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10 ways to save money on your car insurance

Published Aug. 25, 2014

Sometimes, consumers don't realize all the discounts they are eligible to receive on their auto insurance. Would you expect a break because your car has daytime running lights? Maybe not, yet four of the top 10 insurers offer a discount for daytime running lights, based on a new survey by Bankrate.com.

Daytime running lights are a fairly common feature now. But "you can't really count on your insurance company to know about the equipment on your car," said Doug Whiteman, an insurance analyst for Bankrate.com.

Here are other ideas for saving money:

1. Watch how many miles you drive in a year.

The Bankrate.com survey noted that eight of 10 major insurers surveyed offer a discount for driving a lower amount of miles every year. But you might need an on-board tracking device.

Insurer USAA said its low-mileage discount would be for fewer than 5,000 miles per year, but the discount varies by age and state. No monitoring is required.

Allstate noted that it rewards drivers in some states for low mileage through its "Drivewise" program. Drivers can choose to install a device to track mileage, hard braking, speed and the time of day.

2. Consider asking an insurer about discounts if you belong to a college alumni group, fraternity, sorority, professional group or credit union. Some discounts apply if you work for a major company, too.

3. Look for discounts for antitheft devices, such as alarm systems.

4. Get a discount for owning a newer vehicle — three years old or newer. But pay attention to the car you buy because some cost more to insure than others.

5. Pay close attention to your credit history.

"Insurance companies believe that the better your overall financial history, the less likely you are to file an insurance claim and the more likely you are to pay your insurance premium payments," said Todd Albery, CEO of Quizzle.com, a provider of free credit reports and scores.

6. Be sure to comparison shop for auto insurance.

7. Look at the Q&A or blog sections online where some auto insurers spell out available discounts.

8. Review your coverage as your car gets older, too. State Farm notes that as a car's value decreases, some consumers consider dropping collision or comprehensive coverage to save money on premiums.

9. Some car insurers offer discounts for paying the premium in full at one time or for having payments automatically made electronically.

10. Take into consideration any discounts you'd receive if you bundle your home owners insurance and car insurance. Or bundle your boat insurance with your car insurance.