You may not realize it, but the insurance rates you pay for your car can vary dramatically depending on the insurance company, agent or broker you choose, the coverages you request and the kind of car you drive. Listed below are a number of things you can do right now to lower your insurance costs. 

1.  Ask for Higher Deductibles. 

Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before you make a claim. By requesting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive cost by 15% to 30%.

2. Drop Collision and/or Comprehensive Coverages on Older Cars. 

It may not be cost effective to have collision or comprehensive coverages on cars worth less than $1,000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual cost and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars. 

3. Buy a "Low Profile" Car. 

Before you buy new or used car, check into insurance costs. Cars that are expensive to repair, or that are a favorite target for thieves, have much higher insurance costs. Write to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201 and ask for the Highway Loss Data Chart.

4. Take Advantage of Low Mileage Discounts. 

Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive less than a predetermined number of miles a year.

5. Consider Insurance Cost When Making a Move.

Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in center cities where there is more traffic congestion.

6. Find out about Automatic Seat Belt or Air Bag Discounts. 

You may be able to take advantage of discounts on some coverages if you have automatic seat belts and/or air bags.

7. Ask about Anti-lock Brakes.

Anti-lock brakes improve steering control and stability when a car is brought to a stop, thus reducing accidents. Some states, including Florida, New Jersey and New York, require insurers to give discounts for cars equipped with the brakes and some insurers have a nationwide discount in place.

8. Additional discounts

Many times there are additional discounts that are not readily apparent to you or even the insurance counselor your are talking to. These can include teenage driver academic records, distant student discount, driver training courses, car pool discount and a host of others. Any factor of your life style that affects the distance you drive, the manner you drive and your general lifestyle has the potential to give you a discount on your auto insurance premiums.