We’ve all seen the commercials. You know, 15 minutes can save you 15 percent on car insurance. I happen to be a customer of that company, but it hasn’t always been that way. I shop around for insurance every six months for the best deal.

But this post is about the OTHER way to save up to 15%. I recently took it for a spin.

Defensive Driving Fail: I will never drive with the dog on my lap again.

Defensive Driving Fail: I will never drive with the dog on my lap again.

It was just before 9:30 on a Sunday morning. I walked into a driving school near my home not knowing what to expect. About 30 of us sat in a room with walls I would describe as traffic light green. Soon the instructor came in, shut the door and welcomed us to defensive driving class.

Everyone in the room had a different reason for attending. Many had been in accidents, received speeding tickets or were due in court.  I, however, was there for another reason. I wanted to reduce my insurance premium.  The six-hour class was a mix of PowerPoint and videos, plus the occasional anecdote from the teacher, a self-proclaimed safety nut. At the end, I received a certificate to submit to my insurance company.

These types of courses can save up to 15%, I was told. My insurer knocked off 10%. The discount applies for three years. This particular course normally costs $75  in my state. I took advantage of a Groupon and got it for $27.

My total savings, minus the course fee, is $81 per year for three years.

According to GEICO, every state has different rules and qualifications in order to get the discount. Some classes are even offered online. Your best bet is to check with your insurance company before signing up.