attend and actually learn defensive driving techniques, you might be in the position to put those skills into practice. Avoiding auto accidents can earn you a “safe driver” discount after a period of time with most insurance companies. These discounts can be in the form of reduced premium charges, or a reduction in the deductible or co-payments you have to pay if you do eventually end up in an accident.
Another indirect savings is that, by learning to avoid accidents, your insurer is unlikely to drop you. Once you have been dropped, your hunt for a new policy will likely result in higher premium charges. Although you are new to that company, the company will be aware of your driving history, and can jack up the premium price based on your accident history.
A good defensive driving course is like a mini-liberal arts course of all things automobile. It covers physics, so you will know how your car and the surrounding vehicles will behave in abnormal circumstances. It teaches psychology, as it schools you in the need to anticipate the unexpected acts of others. So you will know that the car you saw in your rear-view mirror switching lanes twice, will probably be cutting in front of you without use of a turn signal as soon as it passes you.
You learn statistics, which will allow you to predict that the car using the on-ramp beside you has an unlikely chance of yielding. And you learn a little zen, when you are taught that life is to short to stress about the car that just cut you off and that retaliation will not make you a better person.
The costs are the course itself and a little time sacrificed to take the course. You hang on to a bigger chunk of your money, and possibly your life by learning defensive driving; there is no down side to it.