10 ways to score a car insurance discount

By Barbara Marquand on March 12th, 2013

Avoiding accidents and traffic tickets, and maintaining good credit will help you keep your car insurance premiums down overall.

But you can also save money with a wide variety of discounts. Availability of discounts vary by insurance company and by state. Here are 12 ways you might be able to trim your car insurance bill.

1. Make your car tough to steal. Some discounts are for factory-installed anti-theft technology, and some are for anti-theft devices you can install yourself. Ask your agent or company representative which devices qualify.

2. Get a degree in science or math. A bachelor's or higher degree in math or science qualifies you for a discount with some insurers.

3. Work in a preferred occupation. People in certain occupations tend to file fewer car insurance claims than others. Among those who qualify for occupational discounts with some insurers: registered nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers, police officers and firefighters.

4. Take a defensive driving course. Drivers over 55 who take a defensive driving course can often earn a discount, and some companies offer the deal for drivers of any age.

5. Pay in full. You can often save money by paying upfront for the policy period, versus paying in monthly installments.

6. Drive less, and drive better. A growing number of insurance companies offer pay-as-you-drive, or usage-based insurance programs, which reward you with lower rates for driving fewer miles and driving safely.

7. Make your kid hit the books. Most insurance companies offer a discount for high school and college students who earn at least a B average in school.

8. Send the kid away to college. If your kid goes away to college without taking a car, then you could get a big break on your car insurance bill. You should still keep him on the policy so he has coverage at home, but check if your insurer offers an away-at-school discount.

9. Drive a safe car. Some insurers give discounts for certain safety features, such as daytime running lights, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and air bags.

10. Belong to a partner organization. Ask if your insurer gives discounts to alumni groups, professional associations or other groups to which you belong. Some insurers also offer discounts to certain employers.

11. Bundle home and car insurance policies. You can save money by buying both home and car insurance from the same company.

12. Insure more than one car on the same policy. Many insurers offer multi-car discounts.

Your insurer might not offer every one of these discounts, but chances are it will offer some of them. Ask your agent about discounts available where you live and how you can qualify.

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