With the country mired in a deep recession, car dealers are offering some significant deals to try and get you into their vehicles. But while you may end up being able to purchase a car for less money, many of the expenses involved in owning a car are just as steep as ever. And there’s no getting around needing car insurance. The trick is finding every possible way to trim down your insurance premium and keep those dollars in your pocket. Some of those tricks come down to being the best driver you can be. Others are simple bookkeeping choices. But when you put all of those tips and tricks together, you will save money on your car insurance.

The first tip takes a good deal of forethought, but consider insurance when you’re buying your next car. Every make and model vehicle comes with a different insurance rate, and it’s up to you to know what sort of premium you are taking on before you decide to buy. Cars that require expensive upkeep, that don’t have particularly high quality safety features or are frequently stolen will all be more expensive to insure. On top of that, each insurance company has their own pricing for each type of car, based on their prior experience with policyholders. You’ll have to check in with several different insurance companies to decide if you can afford to insure the car you have in mind.

Next, make sure you take advantage of all the tiny discounts insurance companies offer that can build to be significant over time. If possible, buy your car insurance and home insurance from the same company, as they’ll offer you a customer discount for doing so. Check into discounts for being a safe driver as well. If you haven’t had an accident in several years or have a clean driving record you’ll get money off your premium. And if you’re still in school, try to maintain a grade point average that’s a solid ‘B’ or better. Many companies offer discounts for good students. Finally, skip the monthly payment plan and pay off your policy in a lump sum. You’ll avoid the monthly fees they tack on to each month, and save in the long run.

Consider other ways to minimize your vehicle’s exposure to danger, and you’ll save on insurance. If at all possible park your car in the garage instead of in your driveway or on the street. The vehicle is less likely to be damaged by the elements or stolen, and that will keep your premium low. If you buy your vehicle new, have it equipped with safety features that impact your insurance rate. Any installed anti-theft device or quality safety feature could lower your premium each and every month.

Finally, save money on your car insurance by simply driving less. This helps in two ways. If you can avoid using your car to drive to and from work and commute with public transportation instead you might be able to keep your car at a lower yearly mileage. Insurance companies set a minimum mileage rate, and if you fall below that your car could be considered a part-time vehicle. They’ll trim down your insurance rate significantly if you can maintain that low mileage. And if you drive less, you are far less likely to get in a car accident or have your car stolen. It won’t show up in any online insurance quote comparison, but accidents and thefts will send your insurance premiums skyrocketing upwards. A little bit of inconvenience that could prevent that sort of major headache will always be worth the effort.