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Understanding Auto Insurance Discounts

W.C. Fields once said, Never give a sucker an even break."He may as well have been addressing the purchasing of auto insurance, since insurance companies show a unique talent for sniffing out suckers. And they're not bending over backwards to give anyone a break. The higher your premium, the more money your insurance company rakes in. It's up to you, as an educated consumer, to seek out the myriad insurance discounts that are out there waiting for you. Read our car insurance tips to learn how you can get discounts on auto insurance.

Here are some of the more common (and uncommon) discounts available to the smart insurance shopper. Bear in mind that not every company offers each one of these breaks; but if it's a commonly offered discount, you should be able to find it. �It really varies by company,"said Dave Heim, insurance agent for American Family Insurance. �The rule of thumb used to be that companies that gave discounts had higher rates. Now it's a matter of competition - if a large company offers a discount, others tend to follow suit."

Let the breaks begin:

Good credit discount: Why is it that people with poor credit records make for reckless drivers? It's not logical, and there's no socio-economic theory to back it up. But credit facts are insurance facts: If you have a good credit record, you may be eligible for a discount.

Multiple policy discounts: The more policies you have with one company, the merrier your insurance agent will be. Discounts await you if you have your homeowners, auto and umbrella liability policies through one company.

Safety-features: There is safety in numbers, so it stands to reason that the more safety devices you have in your car, the lower the chances that you'll be seriously injured in an accident. That's why you can get discounts by equipping your car with safety features, like airbags and anti-lock breaks.

Anti-theft Devices: Theft is a big pain, not only for you the consumer, but also for your claims-paying insurer. Equip your car with a car alarm, steering wheel lock, and whatever else that will help deter the bad guys.

Multi-car Discounts: Your insurance agent loves multiple policies; he also loves multiple cars on one policy. Save money by insuring all your vehicles with one agent or company.

Senior Adult Discounts: Turning grey can save you some green. Several companies offer discounts for drivers over 50 years of age, sometimes to the tune of 20 percent.

Driver Training and Defensive Driving Courses: Considering how much money companies put into training employees, this comes as no surprise. If you get trained on how to avoid accidents, you'll be less of a risk than the untrained masses and eligible for yet another discount.

Restricted Mileage/Car Pool: A little driving can go a long way toward earning you a discount. If you participate in a car pool, or if you drive your car a minimal amount (generally under 7,500 miles per year), you have good chances to get cheap car insurance.

Non-smokers: Believe it or not, it's true. Apparently there have been enough accidents caused by distracted smokers stubbing out their cigarettes to save you money if you're smoke-free. Avoid the cigarette break to get an auto insurance premium break.

Farm or rural discounts: Since there's less traffic in the boondocks, there's less of a premium to pay. Just make sure you break for wayward livestock.

Occupational discounts: Engineers, scientists, teachers, and members of the armed forces can find discounts from various companies.

Shop online: Insurance companies love it when you buy direct over the Internet. This tends to work best if you know exactly what you want. It comes down to service,"Heim said. When you buy direct, you can't go into an office and talk to a person. That's why you get the discount."

These are some of the more pervasive auto insurance discounts on the market. Now that you've got your list, start shopping online to get instant auto insurance quotes and rates. Ask for all these discounts and anything else that a company has to offer. With this list in hand, you can avoid any bills being sucked out of your wallet.

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