3. Ask about discounts: Often times, membership in a professional organization - such as the American Automobile Association - can provide a discount up to 10% of your premiums. Other discounts involve being a homeowner, holding another type of insurance policy with the provider, holding a college degree or even working in a certain profession, such as a teacher or engineer. Discounts reduce your premium without affecting your coverage.

4. Check on accident forgiveness: With some insurers, submitting an accident claim results in higher premiums as you get bumped from a lower-risk group into a higher-risk group. However, some providers offer accident forgiveness. This benefit rewards safe, accident-free drivers; if you've got a clean record for a specified period of time (depends on the policy), your rate won't go up if you're at fault in an accident. Find out if a provider offers accident forgiveness, and if you qualify under their terms -- which usually means having a clean driving record to start with.

5. Research the company: While there's no harm in searching for cheap insurance coverage, it's also a good idea to make sure your insurance provider will be there when you need them. Check with your state's department of insurance ( click here for contact details) to make sure there aren't any major consumer complaints pending. BankingMyWay also has rankings of the 25 best auto insurance providers, ranked by financial strength.

Once you've hit the right balance of low premiums, good coverage and a dependable provider, you'll be all set for some carefree cruising.