Getting a good deal on auto insurance requires a fair amount of shopping around.

There’s a lot of competition in this industry, and prices vary a lot from company to company.

At the same time, there are some factors influencing the cost of auto insurance premiums that you really can’t control, no matter which company you chose.

1. Your age. If you are under 25, you can expect to pay some of the highest premiums for auto insurance. Insurance companies have crunched the numbers and they know that younger and less experienced drivers are simply a higher risk to insure. Since you can’t change your age without committing fraud, look for ways to offset the extra cost with discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounted rates for students with good grades and/or for taking driver’s education classes. If you have two or more cars on the same policy, that could also mean savings.

2. Where you live. Geographic location plays a big role in determining your auto insurance premium. Some states require a higher level of minimum coverage than others, for example. Insurers can also charge you more for living in a more densely populated area. The odds of you having an accident or getting your car stolen in a rural town are simply less than in a city. Unless you plan on moving, there’s not much you can do here.

3. Your driving history. If you’ve had a lot of traffic violations or accidents in the past, that’s a gigantic red flag for insurers. Insurers use past behavior to predict future outcomes, and they charge bad drivers the most. (That’s because you’re more likely to actually file a claim.) The good news is that some insurers will look more at recent history, within the last few years. If you can manage to avoid accidents and traffic violations, your premiums should go down.

If you’re looking for ways to save money on auto insurance despite these mostly fixed factors, consider carrying less insurance or driving a car that is less expensive to insure.

If the value of your car is less than the sum of the premiums plus the deductible, it may not be sensible to carry collision and comprehensive insurance. Dropping that coverage could save you a lot.

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