Being a good driver (also called a safe driver by some companies) is one of the best ways to save money on car insurance. Learn what makes a good driver, how much a good driver discount is, California’s good driver rules, how to maintain your good driver discount and more.

Key Highlights
  • Good driver discounts can also be called safe driver discounts, depending on your insurer.
  • Insurers discount good drivers to incentivize policyholders to drive safely and responsibly.
  • Good driver discounts typically range from 10% to 30%.
  • A good driver discount is usually immediately deducted from your premium.

What is a good driver discount?

A good driver discount, sometimes called a safe driving discount, is a premium reducer automatically applied to your automobile insurance policy if you are eligible. That means having zero tickets, accidents or blemishes on your driving record for a certain period.

How do you get a good driver discount?

Lauren McKenzie, an insurance broker at A Plus Insurance, says you are typically eligible for a good driver discount after your insurance company runs a motor vehicle report.

“The discount will automatically be applied to your policy for instant savings if there are no accidents or claims on your report over a certain period,” McKenzie says.

To qualify for a good driver discount, you must maintain a clean driving record for a minimum amount of time set by your insurance company. Often, that means between three and five years – although the amount of time required will differ depending on the carrier.

“Good driver discounts typically range from 10% to 30%. Each auto insurer has its own specific guidelines for the level of discount applied,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute. “That can equate to hundreds of dollars in savings over a policy term. Additionally, every driver on your policy must have a clean driving record over that period – not just you.”

What is a safe driver discount?

Friedlander says that a safe and good driver discount are often interchangeable terms, depending on your insurer. So, if you see this incentive listed as a “safe driver discount” on your policy, it means the same thing as a “good driver discount.”

Accident-free discount

Instead of or in addition to a good driver discount, your carrier may also award you with an accident-free discount.

“This rebate is generally granted to drivers who have not had an accident for a particular period of time. The amount that an accident-free discount can lower your insurance premiums will vary, but it is generally around 20%,” says Joyce Ann Gutierrez, an automotive expert for 4WheelOnline.

McKenzie says you must be accident-free for three to five years to qualify. Additionally, an accident-free discount won’t apply to drivers who don’t get tickets or moving violations.

Claims-free discount

Yet another markdown you may be eligible for is a claims-free discount, which can be given to drivers without car insurance claims for three to five years. Gutierrez says the value of a claims-free deduction is often 20% or more.

“Claims can include lesser things like windshield replacement, towing and lockout services, however – not just claims involving accidents,” McKenzie says.

Defensive driving discount

You usually must meet all other criteria for good driver discounts to qualify for a defensive driving discount.

“Many states mandate insurers to offer a defensive driving discount to their policyholders to complete a virtual defensive driving course,” Friedlander says.

Other car insurance discounts

Of course, these aren’t the only ways to save money on your automobile insurance. In addition to good driver, claims-free, defensive driving and accident-free discounts, you can save money on your policy by bundling, insuring multiple vehicles, increasing your deductible and more.

How much is the good driver discount?

A good driver discount is immediately deducted from your premium. So, if your monthly premium payment is $100, you will pay $70 monthly if you get a 30% good driver discount.

A graduated discount is employed by some carriers, which means the longer you maintain a clean and safe driving record, the greater the discount becomes. And a tiered discount is a percentage determined based on the individual driver.

“Your insurance provider could start you off with a 10% good driver discount,” McKenzie says. “A driver who has three years of safe driving may be offered a 10% discount, while a driver with more than five years of safe driving may be offered a 30% discount.”

Why do insurance companies offer good driver discounts?

Insurers discount good drivers to incentivize policyholders to drive safely and responsibly. Not having any tickets or accidents results in the carrier paying less to have you on its policy.

“Insurance companies feel that drivers with a clean driving record are safer drivers and less likely to get into an accident. That makes them a good risk to the company,” she says. “Some carriers weigh the good driver discount heavily, in which case you will see a generous discount applied, like 30% off your premium.”

Do states require companies to offer good driver discounts?

California is the only state that mandates a good driving discount for all insured drivers. Other states offer good driver discounts to drivers, too, but carriers in these states may not be mandated to offer it like California is, Gutierrez says.

California’s good driver discount

“Specifically, the good driver discount in the Golden State is 20% for residents who have had a valid driver’s license from any state over the past three consecutive years, have no more than one point on their motor vehicle record, and have no serious driving-related convictions,” Friedlander says.

Which companies offer a good driver discount?

Friedlander says that good driver discounts are offered by major national insurers as well as most regional insurers. And Gutierrez says that some car insurance companies provide generous rebates.

“Geico, for example, offers a 15% discount to drivers who have had no accidents in the last three years. State Farm also provides a good driver discount, but the amount varies according to your location. If you live in California, you can save 20% versus only 15% in New York, for example,” Gutierrez says.

Other carriers that offer generous good driver and accident-free discounts include Progressive, Travelers and Dairyland Insurance, McKenzie says.

Will one accident or ticket cancel my discount?

Remember, your good driver discount can be pulled if you get a ticket or citation or are involved in an accident claim.

“In these instances, your good driver discount would be terminated. This may occur when your insurer pulls your motor vehicle record report at renewal time or when it uses its own claims data to determine if you still qualify,” says Alyssa Thao, vice president of insurance products for Clearcover.

How do you maintain a safe driver discount?

Avoid any of the following incidents that can trigger a termination of your good driver discount, such as:

  • At-fault accidents
  • Major comprehensive claims
  • Points on your driver’s license are caused by moving violations such as speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated.

“After your good driver discount is already applied, if you or another driver on your policy has an incident that impacts your motor vehicle record or claims history, your good driver discount will most likely be removed at the next premium renewal date,” Friedlander says.

Final thoughts good driver discounts

“The best car insurance companies are the ones that make these discounts known and readily available when each new policy is opened and continuously work to better policyholders’ experiences,” says Alyssa Thao, vice president of insurance products for Clearcover.

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Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including and