Are Defensive Driving Courses Worth It?

You can save a lot of money on your car insurance by completing a defensive driving course. Agreeing to complete a defensive driving course can earn you dismissals on tickets and citations. It’s wise to become better at defensive driving for not only safety reasons, but also for how it will lower your car insurance cost. 

The big question you’re likely to be left wondering is, how much money can you potentially save with one of these courses? Depending on details, including where your coverage was purchased, the answer varies. However, it’s been estimated that a person can reduce their premium up to 20% just by taking a class for defensive driving.

There are many more details you should examine when looking into a defensive driving course. Questions in regards to discount qualifications, which companies offer them, and what companies offer defensive driving courses will all be answered in our article below.

Understanding Defensive Driving

A defensive driving course focuses on building the skills you will need to help circumvent road dangers and accidents. A majority of people come out of these classes not only better primed for preventing and avoiding car wrecks, but also further motivated to uphold the rules and ethics of driving. 

Essentially, defensive driving is about having a plan to stay safe and know what your hazards are before making any decisions while you're on the road. Defensive driving classes are designed to focus less on the common laws and driving regulations and instead on the principles such as speed control, staying a step ahead and expecting others to make mistakes on the road, and especially remaining alert by avoiding distractions. 

A study facilitated by the Colorado State Patrol revealed that out of 1,000 of their own program graduates, 89% felt safer behind the wheel because of the knowledge and skills they honed from the course. Ticket dismissals, license point reduction, and decreased car insurance premiums are all benefits that can be offered to those who agree to take one of these courses. 

Are Defensive Driving Courses Worth the Money? 

Defensive driving classes are typically affordable. Completing a class will actually save you more money in the long run. But how? Two words --car insurance. Defensive driving classes will save you a lot. A majority of car insurance companies will give customers who have completed a defensive course a discount. Interestingly, there are many states that have legal mandates for car insurance companies to offer a discount for customers who’ve completed a defensive driving course.


Getting into accidents or accumulating tickets will raise your insurance premiums significantly because the insurance companies will categorize you as a high-risk driver. Taking one of these courses to become a more defensive driver is your best option for decreasing your risk level. A ticket can be dismissed in return for you completing the course, and you can get points removed from your license, decreasing your risk level and lowering your costs. 

Pricing for a defensive driving course is always going to be somewhere between $15 and $100. You’re guaranteed to pay between $20 and $40 if you choose to take the course online. It’s estimated that a majority of car insurance providers offer discounts at 10%, but they could vary anywhere from 5% to 20%. Based on how much you’ll save, it’s safe to say, yes, a defensive driving course is definitely worth the money. 

If we look at the national average car insurance rate, which is around $142 monthly, it can paint a clear picture of your savings after completing the course. Assuming you decide to take a defensive driving course that costs $40, which gives you a discount of 10% from your car insurance provider, you will get $14 off each month. You will save $168 a year from taking a driving course for $40. These savings will last anywhere from three to five years. 

Even if your discount is lower, say around 5%, and the defensive driving course is $100, you will still save around $85 each year. This will accumulate to $250 over three years, which still puts you ahead of the $100 you spent on the course. If the defensive driving course didn’t offer you any discount, you would still be helping yourself out by learning to avoid careless driving, lowering your risks of car wrecks, injuries, and even death by 50%, according to Improv Traffic School. 

How Do You Qualify for A Defensive Driving Course Discount?

It’s imperative to do the proper research and assess if you’re eligible for a defensive driving course discount. There are several areas to consider, including your insurance provider, the state you live in, the course, your driving record, and your age, that will factor into your qualification.

Your Insurance Provider

As we stated above, most car insurance companies will offer a discount, and many are even legally obligated to. However, you may be in a state where this is not mandated, and your car insurance provider may choose not to give a course discount, so make sure to check.

Your State

The state can affect how much the company takes off of the premium. The discount amount differs from state to state because they determine the number of points that are removed from your driver’s license, which helps the insurance company determine your risk level.


There are a variety of defensive driving classes through a number of companies and programs. But, you should check with your car insurance provider for their requirements and which kind of certifications they will accept. Certifications that didn’t come from an official school will generally not be accepted by most insurance companies.

Your Driving Record

In order for the discount to be applied after completion of the program by most insurers, your driving record needs to be relatively clean. This would mean you’ve had no at-fault incidents or moving violations within three years. If it’s a situation where you are only taking the course because it was court-ordered as a part of sentencing, then you will not be granted a discount from the insurer.

Your Age

There are a variety of all different ages that could benefit from taking a course. It is important, though, to recognize that a majority of classes are only available to certain ages, which tend to be those over 55 years and under 25 years. This is mainly because insurance companies consider drivers in these age ranges the most at-risk.