Car insurance discounts: multiple policies, hybrids & more © Creatas/Picturequest

The Basics

7 ways to cut car insurance costs

Don't pay sticker price for your vehicle coverage. Discounts are available for a variety of reasons, and you don't need a stellar driving record for most of them.

By U.S. News & World Report

Car insurance can be expensive, with premiums averaging well over $1,500 in many states. However, there are ways to lower your car insurance bill, and all you have to do is ask.

Discounts have been around forever and are a big part of many advertising campaigns. But the responsibility is on individual drivers to make sure a policy includes all the eligible discounts. Applications are often handled by inexperienced customer service reps, so it's important for consumers to speak up and ask about specific discounts.

So what are the top car insurance discounts?

Multiple-policy and multiple-vehicle discounts

Consumers who have multiple policies with the same insurance company often land discounts of 10% or more on auto insurance. Qualified policies can include a homeowners' insurance policy, a second car insurance policy or even health or life insurance, depending on the provider.

Low-mileage discounts

The low-mileage discount is probably the best-kept secret in the car insurance industry, and it's not offered by all providers. But it's worth checking on. If your insurance company does offer this discount, it can exceed 40%, especially if you work from home or take public transportation to work.

Good-driver discounts

Car insurance companies want drivers who are low risks, so if your driving record remains clean for three years, most insurers will reward you with a small discount.

Discounts for vehicle safety features

When you're shopping for a vehicle, always look at the safety features. Factory-installed features such as anti-lock brakes and airbags almost always lower the cost of your car insurance. A good place to research vehicle safety ratings and features is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website.

Affinity-group discounts

Many employers and organizations have agreements with insurers to provide member discounts. If you pay dues to any organization or have a human resources department, inquire about possible car insurance discounts.

Hybrid-vehicle discounts

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If you own a hybrid, not only are you saving on fuel and contributing to a greener planet, you also may be eligible for an insurance discount. For example, insurance giant Travelers offers the Hybrid Travelers Policy, which provides a discount of up to 10%.

With knowledge on your side, it is possible to cut your car insurance premiums by 20% or more simply by taking advantage of available discounts.

This article was reported by Alan Dunn for U.S. News & World Report.

Published Dec. 16, 2010

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