Insurance costs are a big part of the monthly budget in many households, and like most things, the prices seem to keep going up. There are often ways to reduce your insurance costs and many consumers just aren‘t aware of the discounts or money-saving tools available to them.

Safer driving pays dividends
We had to say it. Your driving record affects your premiums. Accidents, parking lot mishaps, and traffic violations can lead to higher premiums. However, insurers realize that one accident doesn‘t define a person and any changes in premium don‘t last forever.

Adjust coverage on older cars
If you have a newer car, it‘s likely that you‘ll want full coverage, including collision and comprehensive coverage. However, cars depreciate rapidly and if you‘re driving a car that‘s older, the collision coverage might not pay much if the car is a total loss.

When determining whether to repair a vehicle, insurers compare the cost of the repair to the depreciated value of the vehicle. If the two are close, the car is usually totaled. Even a small fender bender might be enough to total an older car – and after the deductible, the insurance payout might not be much. Talk to your broker and decide if your older vehicle still needs full coverage or if that money is better spent beefing up your liability coverage.

Combine coverage with one insurer
Many insurers provide multi-car discounts as well as discounts for combining auto and home insurance – and, yes, home insurance usually includes renters insurance. Ask your broker about multi-car or multi-policy discounts that can reduce your overall cost of insurance. As a bonus, you might end up with one less bill in your mailbox when you combine coverage.

Is your car a hot theft target?
Most cars that are stolen are never found – or require so many repairs when they are found that you might wish they were never found. Cars that are more common theft targets cost more to insure. Check the insurance costs before you sign the bottom line.

Consider a higher deductible
The deductible is the part of an insurance claim that you pay. In a way, by choosing a higher deductible you‘re self-insuring up to the deductible amount. In effect, you‘ll cover the small claims – up to your deductible amount – and the insurer will cover the big claims. Ask your broker about the difference in cost. Many times, it may make sense to choose a higher deductible and put the monthly savings into a just-in-case fund. If you never use your savings, congratulations. You win! And you get to keep the money you saved.