You may not realize it, but the insurance rates you pay for your car can vary dramatically depending on the insurance company, agent or broker you choose, the coverages you request and the kind of car you drive. Listed below are a number of things you can do right now to lower your insurance costs.

1. COMPARISON SHOP.

Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, so it pays to shop around. To your right you will see our insurance quote form by Progressive. Using this will allow you to compare instantly online insurance quotes from Progressive and up to three other top companies. This will give you an idea of price ranges and tell you which companies or agents have the lowest prices.

The insurer you select should offer both fair prices and excellent service. Quality personal service may cost a bit more, but provides added conveniences, so compare multiple insurers to get a feeling for the quality of their service.

2. ASK FOR HIGHER DEDUCTIBLES.

Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before you make a claim. By requesting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision cost by 15% to 30%.

3. DROP COLLISION AND/OR COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGES ON OLDER CARS.

It may not be cost-effective to have collision or comprehensive coverage's on cars worth less than $1000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual cost and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of cars.

4. ELIMINATE DUPLICATE MEDICAL COVERAGES.

If you have adequate health insurance, you may be paying for duplicate medical coverage in your auto policy. In some states, eliminating this coverage could lower your personal injury protection (PIP) cost by up to 40%.

5. BUY A "LOW PROFILE" CAR.

Before you buy a new or used car, check into insurance costs. Cars that are expensive to repair, or that are a favorite target for thieves, have much higher insurance costs.

6. CONSIDER AREA COST IF YOU ARE MAKING A MOVE.

Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in center cities where there is more traffic congestion.

7. TAKE ADVANTAGE Of LOW MILEAGE DISCOUNTS.

Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive fewer than a predetermined number of miles a year.

8. AUTOMATIC SEAT BELT OR AIR BAG DISCOUNTS.

You may be able to take advantage of discounts on some coverage's if you have automatic seat belts and/or air bags.

9. INQUIRE ABOUT OTHER DISCOUNTS.

Some insurers offer discounts for more than one car, no accidents in three years, drivers over 50 years of age, driver training courses, anti-theft devices, anti-lock brakes and good student grades. Ask your agent about other discounts you might qualify for.