Lower your Auto Insurance payment by taking a Defensive Driving course
Everyone wants to pay the lowest amount possible for the auto insurance coverage they need. There are a variety of discounts that you can take advantage of to help you lower your premium. Most people know that there is an auto insurance discount for taking a Defensive Driving course but there are a few things you should be aware of before registering for the next course.
Should I take an in-person or online course?
There used to be a lot of in-person defensive driving courses in Clifton Park, Ballston Lake and Malta but virtually all of them were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Historically, they were either a 6 hour session on a weekend or two 3 hour sessions on weeknights. A few in-person courses have started again but I see almost everyone taking online courses now. The online courses give you a lot more flexibility. In addition to the convenience of taking the course from home, you can break it into smaller sections. For most of the courses, you can work at your own pace as long as you complete the course within 30 days of starting it.
How much is the defensive driving discount and how long will I receive it for?
The discount is advertised by the course providers as a 10% savings. In reality, the discount is 10% off the base rate of your auto insurance policy. In most cases, this equates to roughly 7% of the total premium and the discount is good for three years from the completion date of the course.
Let’s assume you pay $100/month for your auto insurance. Let’s also assume the course will cost $25 to take and it will save you 7% off your annual insurance premium of $1,200. In this case, 7% of $1,200 is $84 worth of annual savings. When you multiply that by 3, it adds up to $252 worth of auto insurance discounts. Subtract the $25 cost for the course and you’re ahead by $227. It’s typically financially advantageous to take the course.
Make sure you register for a DMV PIRP (Point & Insurance Reduction Program) Course
If you do an internet search for Defensive Driving courses, a ton of things pop up. Many of the courses are DMV PIRP courses but many are not. The DMV PIRP courses follow specific guidelines established by the DMV and these are the only courses which will give you the car insurance discount. There are many other courses that advertise themselves as Defensive Driving and/or Driver Training courses which are not approved by the DMV as PIRP courses and many businesses require employees who drive company vehicles to take courses such as these. For an up-to-date listing of DMV PIRP courses, you can visit dmv.ny.gov/pirp/online.
Make sure you take a New York DMV approved course
Over the years, I’ve had a number of customers take online defensive driving courses and find out afterwards that the course was approved by the Vermont or Connecticut DMV and not the New York DMV. The courses are very similar but you won’t receive the discount if you take an out-of-state course unfortunately.
Remember to let us know you’ve completed the course
Neither the DMV nor the course provider will let your insurance agent know that you’ve completed the course. It’s important for you to forward a copy of your course completion certificate to us so we can add the discount to your policy.
We’re here to help
If you have questions about the defensive driving discount, or lowering your car insurance premium in general, please reach out to me or my team. Use the Contact Us page or call 518-877-7447. We’re happy to help!
John Lofrumento, CFP®, FSCP®, RICP®
President, The Lofrumento Agency
Clifton Park, NY / Ballston Lake, NY