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Auto Insurance

Shopping for auto insurance? The price you pay for your auto insurance can vary by hundreds of dollars, depending on your driving record, the type of car you have and the insurance company you buy your policy from. Here is a list of things you can do to save money.

  » Shop Around
Get at least three price quotes. You can call companies directly or access information on the Internet. Your state insurance department .

Get quotes from different types of insurance companies. Some sell through their own agents. Some sell through independent agents who offer policies from several insurance companies. Other companies sell directly to consumers over the phone or via the Internet. The price may vary depending on the sales method.

But don't shop by price alone. You want a company that answers your questions and handles claims fairly and efficiently. Sources for finding the right kind of company include: word of mouth, i.e. friends, relatives, co-workers; your state insurance department, where you can find consumer complaint ratios by company; and consumer magazines. You can also check the financial health of insurance companies through independent rating companies.

  » Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs
Your premium is based in part on the car's sticker price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record and the likelihood of theft. Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries or theft, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights and anti-theft devices.

For more information on car safety, check the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Cars that are favorite targets for thieves cost more to insure. For more information on car theft, check the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

  » Ask for a higher deductable
Your deductible is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance policy kicks in. By requesting higher deductibles, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage premium by 15 to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40 percent or more. However, keep in mind that you'll need to have the amount of the deductible on hand should something happen to your car.