What are the most common car-insurance discounts?

U.S. households spent $943 on car insurance from mid-2011 to mid-2012, according to the government's Consumer Expenditure Survey reports. That's a lot of dough. It outpaces what households spent on vehicle maintenance in the yearlong period, according to CES data — not to mention store-bought fruits and vegetables, booze and dairy products. Holy cow, indeed.

Maybe that's why car-insurance companies bombard us with discount ads, from Progressive's ever-chipper Flo to a cadre of hapless Geico cavemen. Florida-based Bankrate.com compiled the most common discounts from the top 10 auto insurers, including State Farm, Allstate, Geico and Progressive, and you might be eligible for savings you didn't know existed.

"July is a big month for auto insurance renewals," Bankrate insurance analyst Doug Whiteman told us. "There are some other [discounts] that are more rare that maybe people have never heard about. It's really worth your while to look into these things."

Bankrate surveyed 17 discount categories. Discounts for good students or those who bundle multiple policies (home and auto, for instance) are the most popular; all 10 insurers offer them. At the other end, just two insurers offer a discount for driving a hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle. Farmers Insurance gives out the most discounts (16) while American Family has the least (10), but note that those figures alone don't indicate which insurer is the cheapest. You'll want to compare rates for yourself.

Here's what Bankrate found:


The company surveyed the websites in June. Some discounts aren't available in all 50 states, Whiteman cautioned. State regulators sometimes dictate who gets what, and insurance companies can vary the discount mix based on state-by-state data, he said.

Some discounts appear out of date. Seven of the 10 insurers offer deals for cars with antilock brakes, even though the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found little correlation between antilock brakes and crash reduction. By contrast, electronic stability systems — which incorporate antilock brakes and have been required in new cars since 2012 — have been shown to reduce crashes quite a bit.

Bankrate didn't find many discounts for stability systems, Whiteman said, so it's unlikely that many insurers offer them. This is a group that still offers discounts for motorized seatbelts or frontal airbags — the former phased out in the early 1990s, the latter required since 1999 — so it remains to be seen how long it will take to board the stability-control bandwagon. Farmers Insurance does offer a discount for stability-control-equipped vehicles, but representatives at Progressive and Allstate did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Chicago-area State Farm representive Missy Dundov told us that the insurer does not include a specific discount for the system.

Follow Yahoo! Autos

More Articles

  • EDAG Light Cocoon shines on stage at the Geneva Motor Show

    The Edag Light Cocoon is meant as a way for the German engineering firm to show off its lightweight, 3d printing tech, but by lighting the translucent fabric that's stretched over the skeletal structure, it really gets a chance to shine.The Edag Light Cocoon on display at the Geneva Motor Show has a name that sounds …

  • Borgward returns to Geneva after 55-year-absence

    The car you see in our gallery of live images isn't new – Borgward is promising to show its first all-new model at the upcoming show in Frankfurt in September. Ahead of that reveal, take a look at a piece of history and read about Borgward's future plans."Given the will to succeed, you can achieve anything." …

  • Traffic stops at heart of Ferguson Police Department's racial bias

    The Ferguson Police Department used traffic enforcement as a means to systemically discriminate against minorities, a new report from the Department of Justice found.The Ferguson Police Department used traffic enforcement as a means to systemically discriminate against minorities, a new report from the Department of Justice …

  • 2015 Volkswagen Touran is the Euro MPV exemplified

    Geneva's parade of forbidden fruit continues unabated, as Volkswagen trotted out its third-generation Touran MPV for European audiences.Among the vehicles Volkswagen doesn't sell in the United States, we retain a soft spot for the tiny Touran MPV. Five doors, a reasonably sized trunk, clean sheet metal and an attractive …

  • Skoda Octavia RS 230 packs a sleeper's punch

    Want a Volkswagen GTI but in sedan or wagon form and with a more toned-down look? That'd be the new Škoda Octavia RS 230 revealed at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, but you'll have to move overseas to get one.We can't quite put our finger on it, but there's always something we've kinda loved about the Škoda …