How to save big money on auto insurance

Are you paying too much for auto insurance? No, I'm not Flo and I'm not the gecko, but I've got a lot of ideas on how you can save big money.

Drivers overpay for auto insurance by as much as $368. That's a lot of money and it's totally unnecessary if you shop around -- and that means getting quotes from several different insurers. There are dozens of discounts, but you have to know to ask for them and you have to be proactive in asking for them. Nobody is going to offer them to you. Put these things on your list:

Homeownership: Homeowners are thought to be more responsible; they get discounts.

If you take a defensive-driving course you can qualify for a discount. If you're in school or you have a student-age driver in your house ask about the good student discount. Safe professions may qualify you for a discount. I'm talking about things like teachers, nurses, accountants.

See if the company you work for or any associations you belong to like AAA or AARP qualify you for a discount. Bundling is big. If you've got multiple cars or a house and a car that you can put on a policy with the same insurer, that qualifies you for a substantial discount.

Ask your current carrier if they offer longevity discounts for longtime customers. Loyalty pays.

There are safety discounts for things like antilock brakes or safety systems that you put in your cars.

Finally, you want to keep in mind that your behavior impacts the amount of money that you are paying. If you get tickets, if you are in multiple accidents and file claims, that's going to increase the amount of money that you are paying. The other more surprising thing to keep in mind is your credit score. If your credit score drops you can end up paying more for not only your auto insurance policy but your homeowners insurance, as well.

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