There are many things that can raise your auto insurance rate -- your accident record, your age, even how many miles you live from work. But the list of things that could lower your rate is just as long. Here are some auto insurance discounts you may not have heard of:
- Employee discounts. If you're a current or retired federal employee, GEICO offers premium discounts of as much as 8 percent.
- Good driver discounts. Maintaining a clean driving record that is free of tickets, accidents or claims will help your insurer trust you -- and save you some money. State Farm, for example, gives discounts to drivers who've been accident-free for three years.
- Good student discounts. Students who maintain a B average or higher are eligible for good student insurance discounts through companies like GEICO, State Farm, Allstate and Progressive. Discounts generally apply to high school, college and graduate students, but insurers will have age restrictions. State Farm, for example, requires the driver to be under age 25.
- Military discounts. Many insurance companies will give military discounts to active duty members, members of the National Guard and veterans. GEICO's discount is up to 15 percent.
- Multipolicy discount. If you need to insure your home, boat or other vehicle, consider doing it all with the same company. Many insurers offer special rates if you agree to "bundle" different types of coverage together. Many also offer discounts for keeping all your cars on one policy. So, if, for example, your teen driver gets a car, adding it to your policy often will be the most affordable option.
- Professional organizations. Your job could get you a kickback from your insurer. For example, Farmers offers discounts for teachers, registered nurses, police officers and firefighters.
- Renewal discounts. Many insurance companies will reward customers for their loyalty with premium discounts. Before you switch insurance companies, ask whether yours is willing to make it worth your while to stay.
- Safety feature discounts. If your car is equipped with certain safety features, some insurance companies offer discounts. Fewer injuries and less damage mean fewer claims -- and your insurer might let you share some of those savings. GEICO, for example, offers discounts of up to 25 percent for cars that have anti-theft devices and discounts of up to 40 percent for driver and front-seat-passenger air bags.
- Senior driver discounts. You've had a lot of time behind the wheel, and some insurers will reward you for your driving experience. If you are 50 years of age or older, you can take a classroom or online driver safety course provided by AARP. Many insurance companies give graduates of this course discounts -- although some states do not honor online courses, according to AARP.
- Upfront payment discount. Many drivers pay their premiums over the course of six months or a year. However, you may be able to save some money if you pay your policy in full upfront. Progressive, for example, offers a 10 percent discount for customers who pay in full.