Discount car insurance: How to get the best rates

Car insurance is a necessity, but paying higher premiums isn’t always a requirement. Discount auto insurance doesn’t mean you’re getting less than if you’d pay full price. There are ways to save money by knowing how to leverage discounts on car insurance, and this article will help you understand how that works.

Car insurance discounts

A common method for getting discounted car insurance involves signing up for automatic payments or paying in full for your premium, but there are plenty of other ways to lower insurance premiums. Auto insurance discounts are typically offered to seniors, teen drivers and students; discounts are also often offered for the type of car you drive or your profession. 

In most cases, you can qualify for multiple insurance discounts, such as an auto insurance for veterans discount combined with autopay and a new customer offer. Here are some discount types you should look for with different providers to see who offers the most savings opportunities.

Common discounts

PaymentDriving behaviorAgeAffiliationVehicleLoyalty
PrepaymentNo claims historyTeenWorkplaceSafety equipmentBundling (homeowners and vehicle)
Automatic paymentsAccident-freeGood studentGroup membershipHybrid/electric vehicleLong-time customer
On-time paymentsDefensive driving courseSeniorRoadside assistance membershipNew carNew customer referral
Annual payLow mileageAffinityAnti-lock brakesEarly renewal
Paid-in-fullSafe driverVocational (doctor, educator, frontline worker)Multi-car
Paperless billingTelematicsMilitaryFamily coverage
Citation-freeAlumniContinuous coverage

How to get discounts on car insurance

The best way to find the best discounts on auto insurance is by comparing carriers. Choose a few insurance companies, evaluate what you may qualify for based on the discounts pages, and decide what may be the best options for you. Then get quotes from the carriers and save the estimate to compare with other potential providers. 

Once you narrow down the list of quotes to the best two or three and have compared potential discounts, call the insurer and speak with a representative about the quote you were given. Ask the agent if there are any other discounts you may have missed, and verify which discounts apply to you. 

Required documentation

Depending on the type of discount offered, the insurance company may need to verify if you qualify. Documentation that demonstrates whether you can take advantage of certain discounts may include: 

  • Driver’s license (for age and driving history)
  • Membership card or group affinity code (for vocational or affiliation discounts)
  • Your vehicle identification number (VIN) (to determine vehicle discounts)
  • Banking information including account and routing number (to set up auto pay)

What company has the most car insurance discounts?

Some car insurance companies have more discounts than others as a baseline, and the exact count will vary by state in most cases. Overall, Farmers and American Family top the list with 22 and 19 types of discounts, respectively. While most car insurance companies provide roughly a dozen standard discounts such as electronic payments, paperless billing, safety-related passive restraints and senior discounts, Farmers and American Family add innovative discounts that set them apart from the competition.

These include price reductions for drivers of alternative fuel vehicles such as a Toyota Prius hybrid or an all-electric Tesla. Other discounts relate to telematics programs, which track your daily driving to determine how expensive your insurance should be according to your driving habits.

Car insurance discounts by company

Typically, most drivers qualify for multiple discounts, regardless of age or other life statuses. For example, senior car insurance discounts are a popular way to provide additional savings for older drivers. Your vehicle type and payment method can also make a difference on your car insurance cost with most providers.

The best car insurance discounts that provide the highest potential savings are generally found with telematics programs. You simply have to download an app or plug in a device that tracks your driving habits, mileage, speed to earn a discount based on how safely you drive. You can earn as much as 30% off your insurance bill with some providers. A few of the top carriers offering some form of driving-habits tracking discounts include:

  • American Family
  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • State Farm

Top companies with most discounts

  • Farmers (22)
  • American Family (19)
  • Liberty Mutual (17)

Top companies with least discounts

  • Nationwide (10)
  • State Farm (11)
  • Allstate (11)
CompanyNumber of discounts (Approximate)
State Farm11
Liberty Mutual17
American Family19

Farmers discounts offered

Of the 22 listed discounts Farmers offers policyholders, the standouts include Alternative Fuel vehicles, Shared Family Car, VIN Etching and Signal telematics, which can earn you up to 20% off your premiums for maintaining a safe driving record.

American Family discounts offered

American Family’s 19 discounts cover the range of standard reductions and more innovative ones. The most unique discounts from American Family include the 10% Auto Premium Relief Credit, Steer Into Savings for switching, KnowYourDrive telematics for up to 20% off based on your driving habits, Young Volunteer and Generational discount (if your parents are policyholders with American Family).

Liberty Mutual discounts offered

Liberty Mutual comes in third, with 17 discounts available to help you save on your car insurance. Featured discounts from Liberty Mutual include those for Alternative Energy vehicles, Violation-Free, Student Away at School and RightTrack telematics, which can earn you up to 30% off your premiums for maintaining a track record of safe driving.

Tips to getting the best car insurance discounts

If you’re not receiving any discounts on car insurance, you should reach out to an agent. Just the simple process of getting an online quote or switching is typically enough to earn you at least 5% off your premiums. Here are some tips on how to get the best car insurance discounts:

  • Review the insurer’s discount page.
  • Switch to paperless billing.
  • Consider prepaying your car insurance.
  • Bundle multiple coverages, such as homeowners and auto insurance.
  • Renew your policy early,
  • Sign up to track your driving and download the telematics app.
  • Pass an approved online defensive driving or driver safety course.
  • Call the insurance provider and ask for available discounts that could apply to you.

The takeaway

  • Most car insurance companies provide some types of discounts to policyholders.
  • The top car insurance companies offer at least 10 types of discounts that most drivers will be eligible for.
  • You may be able to qualify for more than one discount to bump up your savings.
  • If you can’t find any discounts, call and ask for an agent if you qualify for any that are not listed on the provider’s website.

You don’t necessarily have to pay full retail price on your car insurance. Most insurers have a list of discounts which the majority of drivers can qualify for easily. In particular, you can save as much as 30% on your car insurance by signing up for telematics to track your driving, or gain significant savings by passing a defensive driving course or bundling your insurance. Think strategically about your discount options; the up-front effort is worth the savings over time.