When you're looking for cheap car insurance, getting discounts is an important way to save money. When you compare auto insurance quotes, make sure to compare quotes for the same levels of coverage, and ask the insurance agent to review all possible discounts.
Here are some of the most common discounts.
Multi-policy discount (also called multi-line discount): Bundling auto and home insurance is often one of the bigger discounts you can snag. Multi-policy discounts also often apply when you buy auto insurance and other policies from the same company, including insurance for renters, condos, boats and RVs. Some companies even bundle auto and life insurance together for a discount.
Multi-car discount: If you're insuring more than one vehicle, most insurance companies will offer a discount.
Pay in full discount: For paying for the full term up-front.
ETF discount: If you're paying in installments, there may be a discount for using automatic withdrawals such as electronic funds transfer (EFT).
Paperless discount: Typically given for receiving bills and policy documents electronically.
Car safety features: For cars with certain safety equipment such as anti-lock brakes, air bags and daytime running lights, you may get a discount.
Anti-theft: There are often discounts for cars that have anti-theft features. This could include VIN etching, tracking devices, disabling devices or recovery devices.
Good driver discounts: If you have no accidents or tickets, you might qualify for a discount. While the definition of a "good driver" will vary from company to company, generally if you don't have any moving violations or at-fault accidents in the last three to five years you could qualify.
Defensive driver discounts. Some insurers offer discounts for taking an accident-prevention course. The discount may apply only to customers age 55 and older.
Good student discount: If you're enrolled full time at a high school or university and maintaining at least a B average or 3.0, or you're on the honor roll or dean's list, you may be able to get a good student discount. Eligibility rules vary by insurance company.
Student away at school discount: If you have a driver under age 25 who's away at school and without a car, you may get a discount. Generally the school has to be more than 100 miles away from home, but the distance required can vary by company.
See more tips for cheap car insurance for teens.
Usage-based insurance program discount: Many insurers offer usage-based insurance (UBI), which calculates your premium based on how much and how well you drive. Sometimes you can get a discount just for enrolling in a UBI program. Usually the first policy period in a UBI program is for data collection, then the discount based on your driving kicks in during the next policy period.
Occupational discount: Military, law enforcement and educators are just some of the occupations that might get a discount.
Professional organizations and alumni associations: Members of business groups, college alumni associations and other groups may get savings.
What to know about auto insurance discounts
Discounts may only apply to certain coverage types, not your entire bill. For example, a discount for having a vehicle-tracking device might apply only to comprehensive insurance, because that's the coverage that pays for stolen cars.
Some discounts are required by state law. For example, some states mandate a discount for drivers age 55 and older who have taken a defensive-driving course in the last three years.
Discounts aren't always automatic. Make sure you ask! Don't assume your insurance company will automatically know all the discounts that can apply to your policy. It's smart ask your insurance agent to review all the possible savings.
Discounts can be capped. You might qualify for multiple discounts but the insurer can limit the total discount percentage. The only way to know the true end price is to get car insurance quotes with all the discounts you qualify for.
Remember, ask your insurance agent on a regular basis to go over possible discounts.