Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • If you want to lower the price of your car insurance, then you need to improve your risk as a driver
  • Improving your credit can have a positive effect on your car insurance and in many other areas of your life
  • Your vehicle has a lot to do with the cost of your insurance, and it is a two-fold issue, safety features and risk of filing a claim for theft
  • All car insurance experts maintain that getting many quotes for car insurance coverage is the best method for finding affordable rates

Lowering the cost of car insurance is not just the goal of most car owners; it is something that everyone should be trying to do. Most people just pay what an auto insurance company tells them to pay, and then complain about the high cost of coverage.

There is a better way! Follow the following four tips to lower the cost of your car insurance.

Lower prices for car insurance can be found right here when you use your ZIP code in the FREE quote tool above!

Most of the tips to lowering car insurance take awhile, as they are really changing certain behaviors. Other tips will have an immediate effect. There are a few methods that you should stay away from, however, because they are actually illegal or will leave you open to financial ruin.

#1  Be a Better Driver

All car insurance providers are concerned with how likely their customers are to file a claim for damages in the future.

In a perfect world, everyone would pay their premiums on time and no one would have a claim for an accident, a theft, or an errant deer in the road.

In an effort to offset payouts on claims as much as possible, car insurance providers evaluate every applicant for their likelihood of having a future claim and base the cost of coverage on that risk.

If you want to lower the price of your car insurance, then you need to improve your risk as a driver.

The simplest way to do this is to avoid driving behaviors that will get you tickets and into accidents.

Follow the rules of the road, such as maintaining a safe distance between vehicles and slowing down when it is raining or snowing.

Also, follow driving laws such as the speed limit and right-of-way laws. So many accidents are caused by careless driving or disobeying traffic laws.

Furthermore, avoid behaviors that are known to contribute significantly to accidents. Distracted driving contributed to almost 4,000 deaths and 416,000 injuries in 2010, according to statistics reported by Distraction.Gov.

Behaviors such as texting, talking on a cell phone, adjusting other electronics such as the radio or GPS, and even talking can all lead to an accident. Other factors to avoid in order to decrease the chances of a violation or crash are driving under the influence, tired driving, and speeding.

Eventually, most negative marks will fall off your record, lowering your car insurance rates. While minor infractions and tickets usually stay with you for three years, serious violations like DUIs generally last for seven to ten years.

When you are focusing on your new, safer driving behaviors, you can also take a driving safety course approved by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to remove points from your license and lower your rates a bit.

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#2  Improve Your Credit

Your driving record is not the only factor that is used to assess your driving risk. Another major factor that many car insurance companies use to evaluate your risk is your credit history.

Insurance underwriters maintain that there is a direct connection between driving behaviors and money-management skills.

Basically, they claim that there are statistics that show that those with bad credit are more likely to be in an accident. This perceived risk can raise your auto insurance rates.

Some laws ban or limit how car insurance providers can use your credit history to calculate your coverage costs, so you should check with your state’s department of insurance to see if your credit history is negatively affecting your rates.

For instance, the Texas Department of Insurance allows insurers to use an applicant’s credit history as criteria for evaluating risk and setting premiums, but it cannot be the only criteria used.

Improving your credit can have a positive effect on your car insurance and in many other areas of your life.

The Federal Reserve offers tips on improving your credit, such as paying your bills on time, keeping your credit card amounts low, and avoiding quick-fix methods that usually do more harm than good.

Improving your credit is obviously another long-term fix, but you learn valuable financial lessons and habits that will serve you well. Good credit is a mainstay in buying a home, qualifying easily for more credit, and getting the best interest rates.

#3  Focus on Your Vehicle

Your next step to lowering your car insurance costs is to focus on yet another factor that is used to calculate your risk. Your vehicle has a lot to do with the cost of your insurance, and it is a two-fold issue.

The first part is the safety of your vehicle. Vehicles that are deemed safer have special features like traction control and all-wheel drive that make it more likely that a driver can avoid an accident.

They also have features that keep occupants safer, like airbags and seatbelts, which minimize injuries in an accident. Both types of features reduce the cost of claims, lowering your car insurance costs.

Obviously, you can’t add airbags or all-wheel drive to your current vehicle, but you can search for a safer vehicle when you are looking to buy a new car, truck, SUV, or van.

You can look at annual ratings offered by both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Vehicles with consistently high safety ratings year after year will have lower car insurance rates than their counterparts in the same class of vehicle.

The second way that you can focus on your vehicle to lower your car insurance rates has to do with your risk of filing a claim for theft, not an accident. Most car insurance companies offer discounts for active and passive anti-theft devices. You can install active anti-theft devices such as alarms and GPS locators for a discount.

One great, low-cost option for passive devices is to get VIN etching performed on your vehicle. VIN etching is offered for free by many police departments and municipalities, or you can buy a very low-cost kit.

The city of Annapolis, Maryland contends that insurance discounts for passive anti-theft devices are even higher than those for active devices, because a driver can’t turn them off. Discounts for VIN etching can be 5% to 10% of your premium or higher.

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#4  Compare, Compare, Compare

The last tip for lowering your auto insurance premiums is about how you buy insurance. Many people just purchase insurance from the first company they try, and that saves about as much money as paying the sticker price at the dealership without shopping around.

All car insurance experts maintain that getting many quotes for car insurance coverage is the best method for finding affordable rates.

Many studies have been conducted that show that car insurance companies don’t charge the same rates as their competitors do. In fact, sometimes they don’t even come close.

You truly can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year; it’s just that you have to find the particular insurance company that will be the lowest for you.

The only way to know what any insurer will charge you for coverage is to get a quote.

The more quotes you get, the more likely you are to find the one company that will have great prices for you and your driving situation.

You can get quotes any way that you choose. The quickest and easiest way to get many quotes with little effort is to use a website that offers multiple quotes, such as this one.

You can get multiple quotes just from one application, and you will get quotes for exactly the same amount of coverage.

If you plan to get quotes another way, make sure the quotes are all for the same amount of coverage so you can compare them side-by-side.

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Avoid These Bad Tips

There are right ways to lower your car insurance, and then there are wrong ways. In your quest for lower car insurance rates, make sure that you don’t attempt the wrong ways due to bad advice.

For instance, you should never lie on your application to get lower rates. Car insurance companies and the government consider such fallacies to be fraud, and you could suffer serious consequences for stretching the truth.

Furthermore, you also don’t want to lower your coverage to the bare minimum amounts. If you don’t have enough coverage, then you will be paying for the costs out-of-pocket for anything that your car insurance company doesn’t cover.

This is true for paying for other people’s injuries and repairs from an accident you caused, as well as your own injuries and damages. Basically, you can pay a little bit more now to have full coverage, or you can pay a whole lot later if you don’t have enough coverage.

Other Considerations

There are other factors that are important when searching for car insurance coverage beyond just the price. Before you purchase a policy with any car insurance company, you first need to research some basic information.

Essentially, you need to find out if the company offering you a great rate is a good company or not.

First, you need to research the company with your state’s department of insurance to make sure that they are licensed to sell insurance in your state. Too many drivers find out that their insurance company is actually fraudulent when they’re at the scene of an accident, which is way too late.

Next, you need to research the financial standings of the company to make sure they aren’t going to go bankrupt in the next six months or so, taking your premium with them.

Look for ratings from agencies such as Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s.

Lastly, you want to research the reputation of the company. Look up ratings, read reviews, and ask friends, families, and coworkers that have experience with the company from which you are looking to buy.

The last thing you want to buy with your hard-earned dollars is an insurance policy from a company that really only cares about your premium, and not about you as a customer.

Inserting your ZIP into the FREE quote tool below on this page is the first step in getting multiple car insurance quotes to compare!