Magazine article Black Enterprise

On Defense: Driving Classes Could Lower Your Insurance Rates

Magazine article Black Enterprise

On Defense: Driving Classes Could Lower Your Insurance Rates

Article excerpt

It's Friday afternoon. You have the whole weekend ahead of you, so you're anxious to get home. In the rearview mirror, you spot a police car's flashing lights. The siren is wailing, signaling you to pull over. The officer leaves you with a $95 ticket and two points added your license. Your first thought: "The insurance is going to go through the roof." Your second thought: "Two more points after this and my license will be suspended." Don't panic. Take a defensive driving course.

According to the National Safety Council (www.nsc.org, 630-285-1121), 28 states allow up to three points to be subtracted from the total on your driving record if you have received violations within 18 months before course completion. Also, 34 states offer insurance discounts of up to 10%. "In other states where all companies are required by law to offer a discount, individual companies operating in those states offer premium reduction," says Thomas Chartoff, a New Jersey police officer and defensive driving instructor. Insurance points, which are assigned by your individual insurance carrier, are used to determine the cost of your auto insurance and, therefore, are not reduced upon course completion.

Since the courses are for experienced drivers, don't expect driving instruction basics. Also, don't expect to take a vehicle out on the open road. You actually sit in a classroom for an all-day seminar that has a quiz at the end. The quiz is designed to see if you were listening and has no impact on getting the course certificate at completion, "The courses don't teach you how to drive; they teach correct driving techniques," says Chartoff. …

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