Want to know how to get a better deal on car insurance? While you have to do your homework, here are some tips to get you started saving money on this all-important item.

1. Comparison shop. – It’s good to be loyal to your car insurance company, but don’t overlook potential savings by failing to see what else is available. Experts say that doing an annual check of the competition is a smart move that could save you hundreds of dollars in premiums. Getting competitive quotes is easy and there’s no commitment.

2. Bundle multiple policies. – All this means is that you combine various insurance policies with the same insurer, such as auto, homeowners, and life insurance. Even multi-car families insured with the same company can result in significant savings. Check it out to see how much you can save by combining policies.

3. Raise your deductibles. – Are you a good driver who’s had no accidents or tickets? Don’t just renew your annual insurance coverage without first considering if you can save money by raising your deductibles. If your deductible is $150 or $250, consider raising it to $500 or $1,000. Why pay more if you don’t need to? Just be sure you have that extra money available that you’ll need to pay out before your coverage kicks in if you do have an accident.

4. Consider dropping comprehensive and collision. – Maybe your car is older. It may make sense to drop comprehensive and collision coverage. First, however, find out the value of your car by checking the NADA Guides. If your car is lost or stolen, your insurer will only give you the actual cash value of your car. Weigh the pros and cons of carrying comprehensive and collision – and maybe drop them if the costs outweigh the benefits. Never drop liability coverage, however, or you could be potentially liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event you cause a serious accident.

5. Go for all available discounts. – Too many otherwise savvy consumers think they’ve got a good deal on car insurance but they’ve failed to take advantage of discounts that can drop their premium even more. While discounts vary in name and quantity from one auto insurer to another, there are generally discounts for low-mileage (under 10,000 miles per year, for example), persistent customer (remaining with the same company for three or more years), good driver (no accidents or tickets for the past 3-5 years), good student (full-time students maintaining good grades), safety features (anti-lock brakes, airbags, stolen vehicle recovery systems, etc.), professional association discounts (teachers, police officers, firefighters, other professions). Some auto insurance companies offer a discount if you etch your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) into the windshield.

6. Take a driving course. – People in certain age groups (50 or older, in their early- to mid-20s) may benefit from lower car insurance rates if they take and pass a driving course. The AARP and other organizations regularly offer a course in defensive driving. Younger drivers may benefit from taking a driver’s education course.

  1. 7. Avoid unnecessary fees. – A few dollars each time you make an installment car insurance payment may not seem like much, but why pay such fees if you can avoid it? Research companies that don’t charge monthly service fees, or put money in the bank so you can pay either six months or a full year of coverage on renewal. Either way, it’s money in your pocket.

In the end, how to get a better deal on car insurance requires a little legwork on your part. But the savings can be well worth the effort.

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