PITTSBURGH (CBS) – Spending a few hours in front of your computer could save you some serious money on your car insurance bill.

Defensive driving classes, long a staple of adult education programs, are now being offered on line for as little as $20. Passing could mean up to a five percent reduction in premiums for three years.

Brian Rood of Oakland, Calif. gave the National Safety Council’s version of the online course a test drive. At first, he found it repetitive, but upon finishing, he admitted he learned several things, including how to better adjust the mirrors on his vehicle.

“It doesn’t take that long, and if indeed they lower your rates for three years, why wouldn’t you do it?” Rood said.

A number of different companies offer online courses intended to help improve driving skills. Costs range from $20 to $50.

Tully Lehman, of the Insurance Information Network of California, said most, but not all insurers will offer discounts to most, but not all drivers who take the online courses. He said some insurers only accept certificates of completion from certain programs.

He said most insurers will give discounts to good drivers, members of the military, students who maintain a 3.0 or better GPA and customers who have more than one type of policy.

Lehman said some insurers also offer low mileage discounts to motorists who drive fewer than a predetermined number of miles a year.

Many adult education programs also offer safe driving classes, which may also qualify you for a discount, but be sure to check with your insurer before enrolling because not everyone qualifies.

It also pays to comparison shop. There are several companies that sell cheap auto insurance in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department website has a rate comparison guide, which lists the top 20 insurance companies in each county.

As for Rood, his insurance rate will go down. He passed the test, which should end up saving him about $120.


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