Defensive Driving Discounts

Welcome to Saving Money with Andrew!

Like most of my friends and family, my wife finds my love of saving money mildly amusing, like wood carving or steampunk. But while I get a thrill from spending 15 minutes filling out forms for a $3 mail-in-rebate on a tin of feta cheese (true story), she has a slightly higher bar when it comes to time and effort versus money saved. Using cashback to buy something she was already planning to buy, or choosing the store brand version of something, that’s no problem, but she generally draws the line at anything requiring more than 5-10 minutes or so.

Flash back to August of 2018, when my wife was nine months pregnant with our second child. She was on pre-maternity leave, the city was sweltering and she'd caught up on everything she'd wanted to do, read or see. Too exhausted and uncomfortable to go outside, she was complaining about being bored and asked me for ideas (big mistake, huge!). I thought about it and suggested she take a six-hour online course that would lower our auto insurance premium by 10%. She looked at me like I was crazy, laughed out loud and left the room. She had taken it as a joke rather than the helpful suggestion it was!

A week passed, August got even hotter, our already huge baby grew even bigger and she exhausted the bottom of the barrel options on Netflix. From the living room, I heard a beautiful robotic voice talking about illegal left turns. I knew then that we were about to save a small amount of money on our auto insurance.

While it depends on the state, many states (including New York) require insurance companies to provide as much as a 10% discount on your auto insurance premium if you take a defensive driving course (helpful state-by-state guide here, make sure you are eligible). These courses are simple, affordable (generally $20-30), and the discount lasts a significant amount of time (in our case, three years). And a 10% discount really adds up, especially over three years, and can easily exceed $200 (a great return on six hours of partial attention). GEICO’s page on defensive driving has links to some reputable courses, which in most cases are valid for other insurers as well. But make sure to check with your insurance company first.

Generally, these courses are about six hours worth of narrated slides, but you don't have to give it 100% of your attention. You can keep on in the background and do other things as long as you click the next button every few minutes and answer periodic quizzes. You can do it all in one day or space it out over many days.

Anyway, if you're bored out of your mind, check it out! And if you're pregnant and overdue, give it a try. In our case, our beautiful son was born two days later.

I hope this has been helpful. If you liked it, please share it with a friend! Also, please send me your feedback, requests, and success stories.