Car insurance can be fairly simple to navigate if you have a perfect driving record, have never filed a claim, and are the only driver on your policy. But let’s be honest: the possibility of falling into all 3 of those categories is slim, which may explain why many of us don’t shop around for auto insurance as often as we probably should.

Even if you’ve accumulated points on your driving record, there are still plenty of money-saving tips that could help you lower your premium. Before you start comparing rates online, check out the following tips to see if you could avoid paying unnecessary fees and qualify for any discounts.

4 ways to save money on car insurance

1. Avoid a lapse in coverage

Unlike health insurance, for example, auto insurance can be fairly unforgiving when it comes to nonpayment. Even if your car insurance payment is a day or 2 late, it may be enough time for your insurance company to suspend your policy or charge you late fees.

The good news is many insurance companies now offer smartphone apps that can send you notifications to remind you when a payment is due. And some insurers in certain states may offer a grace period for late payments. If you find yourself in a position where you need to make a late payment, call your insurer first to make sure you’ll still be properly covered for that period of time.

2. Pay your entire premium upfront

If reading that your insurance policy could be canceled for being one day late on a payment freaks you out, then you may want to consider paying your entire 6- or 12-month premium in a single transaction. That way, you can avoid the processing fees your insurer likely charges your credit card when you pay each month.

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3. Maintain good grades

You might’ve thought it’d be good to teach your teenage driver some responsibility by making them purchase their own insurance policy. Sorry parents, but until your young driver is at least 18 years old, they may not be able to purchase one, depending on your state’s laws.

But there is a bright side: if your teenager is a high school or college student, their good grades may qualify them for a good student discount.

4. Be careful when switching insurance policies if you have an SR-22

If you’re caught driving without insurance, you’ll probably need your insurer to file an SR-22 form on your behalf. And if you want to switch insurers while you have an SR-22 filed, it’s imperative to purchase a new policy before canceling your existing plan since any lapse in coverage may disrupt your SR-22 status. (Most insurers won’t give you credit for the time after your SR-22 was originally filed, which can cost you even more.)

For more great insurance tips, check out Answer Financial’s Insurance Center blog.

Please note: The information provided above is general and does not necessarily reflect the policies of Esurance or the discounts available through Esurance. Esurance discount amounts may vary and coverage and discounts are not available in all states.

Insurance 101 | Car insurance 101

about Answer Financial

Guest blogger Answer Financial offers shoppers the opportunity to compare prices and purchase auto and home insurance from top companies through its award-winning website or customer call center. Answer Financial is one of the largest auto and home insurance agencies in the U.S., with over 3.4 million vehicles and homes insured.