Everyone’s looking for a good deal on their car insurance. The difficulty of seeking out fast savings on your auto coverage is that cheaper car insurance rates are traditionally the result of building up your driving reputation over a long period of time. (The exception to this rule is usage-based insurance.)

While it may take years of careful driving to significantly lower your rates, there are a few steps you can take immediately to ensure that you’re not overpaying for your car insurance. Check these six action items off your list before you settle for your current coverage rate.

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1. Shop Around

Until you see what else the market has to offer, you won’t know whether you’re getting or missing a great deal by sticking with your current policy. Failing to reevaluate your car insurance periodically could mean that you’re missing out on better rates with a different company.

Make it a point to compare car insurance rates at least once every six months, especially if you’ve recently experienced a change that could impact your policy more heavily, like purchasing a new car. Getting at least three quotes is recommended in order to make a solid comparison.

2. Raise Your Deductible

Another simple way to reduce your car insurance rate is by raising your deductible. This means increasing how much you’ll pay out pocket before your insurance pays out for any damages or injuries.

piggy bank and carRaising your deductible is not always the best route, especially for those averse to risk. Ask yourself the following questions to get a sense of whether a higher deductible is the best money-saving route:

  • Will I be able to afford the deductible if an accident occurs? If the answer is no, it’s wise not to gamble on the chance that you won’t need to pay out of pocket.

  • Will the money I save in premium costs balance out the cost of the higher deductible? Weighing out the cost of a higher deductible in terms of how much you would save in premium costs can help you decide if it’s worth the risk.

  • Am I comfortable with the risk of having a higher deductible? If you’ll be happier knowing that a lower deductible offers more security in the event that something happens, perhaps its best to opt for the safer route.

3. Secure Your Car & Declare Its Safety Features

Auto insurance is often cheaper or discounted when your car has certain safety and anti-theft features, such as:

Consider investing in features that could reduce your overall car insurance rates. The car insurance savings that result from an anti-theft device, for example, could mean that the security upgrade would pay for itself.

Reap the benefits by making sure that any safety and anti-theft features are declared to your auto insurer.

4. Clean Out the Garage

If storage or clutter is taking over your garage, creating space for your car could be a source of savings. Car insurance companies know that vehicles parked in garages are less likely to be stolen and exposed to other risks, which results in lower rates.

There are other practical benefits of parking your vehicle in the garage: decreased wear and tear on your vehicle and fewer winter mornings spent scraping ice off of your windshield!

5. Choose the Right Payment Method

After taking into account the variety of factors that influence how much you pay for car insurance, the way you pay for your coverage can also raise or lower the overall cost. Paying your premium annually is typically the lowest-cost option, since more processing fees can be tacked onto monthly or quarterly payments.

Your insurer may also charge less if your car insurance payments are automated (in other words, automatically pulled from your bank account). Some companies reward the reduced risk of late or missing payment with a slight discount.

6. Just Ask

It never hurts to ask if any discounts available to you, especially when it comes to larger expenses like your car insurance. Your car insurance agent or company may have savings to offer that are not widely advertised.

Common discounts that can shed cost from your car insurance include:

Ask your insurer if specific discounts are applicable to your situation.

On the whole, don’t be afraid to verify any potential rate reductions with your insurer before investing your time or money in an effort to get cheaper coverage. The results of these short-term money saving tricks will vary between insurance companies; make sure you know what initiatives will prove most successful for you personally.

Watch a two-minute video to learn how to get better car insurance rates in the long-term.