Car insurance is a necessary expense for drivers, but those premiums can really add up over time. The good news is there are a number of tactics you can use to reduce how much you pay for coverage. Consumer Reports recently examined ways consumers can potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year on their auto insurance bills. Here are the top tips from their analysis:

  1. Increase Your Deductible Raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000 could lower your annual premium by 20-25% on average. Just make sure you have enough cash on hand to cover the higher deductible if you do need to file a claim.
  2. Drop Comprehensive & Collision Coverage on Older Cars
    For vehicles over 5-6 years old with lower market values, it may not make sense to continue paying for comprehensive and collision coverage. Drop those and just keep liability insurance.
  3. Take a Defensive Driving Course Many insurers provide discounts if you complete an approved defensive driving class every few years. The courses are inexpensive and can save you over $200 per year.
  4. Report Low Annual Mileage If you drive under 10,000 miles per year, inform your insurer as you may qualify for lower rates based on less time on the road.
  5. Bundle Policies
    Insurers often provide discounts for bundling auto insurance with a homeowners or renters policy. The savings can be over $300 annually.
  6. Pay Minor Damage Out-of-Pocket For a minor fender bender involving just your vehicle, it may be cheaper to cover the repairs yourself rather than filing a claim that could lead to higher rates down the road.
  7. Use an Independent Insurance Agent Independent agents can compare rates across multiple insurers to find you the best possible deal, saving you potentially hundreds per year.
  8. Consider a Dividend Policy
    With a dividend or “mutual” policy, you have a stake in the insurance company’s profits and may receive dividend payments annually to offset premiums.
  9. Sign Up for Usage-Based Insurance Many companies now offer discounts if you allow them to monitor your driving habits through a smartphone app or vehicle telematic device. Safe drivers can save up to $800 per year.

Of course, it’s also wise to shop around and get new quotes from different insurers every year or two, as rates can change significantly. Consumer Reports found that those who switch insurance providers tend to save money and have higher satisfaction.

You can check out the full Consumer Reports article for more details on each of these car insurance savings strategies: