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How to get the cheapest car insurance

Who doesn’t want to save money? CarInsurance.com wants to show you how to get the cheapest car insurance: It’s our business.

The savings are in the details. Car insurance discounts come when you’re different from the average driver. Sometimes it’s your profession, sometimes it’s your grades, and sometimes it’s your long accident-free record.

But sometimes the cheapest car insurance simply means avoiding the most common car insurance pitfalls.

Below you’ll find the five most common questions we get from our readers about finding and keeping affordable car insurance. If you don’t see the answer to your question here, search to see if we have already answered your car insurance question. If not, you can ask your own question.

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What car insurance discounts are available?

The most widespread discounts are:

  • Multi-vehicle: You insure more than one vehicle with the same company.
  • Multi-line: You have homeowners and car insurance through the same company.
  • Auto safety features: You have airbags, anti-lock brakes or stability control in your car.
  • Anti-theft devices: You have a car alarm, VIN-etched windows or GPS recovery system such as Lojack or OnStar.
  • Defensive driver courses: You have recently taken a defensive driver course (only available in certain states).
  • Safe driver: You have not had any accidents, tickets or claims in the last three to five years (depending upon company guidelines).
  • Renewal: You have continuous insurance or renew your policy with the same carrier.

When getting a quote for auto insurance on CarInsurance.com, we automatically include standard vehicle features and ask if your vehicle has any optional vehicle features, making it easy for you to get vehicle discounts and the cheapest car insurance policy.

Not all discounts are available with all auto insurance companies or in all states, and discount eligibility rules can differ.

What auto insurance discounts are available for teens?

There are not many discounts available to teens, so it is particularly important for this group of drivers to shop around to obtain affordable car insurance. The most common discounts for young drivers are:

  • Good student discount: You are a full-time student and maintain a 3.0 (B) grade point average or higher (only available with certain insurance companies).
  • Defensive driving, driver safety or driver’s education: Available in some states if teens take these types of classes.
  • Safe driver: You have not had any accidents, tickets or claims in the last three to five years (depending upon insurance company’s terms).

When buying from CarInsurance.com, if you have young drivers listed we'll ask questions to see if the teens qualify for these types of discounts and apply them automatically if they are available so that you find the cheapest car insurance policy.

Can I take insurance off my car to save money? Will I pay more if I have a lapse in coverage?

Yes, you can take car insurance off your vehicle if you are not going to be driving it. This will of course save you money, but you will have to turn in your plates and registration in most states.

It will be harder to get cheap car insurance with a lapse in coverage. Most insurance carriers will charge you more if you have not had continuous coverage. There are some car insurance companies that require no lapse in coverage to get the more affordable car insurance rates under their preferred or standard driver rating.

When should I take full insurance coverage off my older car to save money?

You should stop carrying full coverage when your deductible and your physical damage coverages premium starts to equal your vehicle's actual cash value.

If you have a $500 deductible and your car's value is $3,000, then the most you can recover in a total loss is $2,500. At this point, you need to decide if it is worth it for you to pay the collision and comprehensive coverage portion of your auto insurance.

If the premium amount still makes economic sense to pay, then you should keep full coverage, if not then to get the cheapest car insurance rates, drop full coverage.

Can I take my child off my policy if he or she moves out or goes off to college?

If your child moves out and no longer uses your vehicles, then you can normally take him or her off of your policy. Your car insurance company may require you to prove that your child lives elsewhere or has an auto insurance policy of his own.

If your child has gone off to college, you may or may not be able to take them off your policy to get cheap car insurance prices; it will depend upon the guidelines of your insurer.

Many car insurance companies will reduce your premiums if your child is going to school more than 100 miles away from your home. If your child was a primary driver on a car, see if your insurer will let you bump him or her down to an occasional driver.

Read more: Save when a teen leaves for college

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