Can Online Driving Courses Save You Money on Car Insurance?

auto insurance discount

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to clear some of those points off of your driving record by simply hopping online and taking a driving course? Wouldn’t it even add icing to the cake if you could have your car insurance rates reduced at the same time?

The Internet Point and Insurance Reduction Program in New York State makes it possible to get the best of both worlds. If you live in New York, you’re probably wondering how you can take advantage of this amazing opportunity. And if you don’t live in the Big Apple, you may be hoping there’s an auto insurance discount like this available in your state.

Internet Point and Insurance Reduction Program

The New York State DMV offers a program that allows residents to take advantage of a number of vehicle and driver’s license-related benefits by taking a driving course over the internet.

The program, known as the Internet Point and Insurance Reduction Program, operates under USA Training Company Inc., which offers specialized driver safety education courses, as well as auto insurance premium reduction options.

According to the program’s website, getting started is pretty simple. You register for the DMV-approved defensive driving course, then begin studying at your own pace.

The course is divided into 12 chapters, each includes a short multiple-choice open-book quiz. Students also gain access to interactive flash animations and must take a final exam at the end of the course. If you want to log off and take the course at a later date, the program keeps track of your progress and allows you to resume when you have time.

Now, here’s the even better part.

Once you complete the course, you will not only receive an official completion certificate sent via USPS or FedEx, but you can have four points reduced from the accumulated points on your driver’s license and will also receive a 10-percent auto insurance discount rate reduction for the next three years.

Are There Other Online Defensive Driving Course Options?

After reading about New York State’s program it’s easy to wonder why no one else gets to take advantage of such a great deal. The good news is there are programs offered in every state that allows for point reductions and may offer auto insurance discounts.

There are even a few national options to take advantage of:

AARP

AARP offers the Driver Safety course that is available for individuals who want to improve their defensive driving skills without leaving the house. The program also offers price deductions, or discounts on auto insurance.

Currently, 21 states require insurance companies to offer premium discounts to people who complete the state-approved driver-improvement course online. Those states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Washington.

It’s good to note that the discounts may vary depending on the driver’s age, driving record and a number of other factors. Before taking the course, participants are encouraged to confirm the specifics with their insurance agent.

I Drive Safely

I Drive Safely has been operating since 1998, and works with states across the country to offer online driving courses to individuals who would like to reduce their points, or try to reduce their auto insurance premiums.

Depending on your state of residence, you may have a number of online driving courses to choose from. For instance, in Florida, you can take everything from Traffic Ticket Dismissal/Point Avoidance and Florida 8-Hour Traffic School to Insurance Traffic Collision Avoidance Course (TCAC) and Insurance Deduction.

State-Based Options

Some states offer their own programs, aside from I Drive Safely, including Missouri, which offers the SafeMotorist Defensive Driving Course, and Oklahoma’s online class, offered by the Oklahoma Safety Council. Check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to learn more about options available to you.

It’s important to note that all of these courses — national and state-based — cost an average of $20-$50. Also, unless specifically created to meet the purpose of reducing your auto insurance, the programs cannot guarantee you will save money on your coverage.

Check with your insurer to determine whether you are eligible to qualify.

Other Ways to Receive an Auto Insurance Discount

If you aren’t thrilled about receiving an auto insurance discount through taking an online defensive driving course, or don’t have access to the internet, there may be other ways to reduce your premium costs:

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  • Make sure your vehicle is safe: A number of insurance companies reward their customers for having vehicles with specific safety features, including anti-lock brakes, anti-theft devices and air bags. Be sure to check with your insurer to see if you can take advantage of these discounts.
  • Pay as you drive: Another big discount many drivers are taking advantage of is Pay as You Drive (PAYD). A number of companies, including Progressive, and most recently, Ford, offer auto insurance discounts to drivers who allow their insurers to count the miles customers have driven and monitor driving behavior.
  • Buy coverage online: A lot of insurance companies love to reward customers for using their websites. So if you purchase your coverage online, you may receive a significant auto insurance discount.
  • Remain loyal: Remaining loyal to an insurance company often results in discounts in coverage. Check around to see what companies reward their customers with loyalty discounts.

Defensive driving courses are often overlooked, yet are very effective ways take advantage of auto insurance discounts. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to learn more about how you can reduce rates on your coverage.

Photo: familymwr