Car insurance is a necessary expense, but for many vehicle owners, it’s also a source of financial strain. So how can you strike a balance? The good news is that there is no single standard for car insurance rates, and that leaves a lot of room for negotiation and cost-cutting. These five proven strategies can make quality car insurance more affordable for every household – just watch your rates drop.

Assess What You Own

One of the most common mistakes people make when buying car insurance is selecting a plan and then never changing it; they take a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to insurance. This can backfire, however, because older cars typically don’t require as much insurance. If your car is older and paid off, would you really repair it after a major accident? It’s often best to just eliminate collision coverage on older vehicles because otherwise, you’re paying to protect a car that’s on the verge of being replaced anyway.

Combine Your Plans

Insurance companies love loyal customers, and most offer a variety of plans. To get a better deal, then, consider moving your home and car insurance to the same company. Such combined plans come with a bulk insurance rate that will save you money overall. The only caveat is that typically all drivers must live at the address of the home insured on the plan, so if you share your car with a non-resident relative, you may not qualify.

Find A Discount Plan

Choosing an insurance plan can be overwhelming because there are so many plans and companies to choose from. Despite all these options, though, most of the time you’re paying for the name of the plan, not the quality of the coverage. To minimize your costs, get a quote from a discount insurance company instead of from a high profile insurance brand. Ultimately, the coverage will function in the same way.

Mind Your Credit Score

It may come as a surprise, but having a bad credit score can increase your car insurance rate. Why is that? Insurance companies use what they term a credit-based insurance score (CBIS) to determine whether an individual is risky to insure. Those with lower credit scores are considered more likely to file a claim than those with better credit. It’s a logical association, as you’ll need more help managing car repairs if you don’t have the money to pay your bills.

Learn About Discounts

In addition to cut-rate insurance plans, many companies also provide specific ways to earn a discount. For example, student drivers with good grades often qualify for lower rates, as do drivers who have taken defensive driving courses, people who drive cars equipped with certain types of safety and anti-theft equipment, and even members of certain affinity groups. Anything you can do to prove that you’re a low risk proposition and demonstrate your responsibility as a driver can act as leverage towards a more affordable insurance plan.

Putting yourself in debt to insure your car won’t do you any good and can leave you riding the bus down the road. By better identifying your coverage needs and establishing yourself as a responsible driver, then, you can find a plan that meets your needs without exceeding your budget.

You can cut your costs and still drive with confidence.