Car insurance for good drivers

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One of the best ways to save on car insurance for good drivers is to maintain a clean driving record. The longer you can go without a ticket or accident, the more opportunity you have for discounts and preferred driver rates. Sticking with one car insurance company may be easy, but it does not always mean the best rates, especially if you are a safe driver. Shopping around could save you money and provide a good opportunity for significant insurance savings.

Key takeaways

  • Avoid filing claims unless necessary to keep the best car insurance rates and your good driving discount.
  • Car insurance is location-, driver- and company-dependent, so shopping around for quotes can help you find the cheapest car insurance as a good driver.
  • With safe driving habits already in place, taking advantage of your insurance company’s telematics program can reward you even more.

Car insurance for good drivers

One of the factors that determines car insurance premiums and whether you are a good or high-risk driver is your driving record. The more incidents you have and the more claims that are filed under your car insurance policy, the more you can expect to pay for auto insurance. Even with a cheaper rate for being a good driver, adding discounts to your car insurance can help you save even more. The table below shows average U.S. rates for a male and female driver of the same age as provided by Quadrant Information Services. The initial rate is the lowest with a clean driving record, and increases based on the type of incident on your driving record.

Clean driving record Accident Speeding ticket DUI
Total $1,674 $2,311 $2,062 $3,139
Male $1,648 $2,324 $2,073 $3,153
Female $1,701 $2,299 $2,051 $3,124

Car insurance companies for good drivers

Car insurance companies use their own rating structures to generate premiums, so rates can vary from company to company, even if you are a good driver. To illustrate the differences, we compared car insurance rates from the top insurance companies in the country based on market share.

The rates below show prices for the same driver with a clean driving record, with an at-fault accident, a speeding ticket and with a DUI. USAA has the cheapest rate for the sample driver with a clean driving record while Erie’s rate is cheapest with an accident and speeding ticket. For the same driver with a DUI on their record, Progressive offers the best rate for car insurance.

Though some companies offer similar rates for tickets and accidents, most have higher rates for at-fault accidents versus a speeding ticket. For all companies, the best price is for the driver with a clean driving record while the most expensive rates are for the same driver with a DUI on their record.

Clean driving record Accident Speeding ticket DUI
USAA $1,225 $1,742 $1,463 $2,177
Amica $1,378 $1,665 $1,689 $3,479
Geico $1,405 $1,971 $1,734 $3,064
State Farm $1,457 $1,657 $1,590 $2,201
Erie Insurance $1,233 $1,398 $1,283 $2,067
Nationwide $1,485 $1,745 $1,734 $2,665
Progressive $1,509 $2,231 $1,826 $1,933
MetLife $2,123 $3,539 $2,832 $5,284
The Hartford $2,270 $4,555 $3,617 $7,855
Allstate $1,921 $2,752 $2,519 $3,763

Ways for good drivers to save

Good drivers can save with a clean driving record, but can reduce their premiums for car insurance even more by taking advantage of discounts. Most car insurance companies offer similar discounts, but the amount of savings may vary. Here are a few more ways to save on auto insurance besides just being a good driver.

Discounts

Good drivers can typically save automatically with a good driving discount, also called a safe driver discount by some companies. This discount is usually automatically applied to your quote or policy when you have gone a specific number of years avoiding tickets and accidents.

For example, State Farm applies the good driving discount if you are ticket- and accident-free for three years. and Geico require at least five years of claims-free history, with Geico’s discount saving you up to 22% for being five years accident-free.

Some states offer the opportunity to take a defensive driver program to lower the cost of car insurance. Companies like Amica offer a discount on the program and a discount on your auto insurance if you pass the course. At The Hartford, the discount remains for three years after you pass a defensive driving course and supply the certificate as proof.

Only file necessary claims

As a safe driver, you likely consider the weight of a claim before filing one. Depending on the state you live in and the insurance company you choose, any claim you file has the potential to affect your insurance rates. Certain claims, like ones for at-fault accidents, can also mean you no longer qualify for the good driving discount and have to pay higher rates for causing an accident.

Telematics

Since you already practice safe driving habits, you may be able to save even more by participating in an insurance company’s telematics program. This usage-based discount is calculated based on your driving habits, including hard braking, fast accelerations and how many miles you drive. Some companies also track what time of day you drive, with nighttime driving reducing your savings potential.

Nationwide’s SmartRide program offers an initial 10% discount for signing up and up to 40% in discounts depending on driving habits. USAA’s program is called SafePilot and offers up to 30% in savings at renewal based on driving habits.

Shop around

Even when you qualify for discounts as a good driver, you still may not be getting the cheapest rate for car insurance. The best way to find out is to shop around for quotes to compare from several insurance companies. Comparing the same coverage can help you determine which company is best for your personal needs. Discounts can be applied to lower your auto insurance costs even more so you know you are getting the best rate possible.

Frequently asked questions

Who has the cheapest car insurance for new drivers?

Just like for drivers with a clean driving record, the cheapest car insurance for new drivers may be different from driver to driver. Some regional insurers may have better rates, but larger national insurance companies have discounts and incentives that could make their prices cheaper. Shop around for quotes to find the cheapest car insurance with the best coverage to protect a new driver.

What is the cheapest car insurance for bad drivers?

Bad drivers may have a hard time finding the cheapest car insurance as a high-risk driver. You may not have as many options and rates are highest for drivers with a DUI on their record compared to a speeding ticket or accident. Just like for new drivers, bad drivers should shop around to find the cheapest rate for the most coverage to protect their finances if they get pulled over or cause an accident.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Mandy Sleight
Insurance Contributor
Mandy Sleight has been a licensed insurance agent since 2005. She has three years of experience writing for insurance websites such as Bankrate.com, MoneyGeek and The Simple Dollar. Mandy writes about auto, homeowners, renters, life insurance, disability and supplemental insurance products.
Edited by
Insurance Editor