TIPS: Easy Way to Save on Car Insurance

When it was time to renew our auto insurance policies, my wife and I called to see if any policy changes would be beneficial. While we did not make any policy changes, we found a way to save ten percent on everything but comprehensive for each of our primary cars.

If you had the misfortune to get a traffic ticket with points attached you may have heard of driver courses that can remove points from your license. Those courses are also used by the insurance companies to issue discounts. The courses are fairly inexpensive—we found a few that were under $20—and can be taken online. By law, the course must be at least six hours long, and you must pass a test at the end.

The online classes are definitely easier than going in person. This “Saturday Night Live” sketch describes what in-person traffic school could be like:

What is the on-line course like? I thought you would never ask! I thought it might be rather gory, filled with pictures of accidents and crash victims. There was a little of that but not a lot. Most of the material dealt with traffic regulations, traffic signs, the causes of accidents, and good driving practices. There was the requisite session on alcohol and drugs and their effect on driving.

The class was primarily text and had two review questions after each of its ten sections. A timer kept track of how long you spent on the session. In practice, the material takes significantly less than six hours to complete. One of the online schools, Traffic School by Improv, puts a lot of humorous routines (cartoons, videos—often of comic standup routines) and sometimes just jokes, to make the course livelier. That course cost $23 after a $5 discount coupon which we found online.

The test at the course’s end included 25 questions. An open book test, it took less than 30 minutes to complete. Eighty percent, or 20 correct answers, are required to pass.

Upon successfully completing the course, the school send you a certificate via email in PDF format, or by snail mail. Our insurance company did not require a copy of the certificate but did say it would be required if we were audited. To get the discount, the class had to be completed within the first 30 days of the policy renewal. The discount applies for two years and can be extended by taking the course again.

Most of us took our written driving test a long time ago. Some of the information may not be fresh in our minds; some may have changed since we took the test. I found the online course to be a good refresher on traffic laws and driving safety regardless of the insurance discount.

The following list includes the three least expensive courses I found; the more expensive courses did not appear to be substantively different.

After the course we received a ten percent discount on everything other than comprehensive. The amount of the discount may vary by insurance company. In any event, it should be significantly greater than the cost of the traffic school.

 

 

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