If you are shopping for car insurance, it probably isn't your first rodeo. Most drivers have several policies over the years, so you may feel pretty confident about your purchasing abilities. Still, you may be overlooking a few facts that can save you money on your next policy. Before buying a new policy or renewing your old one, make sure to try out the following methods for lowering your premiums.

Ask for Discounts

Most insurance agents will inform you of possible discounts without your asking, but a few might keep that information to themselves. So be proactive and check out all your savings possibilities. Before buying a policy, ask your employer if you can get a group discount through the company. Check to see if your profession qualifies you for a lower rate as well. For instance, engineers usually get lower rates because they are considered more careful drivers. Teachers can often find some bargains. Also, age matters. Seniors can take advantage of savings aimed at the 55 and over crowd. Just don't buy until you are certain that you are getting every discount possible.

Don't Neglect Your Credit Score

Many car insurance companies raise their rates for those people with lower credit scores. They take this action for several reasons. Research suggests that people with lower credit scores are more likely to file a claim, and insurance companies obviously prefer to cover people who rarely make claims against their policy. Also, a higher score means you are a better bet for making your payments on time and for sticking with companies for a number of years. People with lower credit scores sometimes jump from company to company.

Beware of the Insurance Company Breakup

Even if you're a good customer, your insurance company can dump you or choose not to renew your policy whenever they wish. When they sever the relationship, they are legally required to tell you why, but the reason can be as simple as your making late payments or filing too many claims. Your insurer is also required to notify you in writing and give you time to find another policy. If they choose not to renew your policy, they don't have to tell you why. They may have simply decided that you are too high of a risk. So, if you like your insurance company, be a good partner and keep the relationship strong.

Consider Paying in Full

Many people pay their insurance bill in installments because that seems like a more financially manageable method. If you look closely at your monthly or quarterly bill, you will notice that an administrative fee has been added to these installment payments. If you pay your bill in full when it comes due each year, you can save a significant amount of money. While paying the whole premium probably requires a chunk of change, it saves you money overall.

Choose a Vehicle that Costs Less to Insure

Late model vehicles traditionally cost less to insure than new vehicles simply because they cost less to repair or replace. A brand new sports model with all the accessories is obviously going to come with a higher insurance tag than a five-year-old sedan. You can also save money by buying a vehicle that costs less to insure due to safety equipment or other considerations. For instance, certain family sedans and SUV policies cost far less than other comparatively-priced car model policies. So if you have traded or plan to trade for a different model, you might be able to get a far less costly insurance policy.

If you drive an older car, you may be able to safely switch from full coverage to liability only. For instance, if your 15-year-old car is worth $800, you shouldn't be paying $1200 a year to insure it. Instead, deposit your insurance savings in the bank so you'll have the cash to repair or replace your car if you are in an accident.

Comparison Shop

Forbes recently reported that 1 in 3 policyholders have never re-shopped for car insurance. Being too loyal to a particular insurance company may cost you hundreds of dollars each year. If you have been with the same company for more than a few years, it's worth comparison shopping just to learn about your options. You can easily complete this process online and usually find a number of policies that might be a good fit. And if you have a clean driving and financial record, you may be shocked at how many people want you as a policyholder. You might end up with better coverage and a lower premium

When you know the ins and outs of automobile insurance, you can often reduce your premiums by hundreds of dollars per month. Do comparison shopping and ask company representatives plenty of questions before signing on. If you go in armed with knowledge, you should be able to get an excellent deal on your policy.