Having adequate car insurance is smart and prudent, but there's no denying that it raises the cost of driving. The good news is that, depending on a variety of factors, premiums can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Review your coverage at renewal time to make sure it meets your needs, and save money on your auto insurance by following these simple steps.

When it comes to car insurance, shop around

Comparison shopping is a good idea because prices vary from one company to the next.

Obtain at least three quotes from various insurance companies and types of insurance companies, such as those that sell through their own agents, independent agents, and those that sell directly to consumers over the phone, via an app, or on the Internet. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations based on their experiences, and do your own due diligence by researching the company before making a commitment.

You should know enough about auto insurance to be able to ask a potential insurer intelligent questions. Anyone you speak with should take the time to respond to you satisfactorily. Remember, these are the people you'll turn to if the worst happens and you need to file a claim.

It's important to keep in mind that the cheapest option isn't always the cheapest. Make sure the company you choose is reputable, and that the insurance professionals you speak with provide you with satisfactory service. Your state insurance department or online consumer information sites may have information on consumer complaints by organization to help you in choosing the right insurance company for your needs.

Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs

The cost of repairing the car, its overall safety record, and the likelihood of theft are all factors that go into determining auto insurance premiums. Many insurance companies provide discounts for features that reduce the risk of car theft or personal injury, as well as for vehicles that are known to be safe. When you're comparing new and used vehicles, look into how much they'll cost to insure. To begin, use the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) online Top Safety Pick ratings tool to look up specific model safety ratings.

Increase your deductible amount

You can save a lot of money on your car insurance premiums by choosing a higher deductible. Of course, make sure you have enough cash on hand to cover the higher deductible in the event you need to file a claim.

Reduce the amount of optional insurance on your older vehicle

As a general rule, collision and/or comprehensive coverage may not be cost effective if your older car is worth less than 10 times the insurance premium. Check the value of your car to see if this is the case for you. On websites like Kelley Blue Book, the National Association of Auto Dealers (NADA), and TrueCar, you can find out how much your car is worth for free.

Combine your insurance policies and/or stick with the same provider

Many insurers will give you a discount if you buy two or more types of insurance from them—for example, homeowners and auto insurance—or if you insure more than one vehicle. Customers who have been with a company for a long time may be eligible for a discount. There are no guarantees, so do your research and compare the costs of a multi-policy discount from a single insurer with the costs of buying your insurance separately from various companies.

Keep your credit score up to date

Having a good credit history has a lot of advantages, including lower insurance costs. Credit information is used by many insurers to price auto insurance policies. (Studies show that people who manage their credit well file fewer claims.) It's a good idea to check your credit report on a regular basis to ensure that all information is correct so that you get the good credit you deserve.

Benefit from low-mileage discounts

Some companies provide discounts to drivers who drive fewer miles per year than the average. Drivers who carpool to work may be eligible for low-mileage discounts.

Inquire about group insurance options

Some companies provide discounts to drivers who purchase insurance through their employer's group plan, professional, business, and alumni groups, or other associations.

Look into what your affiliated organisations have to offer.

Look for other discounts

Other discounts may be available from your insurer to policyholders. Some companies, for example, give discounts to people who haven't had any accidents or moving violations in a certain amount of time or who have completed a defensive driving course. You may also qualify for a lower rate if you have a young driver on your policy who is a good student, has completed a drivers education course, or is away at college without a car.

Inquire with your insurer about any discounts you might be eligible for, but keep in mind that the final cost of your policy is what matters. Even if a company offers few discounts, it may be able to provide you with a lower overall premium price.

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