The average cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,674 per year for full coverage, according to 2021 data compiled by Quadrant Information Services. One of the biggest ways to save on that is to switch policies: A survey from Nerdwallet found that a good driver could save roughly $417 a year by switching.
Another big way is through maximizing your discounts. “Ask your insurer if you’re missing out on any discounts that you could be taking advantage of,” says NerdWallet’s insurance expert Ben Moore. As for how much you can save by pursuing discounts? “Car insurance companies usually cap discounts, but you still may be able to save 30% or 40% off your policy,” says Les Masterson, insurance analyst with CarInsurance.com. Here are some the discounts you may want to ask about.
Clean driving record
A record free from accidents and traffic violations is one of the biggest discounts offered to drivers, says Masterson. The amount of savings varies by insurance company, but can typically save drivers between 10% and 30% on their annual premiums.
When you bundle auto, home, renter’s or other policies with the same company you can often save hundreds of dollars a year across your policies. “One’s insurance company will usually offer sizable discounts to someone who insures both their home and car with them. If someone’s happy with the rate and customer service they’re receiving from their home insurance company, it’s a great idea to consider purchasing auto coverage from that group too,” says Moore.
Insure multiple cars in your household with the same company and you could save. Geico, for example, advertises that you could save up to 25% by doing this.
Safe driving class
Some companies offer discounts for taking special courses like a defensive or safe driving course, says Moore.
“Quote with us before your current policy expires and you could save when you sign with us,” Liberty Mutual advertises. Other insurers have similar discounts.
Membership in certain groups
Teachers, military, alumni, professional groups, local organizations — insurers offer a lot of different discounts on this front. “In the same city, one insurance provider may offer discounts to people apart from certain affiliated groups, such as a social club or local organization, while another may give more of its discounts to those who have taken safe driver courses or made consistent payments on other bills,” says Hurst.
Student away from home
If your child is away at school, and thus only rarely drives your car, you can save big (sometimes 10% off, says Masterson).
Moore notes that “if you allow the company to track your driving habits through a mobile app or device that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port,” you may be able to save money on car insurance. Look for a company that only rewards good driving, rather than punishes you for hard braking, driving at night, phone usage while behind the wheel and more.
High-school and college-age drivers that get good grades or do well in school (insurers have slightly different rules for what qualifies, but often a B and above average will do) may qualify for this, and Masterson says it can save you 10% off your policy.
Those who own their homes may be able to save a small amount each year.
Pay in full, pay automatically, and pay on time
Pay your bill once a year or twice a year, and you may save a small amount. What’s more, you may also get a break if you get the payment automatically deducted from your bank account and/or pay on-time every pay period.
Buy your policy online
This can save you a small amount over chatting with a customer service rep to get your policy at some companies.
Don’t get paper bills, and you might be able to save.
Driving under a certain number of miles
If you don’t drive a lot, you may be eligible for a discount. Occasional drivers, or those who generally drive fewer than 7,500 annually can qualify for a discount equaling several hundred dollars per year.
Having things like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and adaptive headlights may help you save.
A car that is equipped with anti-theft technology may yield savings.
Those who have hybrid or electric vehicles may be able to save.
Driving a new car, or the right kind of car
Janet Ruiz, director of strategic communications for the Insurance Information Institute, recommends checking the car’s IIHS safety rating before buying the car as that can impact how much you pay for car insurance. What’s more, Allstate, for one, gives you a discount if “your car is a current model year or one year prior and you’re the first owner.”
Good credit-based insurance score
Ruiz notes that this is a way to qualify for discounts. “Many U.S. auto insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help determine risk when providing insurance quotes,” Allstate explains, adding that this is true “unless you live in Massachusetts, Hawaii or California, where the practice has been banned.”