Unlike many "Best of" lists, this one can actually help you save money in 2009 by helping you get the best car insurance rate.

Drive carefully

Drivers with no accidents, tickets or insurance claims almost always pay less for their auto insurance coverage. Your driving record is a key factor in determining your insurance rate. Tickets and at-fault accidents affect your insurance rates for years. Did you know that tickets affect your insurance rates for up to three years and accidents stay on your record for at least six? With a less than perfect driving record, you can find yourself paying much higher insurance premiums over the years.

If you can, don't drive to work.

Sure not everyone can do this, but if you can, take public transit to work because insurance rates are generally higher for people who commute to work. Not only will you save on parking and gas, but taking transit will help you get lower car insurance premiums too.

Make sure all your cars are on the same policy

Most insurance companies offer a "Multi-vehicle discount" for customers who insure more than one car on the same policy. This can add up to a discount of up to 10 per cent off both cars.

Insure both your car and home with the same company

Again, this may qualify you for a discount called the "Multi-line discount". Most companies offer this savings as an incentive to get your home insurance business too. It's a great way to get usually another five per cent off your premiums.

Have an anti-theft device installed in your car

Vehicle theft is big business in Canada and if you take measures to ensure your car less likely to be stolen, then some insurance companies will offer an "Anti-theft discount" if certain anti-theft devices are installed. Check to see if your company offers this discount and then see if the price of the device is worth the added savings over the years. If you already have an approved, factory-installed alarm in your car, insurance companies will take this into account when determining your rate.

Ask about other discounts you might be able to get

Other than the multi-vehicle, multi-line and anti-theft discounts, additional common discounts include the:

  • Age discount: A discount on your insurance as you pass certain age milestones. If available, the qualifying age differs from insurer to insurer.
  • Low mileage discount: Available if your vehicle is not driven often.
  • Occupational discount: Offered if you work in a certain field or hold a certain degree.
  • Auto club discount: Available if you are a member of an auto club, like CAA.
  • Winter tire discount: Some insurers may offer a discount if all four tires on your vehicle are changed seasonally, so that in the winter the vehicle is equipped with tires designed specifically for driving on ice and snow.
While the availability of discounts will vary depending on your insurer, where you live and whether you meet the eligibility requirements, asking about them could save you significant money.

Increase your deductibles

A deductible is the amount of a claim that you must cover before your insurer pays the rest. Often people select lower deductibles, so their out-of-pocket expenses are minimal at the time of a claim. But the truth is, the higher your collision and comprehensive deductibles the lower your auto insurance premium. So why not minimize your out-of-pocket expense now rather than in the case of a "what if"? If you can afford a $1000 repair job, then raise your deductibles to $1000 and pay less for your insurance.

Older car? Think about dropping your collision coverage

If you have an older car, you may want to think about dropping the collision coverage on your policy. You need to think about this one though - it's not always a clear-cut decision. You need to weigh the cost of the collision coverage with the value of your car and your chosen deductibles. For example, if you had a 10-year-old car worth about $1000, and your deductible was $1000, that collision coverage isn't going to help you much.

Don't believe the myths about auto insurance premiums.

Auto insurance premiums across insurance companies ARE NOT the same. What you are paying now with your current insurer IS NOT the same as what you would get with another. In fact, each insurer's car insurance rates are so unique to them that it's pretty safe to say that no two are alike.

Learn more about car insurance myths. Read: Common myths about auto insurance

Shop around.

Shopping around for auto insurance is not just for drivers with tickets and accidents. Even with a conviction-free driving record, you may be paying way too much for car insurance because auto insurance rates vary wildly between companies, all for the same coverage.

Compare car insurance quotes to see if you could save money on your auto insurance premiums.

Looking for more ways to save?

Check out the following articles for tips and information

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