Best car insurance discounts: Top options and providers

Nurse walking by her white car on the way to work.Image: Nurse walking by her white car on the way to work.

In a Nutshell

Could you be saving money on your car insurance? Here’s a rundown of the top insurance companies offering discounts for things like driving safely, being a good student, bundling multiple insurance policies and more.
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There’s a lot that goes into choosing the right car insurance. You want to make sure you’re getting the appropriate amount of coverage and that your insurer offers services in a way that works best for you — whether that’s online, via a local agent or on a mobile app.

Car insurance can be pricey, which is why it’s also important to shop around for quotes and research any discounts you may be eligible for. Luckily, many insurance companies offer a range of discount options for drivers based on things like your driving record, customer loyalty, student or military status, and other factors.

Best overall: Geico

Why Geico stands out above the rest: Geico takes the top overall spot because of its coverage options and wide range of potential discounts. While some insurers may offer more generous discounts for specific things like being a good student, driving safely or bundling policies, Geico customers will likely be able to get the coverage options they want and still qualify for several auto insurance discounts.

  • Range of discount categories — Geico offers discount opportunities in categories including vehicle equipment, driver affiliation, customer loyalty, driving history and habits, and driver’s education.
  • Standout discounts — Some of Geico’s best discounts include 23% each for airbags and anti-theft systems, 22% for being five years accident-free, 25% for military members during emergency deployment and 25% for multivehicle policies.
  • “Prime Time” savings — In certain states, Geico also has a savings program for drivers over the age of 50 with no operators on their policy under age 25.
  • Availability — Be sure to check your policy options, as not all discounts or coverages are available in every state.

Read reviews of Geico auto insurance.

Best discounts for usage-based insurance: Nationwide

Here’s why: Nationwide offers two options for usage-based insurance discounts: SmartRide and SmartMiles. SmartRide rewards drivers with a discount of up to 40% for practicing safe driving habits. SmartMiles is a pay-per-mile insurance program that offers drivers a flexible monthly rate based on how much they drive.

  • Big discounts possible — The SmartRide program offers one of the most generous discount possibilities among traditional insurers who offer telematics-based programs, with a 10% enrollment discount — with a total discount of up to 40% based on how safely you drive. Plus, you can improve your discount at every renewal.
  • Mileage-based tracking — Nationwide is somewhat unique in that it also offers a mileage-based program, which could benefit customers who drive less than the average.
  • Insurance coverage — Nationwide offers all the standard full-coverage options, plus special coverages, including accident forgiveness, roadside assistance, vanishing deductible and total loss deductible waiver.

Read reviews of Nationwide auto insurance.

Best discounts for bundling: Allstate

Here’s why: Allstate could be a great choice for people looking for a package deal. Many insurers offer discounts for “bundling” multiple insurance products — or policies for several vehicles — under one roof. At up to 25%, Allstate offers one of the most generous multipolicy bundle discounts around.

  • Bundling discounts — Allstate offers generous discounts for bundling different insurance products — like home and auto, renters and auto, or renters and motorcycle.
  • Additional discounts — Other available discounts include new-car, smart student, safe driving, anti-lock brake and anti-theft device discounts. Allstate also offers discounts for setting up autopay, paying in full, going paperless and signing your policy early.

Read reviews of Allstate auto insurance.

Best discounts for military members: USAA

Here’s why: With services and discounts designed exclusively for military members and their families, USAA is a top pick for folks with military affiliations. To qualify for car insurance through USAA, you’ll have to have a USAA membership, which is open to U.S. military members and veterans, spouses and children of USAA members, and precommissioned officers.

  • Storage discount — You can get a discount of up to 15% for storing your car in a garage on a military base.
  • Other discounts — Additional discount opportunities include an automatic payment discount, a good student discount and a MyUSAA legacy discount.
  • Available coverage — USAA offers liability, collision, comprehensive and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Positive customer experiences — USAA boasts high claims satisfaction ratings according to J.D. Power.

Read reviews of USAA auto insurance.

Best discounts for drivers over 55: The Hartford for AARP

Here’s why: The Hartford offers car insurance with rates specifically designed for AARP members. If you’re over 50 and an AARP member, you could save up to 10% on your premium.

  • Available coverage — Car insurance coverage options include roadside assistance, disappearing deductible and accident forgiveness.
  • Additional discounts — Earn discounts for bundling, paying in full, getting an online insurance quote, having safety features, owning hybrid or electric vehicles, taking a defensive driving course and participating in the TrueLane safe driving program.

Read reviews of The Hartford auto insurance.

Best discounts for students: State Farm

Here’s why: State Farm may offer one of the best discounts for earning good grades among major insurers. Plus, the company offers multiple ways for students and younger drivers to save money on their premiums.

  • Good student discount — Students who get good grades may save up to 25% on their premiums through age 25.
  • Additional student discounts — You may also qualify for discounts for taking a driver education course or if you attend school away from home and only use your car during vacations.
  • Incident-free discount — With State Farm’s Steer Clear program, drivers under 25 with a three-year clean driving record could save as much as 15%.
  • Telematics option — Drivers who participate in State Farm’s Drive Safe and Save program could save up to 30%.

Read reviews of State Farm auto insurance.

FAQs about car insurance discounts

What are the most common car insurance discounts?

Insurance companies often offer discounts for things like bundling multiple policies, having a safe driving record, or being a student, senior or military member. You may also score a discount for things like having anti-theft devices in your car, being a loyal customer and paying your bill in full or online.

What’s the best way to save money on car insurance?

One of the best ways to save money on car insurance is by maintaining a clean driving record. But even if your driving history isn’t perfect, many insurance companies offer discounts that can help you save money on your premium.

Does Geico have the best discounts?

While Geico may not have the most robust discounts in any category, it ranks highly for its breadth of available discounts, which should meet many drivers’ needs.

How we picked these insurers

We looked at 11 of the top national traditional insurance companies and compared how their discounts stacked up in various categories.

In addition to identifying the most-generous discounts, we looked at available coverage options and customer satisfaction ratings according to J.D. Power. Insurance companies also won points for having multiple overall discount options or within a specific category.

About the author: Sarah Sidlow is a freelance writer and editor based near Detroit. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Georgetown University. Sarah’s work has appeared in Luxembourg’s national newspaper, Washington City Paper… Read more.