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Mandated by law in most of the United States, auto insurance is a good idea — whether your state requires it or not. There are simply too many variables at play when you’re sharing the road with a multitude of drivers of varying skill and experience. Throw in inclement weather conditions and just plain bad luck; you’ve got a situation where the odds are in favor of an accident at some point in your driving career. The good news is there are some practical tips for lowering your rates when you compare auto insurance.

1. Drive Safely
Safe drivers pay less for auto insurance. If you have moving violations and/or accidents for which you had to file insurance claims, insurers are going to consider you more of a risk. As a result, they will insist upon being compensated for providing you with coverage accordingly.

2. Get Some Training
A certificate of completion from a defensive driving course will earn you a discount, regardless of your age. Be apprised all courses are not considered equal, so make sure the one you take is one your insurer will accept.

3. Choose Your Car Carefully
Fire-breathing performance cars cost more to insure than plain old family cars. SUVs can be costlier, too. Coupes and convertibles can cost more than sedans. And, of course, the higher the parts and labor costs associated with repairing your car, the more you’ll pay for a policy to cover it.

4. Mind Your Credit Score
Insurers are now pulling credit reports when new applicants request coverage. The logic is if you’re responsible financially, you’re probably responsible socially, Therefore, you’re likely to be an OK risk. Keep your credit high so your car insurance will be affordable, too.

5. Think in Terms of Multiples
If you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy with a company offering auto insurance as well, you’ll generally get a discounted rate for combining them all. If you have more than one car in the household, putting all of them on the same policy will usually result in per-car discounts too.

6. Assume Some of the Risk
If you’re willing to go with a $1000 deductible over a $500 deductible, your premiums will be lower. If you choose lower coverage limits (i.e. the company pays less in the event of a claim) your auto insurance rates will be lower as well.

7. Ask About Discounts
Some insurers offer better rates to members of certain professions or students of certain schools. Others provide favorable rates to members of certain organizations. These "affinity" discounts are out there, but you’ll only find them if you ask.

These are but seven of the many practical tips for lowering your rates when you compare auto insurance. Learn more from CoverHound, where you can find the best coverage for any situation.

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