You have probably heard about the common factors that affect car insurance: location, vehicle model, driver’s age, and gender. They all affect rate prices and all concern an individual’s driving situation. Yet what about all the other factors that influence the final price—things that you can control?

EverQuote analyzed driver profiles to find that there are significant savings for those who choose the right options. Here are some surprising things that, when combined, can help you save 7–9% on coverage. These tips are ranked from the largest discount to smallest, but combining them will save you the most. Considering that the average cost of auto insurance is increasing, these discounts can equal big savings.

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1.  Pay by Electronic Funds Transfer (~3% discount).

Opting to pay by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) can help consumers save money on their car insurance. EFT works by automatically deducting the auto insurance payment each month from either a savings or checking account. It is then immediately transferred to your insurer. Because these deductions are automatic, they cut down on time and money. The data shows that this payment option can also provide you with a cheaper premium price—in fact, it can offer a 3% discount on its own.

Consumer benefit: Discounted rate, convenient, no installment fees or potential late fees, no need to worry about lapses in coverage due to a forgotten bill.

Insurer’s perspective: Paperless process is cheaper and faster, able to depend on timely premium payment each month.

2.  Pay up front if you can (~3% discount).

When consumers purchase a car insurance policy, they’ll typically be asked if they would like to pay for the premium up front or month-to-month. The contract term is often a 6-month lump sum or you can pay the bill each month. If you can afford to pay all of the premium up front, consider doing so. The data shows that paying ahead of time offers a 3% discount on average if you aren’t already using EFT.

Consumer benefit: Discounted rate, no need to remember a monthly bill.

Insurer’s perspective: Insurers are able to receive payment quickly which they may need for other claims, don’t need to worry whether the policyholder will pay each month.

3.  Shop a little sooner (~2% discount).

The time at which you choose to shop for car insurance can affect the final premium rate. Many drivers wait until the week of their insurance expiration date to begin looking, but that may be too late. Shopping ahead only 10 days in advance of the current policy’s expiration can help drivers find a better price. Why? The reasoning behind this isn’t that shopping ahead guarantees a discount. However, the study showed that certain insurance companies will give a lower rate to those who shop sooner.

Consumer benefit: Discounted rate, more time to consider options, insurance is set in advance.

Insurer’s perspective: Able to lock down or renew a contract earlier.           

4.  Opt for the totally paperless application (~1% discount).

If you’re already doing your banking digitally, why not try out car insurance? Most insurers now offer paperless applications that are incredibly efficient. They can be filled out online and for those who like to have the physical papers in hand, the forms can easily be saved and printed out for access. Consumers will be saving their insurers time and money, and the data shows that those savings are often passed along.

Insurer perspective: Saves time and money, faster application process, digital storage.

Consumer benefit: Discounted rate, digital access to policy, faster application timeline.

5.  Use electronic document signatures (~1% discount).

When consumers sign up or renew a car insurance policy, they can choose to sign the insurance documents electronically. Many carriers are now offering electronic document signatures, and using them can provide savings as signing online is quick and easy. Though this option offers the smallest discount, you may find it’s still worth it for the convenience.

Insurer perspective: Fast and cheap. No need to send policy forms or wait for a response.

Consumer benefit: Discounted rate, immediate access to insurance information.

What Should You Choose?

The most important piece of advice to remember is that you should first choose the option that will give you the largest discount, as this will have the greatest effect on lowering your car insurance rate. The study showed that this is typically EFT. Combining that with the other options leads to an average of 7–9% in savings. The top combination is typically EFT or pay up front along with shopping early.

Do what works for you and weigh out the benefits for your own situation. While you won’t find these discounts at every auto insurance company, making these choices will help save you money overall.

There are a lot of factors that go into your premium rate, but it’s clear that these discounts are available to you regardless of your driver profile. Go ahead and take advantage of them.

Details of the study:

The EverQuote study analyzed driving profiles across numerous zip codes divided into the follow criteria: male and female, young driver and middle aged driver, good credit and poor credit. After looking at the discounts (for EFT, pay up front, shopping sooner, paperless application, and electronic signatures) for the best 10 rates per profile, the average percentage savings was between 7-9%.