Finding the best car insurance from an affordable company is only half the battle when you’re seeking the most savings for an absolutely essential part of daily commuting. There are several different strategies for lowering your insurance premiums that drivers often miss because they don’t bother questioning the quoted price from their sales rep.

Here are our top five ways for saving money on your car insurance:

1. Same Protection, Different Prices

Check with your insurance company to determine if the current or default protection plan you have is absolutely necessary in terms of coverage. There may be some situations that will never come up during your time as a driver and you could save money by removing those protections from your contract.

Also, feel free to shop around with competing insurance companies to see if one offers the same amount of protection while charging you less. You’d be surprise at the number of companies offering similar car insurance plans for lower premiums. When it’s time to renew your contract, do not make it an automatic decision even if you’ve never been in an accident. You should shop regularly for competing insurance plans to find a cheaper rate.

Just like with your bank, they’re not likely to tell you that you could be saving money by altering your plan. You have to be proactive and ask about discounts and checking out what the other guys are offering.

2. Fight Accidents

It’s common knowledge that your insurance premiums go up when you’ve been in an accident. However, depending on who was at fault for the accident, you could be locked into a higher rate for potentially the next several years. Always speak with your insurance adjuster about the next round of premiums after an accident no matter how minor and stress that you were in no way at fault.

A clean driving record with no accidents will always get you the best rate for car insurance. A clean driving record with only a few minor accidents in which you were not at fault is the next best thing. Some insurance companies also offer a forgiveness clause that does not take into account your first “at fault” accident. This generally comes at a higher initial policy cost but could be an additional form of protection against several years’ worth of increased premiums when you get blamed for an accident.

3. Review Possible Discounts

Insurance companies often assume your life has not changed from the time you sign the contract to the time you renew it. Depending on what exactly has changed in your life from the number of vehicles you own to your age, you could be eligible for special discounts that insurance companies conveniently overlook. Ask your sales rep to see a list of possible discounts and review them thoroughly to make sure your insurance premiums are not higher than they should be for your situation. These benefits do not automatically get applied to your contract even if you qualify so it’s always a good idea to check often.

4. Your Vehicle’s Make/Model

For new drivers or those looking for an upgrade, the make and model of your vehicle may have the wrong influence on your car insurance. Certain vehicles are known to be popular for certain age groups and since younger people are more prone to accidents, there could be additional charges for insuring your vehicle. Car thieves are also known to target certain vehicles more than others so you can expect additional charges for those types of situations as well.

Purchasing aftermarket modifications or deterrents such as immobilizers could snag you a nice discount for your insurance premiums if you make the effort. It may cost you more money immediately, but this could potentially save you more in the long haul.

5. Combining Insurance

A common strategy, combining your car insurance with your homeowner’s insurance can save you money on both as long as you’re willing to buy them from the same company. Instead of paying multiple companies for different types of insurance, consolidating everything into one convenient payment makes premiums a little less pricey.

Additional protections for both your vehicle and home are quite common with combination plans like increased home security or theft recovery. Some insurance companies even allow one deductible payment for both your home and car if you’re buying from the same company. However, this could potentially lock you into a higher costing policy with no option to shop around.

So there you have five great ways to save some money on your car insurance. Perhaps one or more of these will apply to your situation. Be smart when it comes to the choices you make and you can save yourself hundreds of dollars every year.