These days, many people are looking to save money in any way they can.   One easy way to cut costs is to lower your insurance premiums.  Here are 10 simple tips to keep in mind for lowering your insurance premiums.

1.  Raise your Deductible 

This is perhaps the simplest way to decrease your premium.  The premium is your monthly cost for your insurance, while your deductible is the amount of money you must pay before the insurance company will pay anything.  Insurance companies charge lower premiums for higher deductibles.  In the long run, you will save more money in lower premium costs if you simply set aside some cash to pay the higher deductible if an accident does happen.

2.  Keep Your Credit Score Above 660

In many states, insurance companies will check your credit score to determine the premium for homeowners and auto policies.  Their theory for doing this is quite simple:  people with good financial management tend to have fewer insurance claims.  Raising your credit score can easily save you fifteen to twenty percent on insurance premiums.  If your credit score has been affected by identity theft or your credit score is incorrect, report it immediately to your insurance agent; a simple phone call may lower your insurance premiums, or perhaps prevent them from going up.

3.   Visit an Insurance Broker Not an Insurance Agent

An insurance agent is someone who works for just one insurance company, while an insurance broker is someone who works with many insurance companies.  They are also well-versed in specialty insurance companies which cater to people who have a specific lifestyle or heath issue.  An insurance broker has the ability to look at your unique situation and determine which company or combination of plans can get you the best deal for your money.  Keep in mind, they do cost a bit more in the beginning, but in the long run, it may be well worth the extra up-front cost.

4.  Negotiate

Most people don’t realize you can actually negotiate lower insurance premiums.  In fact, there are many discounts you can get just by asking for them.  Inform your insurance agent of any safety features and anti-theft features you have on your car and in your house.  Also, you’ll want to shop around to different insurance agencies to see if you are getting the best deal.

5.  Buy All of Your Insurance From One Insurance Company

Many insurance companies will give discounts on your insurance if you use them to service all of your insurance needs.  If possible, get your homeowners, renters and car insurance from the same place.

6.  Use the Insurance Company as a Bank

Many insurance companies also have a banking branch as well.  In addition to giving discounts to people who purchase all of their insurance from one company, many will also offer a discount if you use their banking bill pay service to pay your premiums.  If you have a credit card, you might consider transferring your balance to a card held by your insurance company as this can also give you a discount on your premiums.

7.  Avoid Driving 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles

While most people purchase 4-wheel drive vehicles to feel “safer” when the roads are bad, most insurance companies view them differently:  in their eyes, the driver of a 4-wheel drive vehicle is more likely to take it off-road and be in an accident.  This is especially true for teen drivers, so if you need to insure a car for a teenager, giving them the old SUV instead of buying them a used car might not be such a good idea:  the money you save by not buying a car will be lost in higher premiums.

8.  Take a Driver’s Education Course Every Year

Insurance companies give lower premiums to safe drivers.  Even if you don’t have any accidents on your record, you can usually save ten percent on your premiums each year by taking a driver’s education course.  This is especially true for people under 25 and those over 60.  These courses usually last only a day and many are given on weekends to accommodate busy people.  The savings in premiums will easily cover the cost of the course — with some left over.

9.  Drive a Fuel Efficient Car

Many insurance companies will give a discount to “green” vehicles such as hybrids or all electric cars.  If you are considering buying one of these vehicles, consider talking to your insurance agent to see which one car will cost you the least in monthly insurance premiums.

10.  Disaster-Proof Your Home

Storm shutters and stronger roofing materials can help you save on homeowners insurance premiums.  If you have an older home, you might want to consider modernizing the electrical and plumbing systems to reduce the risk of fire and water damage.  Also, if you live in earthquake regions, you might consider retrofitting your older home to make it better able to resist damage from earthquakes.