How to check if your car insurance payment is too much

Car insurance can be expensive but you may be able to reduce your rates. Follow these five steps to make sure you aren't paying too much for car insurance. (iStock)

Car insurance is both required by law and intended to protect you from catastrophic financial loss. But while you need auto insurance, you don't want to pay too much for your policy.

The good news is, by following these five tips, you can ensure that you're getting the most affordable car insurance coverage possible for your situation. This can help you start saving money on your car-related expenses and leave you with more cash in your pocket.

  1. Shop around and get rate quotes at least once a year
  2. Make sure you're taking advantage of any available insurance discount
  3. Bundle your insurance coverage
  4. Keep your insurer updated about any changes
  5. Drop coverage you no longer need

Car insurance rates vary based on a variety of factors — from your credit score to driving records. Use Credible's free tools to shop around and get a lower car insurance premium today.

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1. Shop around and get rate quotes at least once a year

Different car insurance companies charge different amounts for the same coverage. To make sure your auto insurance premiums are still competitive, it's a good idea to compare quotes from several insurers at least once each year, or as often as every few months.

If you compare insurance quotes regularly, you can make a switch if necessary in order to save on your coverage for the year. You can also make sure you get the perfect policy for your needs. The easiest way to compare auto insurance costs is to visit Credible and get a free quote from its insurance partners within two minutes or less.

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2. Make sure you're taking advantage of any available insurance discount

Most insurers offer discounts for membership in organizations, clean driving records, good grades for students, safety features in your vehicle and numerous other things.

Make sure you're signed up for all the discounts you're eligible for -- either with your current insurer or one you're considering switching to. A simple phone call to the insurer to go over discount options could potentially save you hundreds of dollars per year.

3. Bundle your insurance coverage

If you have multiple types of insurance coverage, check to see if you've bundled your policies and are saving money as a result.

Buying multiple policies from the same insurer usually comes with substantial savings. If you haven't combined your coverage, there's a very good chance that you are paying too much for your policy.

4. Keep your insurer updated about any changes

Life changes such as moving, getting married or commuting less often can change your insurance premiums -- sometimes dropping them substantially. If you drive your car less than you did when you signed up for auto coverage, have moved to a safer area or have gotten married, there's a good chance your current car insurance premium is higher than it needs to be if you didn't let your insurer know about the change.

Reach out to your insurance company as soon as possible to find out how your changed circumstances impact your rate. A major life change is also a good opportunity to shop around for insurance by visiting Credible to obtain auto insurance quotes from different companies. You may find a different insurer is now offering a cheaper policy for people with your current needs.

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5. Drop coverage you no longer need

Sometimes, circumstances change and you don't end up requiring all the auto coverage you are currently paying for. For example, if your car gets really old and isn't worth much, it may no longer make sense to maintain comprehensive coverage or collision coverage on the vehicle. If you're paying for coverage that no longer provides sufficient value, you're overpaying and should drop it.

Read over the terms of your policy carefully to find out exactly what losses you're protected against. If you see any type of coverage that you don't need, ask to have it dropped and your premiums reduced.

By shopping around for insurance with Credible, making sure you have only the coverage you actually need and taking advantage of any discounts that are available to you, you should be able to ensure that you aren't paying more money than you have to for your car insurance policy.

Already have good car insurance but want to make sure you are alerted when you can get a better deal? Credible’s partners can send you free quotes if they find you better car insurance rates. All you need to do is get started here.

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Have a finance-related question, but don't know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at moneyexpert@credible.com and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.