5 Ways to Save on Your Car Insurance

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If you own a car, insurance is a necessary expense—but the amount you pay is not completely outside of your control. Maybe you can’t do anything about where you live or substantially decrease the amount of driving you do, but you still have plenty of options available to decrease your car insurance premiums.

5 Decrease Your Coverage

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If you’re still making payments for your car, your lender probably required you to purchase collision coverage. However, if you’re driving an older car that’s already paid off, reducing your coverage to liability only will substantially lower your premium. Keep in mind doing this means insurance won’t pay for repairs to your car if you’re the one who caused an accident. You can also decrease your premiums by raising your deductible—but make sure that amount is still within your ability to afford if something happens to your car.

4 Combine Policies

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Most carriers offer discounts if you have more than one insurance policy with them. If you drive more than one car, insuring all of them with the same company makes sense. You save yourself a hassle by having a single premium to budget, and you usually qualify for a multi-car discount that saves you some money. If your carrier offers homeowners or renters insurance as well, they may offer additional discounts if you add those policies to your account.

3 Compare Carriers

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Insurance carriers are private companies competing with each other for your business—and they do so by trying to offer you the lowest possible rate and the most potential discounts. Rates vary widely, and the only way to know you’re paying as little as possible is to shop around. Carriers offer discounts based on the length of your average daily commute, the number of miles you drive in a year, your membership in an auto club, even your job—in an attempt to lure drivers who present the lowest risk.

2 Don’t Buy a Ferrari

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Some cars cost more to insure than others. Part of this has to do with the price of the car—if it’s extremely expensive to repair, chances are it’ll be equally expensive to insure. And if you’re driving a bright red sports car, insurance companies see you as a driver with a lead foot who is more likely to get popped for speeding or reckless driving. If you choose a car that’s more economical and less ostentatious—and with plenty of safety features—you’ll spend less insuring it.

1 Drive Safely

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It seems obvious, but the No. 1 way to keep your car insurance premiums low is to be a safe driver. Speeding tickets and accidents put points on your license and make you a greater insurance risk, which means insurance companies will charge you more. Keeping your driving record clean not only keeps you and other people on the road safe, it saves you money. Some carriers also offer bonuses for drivers who maintain safe driving habits while insured.

Jennifer Mueller has been writing professionally since 1995, when she began writing a bi-monthly column for "This Week in WNC." Mueller holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and a Juris Doctor from the Indiana University School of Law.

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