Car insurance coverage rules and requirements vary by state, but consumer preferences don’t: everyone wants to pay the lowest possible car insurance premiums. If you’re looking for the lowest car insurance rates ask about whether you qualify for discounts and shop around from one auto insurance company to another since the quotes will vary. In addition, you should look into the rules established by your state insurance commission.

Do you have safety features such as airbags, good driver status or multiple cars? If so, you can get discounts from most Pennsylvania car insurance companies for those items and more. In New York State, as in Pennsylvania, drivers are required to have no-fault car insurance and liability auto insurance, but they are also required to have uninsured motorist insurance. Also unlike Pennsylvania, New York State requires auto insurance companies to offer you a discount if you have the following safety features on your car: daytime running lights, automatic seat belts, automatic air bags and/or an anti-lock braking system.

New York State also requires car insurance companies to provide a 10 percent discount on premiums for auto liability and collision insurance for three years when drivers complete an accident prevention course through the “Point and Insurance Reduction Program.”

No matter where you live, these eight steps can help you reduce your car insurance costs:

  1. Be a safe driver. The best thing you can do to keep your car insurance costs low is to drive carefully, avoid getting a ticket for a moving violation and especially avoid accidents. Not only will your rates be lower at first, many car insurance companies offer discounts after a certain period of time without a claim.
  2. Check for a renewal discount or a sign-up discount. Some car insurance providers offer a bonus to customers who are renewing their coverage; others offer a reduction in the rate for new customers.
  3. Choose your car carefully. Your car insurance premium is based on a variety of factors, one of which is the car you drive. Cars that are more likely to be stolen or are more costly to repair or are more likely to incur a lot of damage in an accident will require higher car insurance premiums. You can ask an insurance agent to advise you if you’re choosing between several makes and models.
  4. Bundle your insurance policies. Most car insurance companies provide a discount of five to ten percent on your car insurance premiums if you also have renters’ or homeowners’ insurance with the same company. You’ll get a discount on your homeowners’ insurance policy, too. Make sure you’re bundling all the cars in your household on one policy, too, because you’ll get a discount for having several cars covered together.
  5. Improve your credit score. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), people who have a lower credit score are statistically more likely to file a claim. Your credit score is an indicator of how you handle your finances so insurance companies will check it and could price your car insurance higher if your score is low. While insurance companies in New York and Pennsylvania can use your credit score as part of your application, you cannot be rejected for a policy solely based on your score.
  6. Check out the list of discounts. Car insurance companies give discounts for a variety of seemingly unrelated factors such as a young driver being a good student, an older person being a member of AARP or AAA, or being an alumni of a particular school or employed by a specific company.
  7. Invest in extra safety features. Some car insurance companies will give you a discount if you have some of the newer safety features on your car such as a reverse monitoring system or a blind spot warning system.
  8. Increase your deductible. Other than being a safe driver, one of the best ways to reduce your car insurance costs is to raise your deductible. III’s website states says, “Increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage cost by 15 to 30 percent. Going to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40 percent or more.”

But be careful: if you make a claim, you must pay that deductible out of pocket. If you’re short on emergency funds and charge the fee you could end up with a credit card bill that far outweighs the savings you garnered by raising your deductible.

Comparing car insurance quotes from several insurance providers can save significantly on your car insurance bills.