Shopping for the best car insurance? Naturally, along with finding the policy that offers the best coverage, you’re also looking for one that offers the lowest rates.

That said, it’s worth knowing that a lot of factors play into how much you end up paying for coverage, and there are actually proactive steps that you can take to ensure your insurance premiums are as low as possible. Carmudi shows you 10 tips on how to lower the cost of your car insurance.

1. Shop around

Insurance rates vary drastically with each insurance provider, so it pays to obtain more than one rate quote before you commit. In fact, get as many car insurance quotes as you can. You may stumble upon a number that’s half of what one provider is quoting if you shop around thoroughly.

Visiting the physical locations of every different provider on your list can be costly and time consuming. Fortunately, there are car insurance comparison sites like www.ecomparemo.com that allow you to comparison-shop car insurance quotes online. An online car insurance calculator can also help. Use these tools to your advantage as much as you can.

2. Choose a higher deductible

A deductible is the amount you agree to pay out of your own pocket before your policy benefits are applied to a claim. A higher deductible means paying lower monthly auto insurance premiums.

However, the tradeoff is that you’ll be paying more from your own pocket should you figure in an accident, and the more severe the accident is, the larger your expenditure will be. You can keep the risk of a higher car insurance deductible minimal by having enough money set aside to pay for a claim.

3. Drive safely

The way vehicle insurance works is that the longer you drive without incidence, the lower your premium will be. If you are a safe driver, you are entitled to discounts such as a no-claims bonus. With some insurers, one year’s worth of no claims could amount to a 30-percent discount on your premium.

Additionally, if you can go four to five years without major citations or accidents, your discount could add up to as much as 50 percent! And if you choose a higher deductible, you could be looking at a monthly premium that will definitely have little effect on your monthly finances.

4. Take a defensive driving course

Some major insurance carriers provide a discount for those who have completed a defensive driving course from an accredited driving school.

When asking for a quote, make sure to ask about this type of discount before you enroll for a class. This way, you guarantee that the amount you spend for the course translates into regular savings every time you renew your policy.

5. Inquire about low mileage discounts

Many auto insurance companies offer discounts to existing policyholders whose yearly mileage falls way below average. If you use your car sporadically, or if your trips are frequently short, then you might want to check how much mileage you consume in a year.

If it’s below the annual average mileage of all cars, which is 16,894 kilometers, you could score a cheap auto insurance rate with some companies, so be sure to ask about it.

Getting a good car insurance deal

6. Inquire about any other discount

You could qualify for any existing car insurance discount without knowing it, and insurance providers aren’t required to divulge such information. As such, don’t be coy about asking whatever discount you may be eligible for.

Some providers offer discounts to students, citizens, and vehicles that come equipped with certain safety features, such as car alarms, GPS tracking, and anti-theft devices. Always ask for them when you’re shopping.

7. Avoid coverage lapses or gaps

A gap or lapse in insurance coverage refers to any period where you failed to obtain insurance for your car. Reasons for such lapses can range from not paying your premium on time, the cancellation of your policy, or your insurer going out of business. Regardless of why it happened, a lapse in coverage can be used by car insurance companies to increase your premium.

To prevent this from happening, make sure to pay your monthly premium on time, and if you’re switching to another insurance provider, don’t let go of your current one until the new coverage becomes active.

8. Do away with collision and/or comprehensive coverage

If you own an older model car, you may want to opt out of comp and collision coverage. So how you do you know if it’s worth nixing both types of coverage altogether? Add both premiums up, then multiply the amount by 10. If your car’s current market value is worth less than then, then it’s acceptable for you to drop both.

That said, dropping certain types of coverage opens you up to certain risks. After all, you never know when an accident will occur. It can help to speak to financial advisor to know if you are making the right decision for your circumstances.

9. Raise your credit rating

It comes as a huge surprise to a lot of people that credit rating actually plays a part in the monthly premium they end up paying, but it’s true. The reasoning behind this is that many providers believe that people in good financial standing tend to be more careful in other aspects of their life, including the way they drive.

According to financial consultants, you could end up paying as much as 50 percent more if you have a bad credit rating, so keep it good by paying your bills on time.

10. Choose a safer and more secure vehicle

If you’re buying a new car along with your policy, you must choose a car with plenty of built-in safety features such as anti-lock brakes, seatbelts, and airbags.

Likewise, look for a vehicle that has plenty of security features. Such vehicles are statistically less likely to be in an accident or get stolen, that’s why insurers are more willing to provide lower premiums for them.

It can also help to have a garage for your car. Statistics show that vehicles stored in garages are less likely to get stolen than those that are merely parked on the street or driveway.

The bottom line

The cost of car insurance will likely rise with every passing year. Hopefully, the tips above can help you reduce your car insurance payments so you can get the affordable car insurance that you deserve.