When driving expenses get to be too much, given that times are tough and money is tight, saving money by checking out these six tips for cutting your high car insurance bill may be in order.

1. Consider your vehicle choice carefully. In rough economic times, many consumers find themselves needing to replace a vehicle, or buying used instead of new. Sometimes it’s necessary to downsize, all in order to save on gas, maintenance and other expenses. If you’re in the market to buy, look carefully at the choice of vehicles, particularly with respect to insurance premiums. Sporty and performance cars, luxury cars and certain off-road vehicles have jacked-up premiums. You’re much better off with a sedan that gets good fuel economy and has top safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Look for vehicles with lots of safety equipment: airbags, antilock brakes (ABS), anti-theft system, daytime running lights, and so on. GEICO, among many auto insurance companies, offers discounts for vehicles with certain types of safety equipment.

2. Increase your deductibles. Given that you’ll have to pay an annual insurance premium that’s likely higher than you’d like, one proven way to cut your high car insurance bill is to increase the amount of your deductibles. Instead of the traditional $250 or $500, if you really want to see a nice reduction, go for a $1,000 deductible. Just keep in mind that should anything happen and you need to collect on your policy, you’ll have to shell out that deductible upfront, before your policy kicks in. Another point to consider is reduction in deductible by a certain amount every year you drive accident-free. Allstate and Nationwide, for example, reduce your deductible by $100 each year you have no accidents. That’s on top of an automatic $100 deductible savings the day you sign up.

3. Drive less. The fewer the miles you drive each year, the better. That is, if you go with an insurance company that offers a discount for driving less than 10,000 miles a year.

4. Pay premium in full. Some insurance companies, Progressive included, give you a discount when you pay your premium in full instead of spreading it out over payments. You also save on monthly fees levied with instalment payments.

5. Improve your driving record. There’s no question that drivers with a spotty driving history filled with speeding and other tickets, a few fender benders or worse in the past three to five years will pay for the pleasure of driving – and, generally speaking, quite a lot. A sure-fire way to reduce your high car insurance bill is to really pay attention to your driving. Yes, it takes a few years to do this, but when your tickets and at-fault accidents fall off your record, you may qualify for a good driver discount – and a whole lot less in annual auto insurance outlays. At Allstate, for example, safe drivers can save 45 percent or more on car insurance.

6. Aim for a better credit rating. Another key element in cutting high car insurance bills is a good credit rating. You may think that this doesn’t have anything to do with your driving, but statistically speaking, a driver who’s a good credit risk is likely a safer driver than someone with poor or average credit. If you’ve improved your credit rating to excellent, your auto insurance rate will be measurably improved.

While these six tips for cutting your high car insurance bill are good ones, there are others to look at as well. Also think about bundling policies, combining homeowners, auto and life insurance, or go for a multi-car policy. If you are a loyal, long-term customer of a particular car insurer, you may qualify for discounts based on your longevity with the company. Sometimes, it pays to be loyal.  For more tips on car insurance, visit our section on car insurance where you can get additional tips or if you would like to compare auto insurance quotes from multiple carriers.

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