There are a lot of different costs wrapped up in car ownership. There’s the price of the vehicle, gasoline, maintenance, and insurance costs. While some of these costs can’t be changed much, one that can is insurance. There are plenty of things you can do that will impact how much it will cost you to insure your car. Seeing as how you absolutely need to have car insurance, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity afforded to you. Here are five ways to lower your insurance costs.

1. Shop Around Often

car insurance
You can do all your car insurance shopping from the comfort of your home. 

The best way to lower your insurance costs is to shop around at multiple companies fairly often. Shopping around annually is a good way to ensure you’re getting the best rate. Companies are always competing with each other, and one may be able to offer you a better insurance rate than you’re currently getting. There are numerous online shopping tools out there that can help you find the best possible rate.

When shopping around, come equipped. Know exactly how much you’re paying and exactly what you’re paying for. You want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples when looking at car insurance quotes. Also, don’t forget to look into state-run low-cost insurance programs. Some states offer special car insurance programs for people who have a certain household income. Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify, make sure to double check before purchasing a policy.

2. Check Regularly for Discounts

Check regularly for insurance discounts
New car insurance discounts come around all the time, so make sure to check. 

Another smart method for finding the best rate possible is to check with your current insurance provider on a regular basis. New discounts happen all the time. If you don’t check to see if you qualify for them, you’ll likely never learn about them. The insurance company usually implements new discounts to woo new customers. Their current customers aren’t automatically included in new discounts. You have to ask.

We suggest calling every six months or so to see if there are any new discounts you could take advantage of. If you ask, your agent can look at what’s covered in your current policy to see if you qualify for anything that could lower your rate.

3. Always Pay On Time                                                             

car insurance payment
Pay online or consider setting up automatic payments to make sure you always pay on time. 

The quickest way to raise your insurance rate is to not pay on time. Fees can add up quickly and that can make your car insurance extremely expensive. If you can help it, never pay your car insurance late. A good way to make sure it’s paid on time is to set up automatic payments. Set it up to pay your car insurance right after you get paid and you’ll never have to worry about missing a payment again.

Paying on time won’t automatically lower your insurance rate, but it can lead to special discounts for loyal customers. Many insurance companies like to reward their loyal customers that always pay on time. If your insurance company doesn’t offer that kind of discount, make sure to talk with them about other company’s offers to see if they will work with you.

4. Consider Raising the Deductible

raising the deductible
Raising your deductible will lower your monthly payment, but you'll have to pay more out of pocket if you have an accident.

Depending on how much insurance you have on your vehicle, you may be able to adjust the deductible to lower your monthly bill. This means that your monthly bill will be less, but your insurance won’t kick in as quickly if you get into an accident.

For example, say you have a $250 deductible on your policy. That means you have to pay $250 before your insurance kicks in. If you raise your deductible to $1000, you’ll see your monthly rate drop considerably, but you’ll have to pay $1000 out of pocket before your insurance kicks in. If you’re going to raise your deductible, we suggest you set aside that amount of money so that it’ll be ready should you need it.

5. Reduce Coverage on Older Cars

Car Insurance
If you're car's older, you probably don't need full coverage on it. 

Is your car getting up there in years? Chances are you don’t need as much coverage on it as you’re used to paying for. Older used cars generally don’t need a ton of insurance. Make sure to do an audit of your car insurance to determine if you need to have comprehensive and collision coverage on your vehicle. At a certain point in the vehicle’s lifecycle, there will be no point in paying for it.

You can talk with your insurance agent to determine how much insurance you really need on your vehicle. Make sure to discuss the vehicle’s value and rate of depreciation when you call them. Kelley Blue Book is a great resource for finding the value of older used cars. If you come to the conversation equipped with the correct data, you’ll be able to make the best decision on how much coverage you need.