Tips to pay less for car insurance

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Consumer Reports shares tips for cutting costs on your car insurance. (KTRK)

If you've got a car, chances are your car insurance eats up a chunk of your budget. This is especially true for families with multiple drivers, people with poor credit and drivers with imperfect track records.

But Consumer Reports says if you do a little homework, there are ways to lower car insurance costs.

Start by picking a top-rated insurer. Don't be short-sighted. It's not just about getting the lowest premium.

You want to make sure you get a company that's going to pay your claim in a reasonable amount of time and gives you good service.

Then, be sure to set the right deductible. A higher deductible reduces your monthly premium, but you'll pay more out of pocket if you have a claim. It's generally a good bet. Just make sure you have enough to pay that deductible if your luck runs out.

If you're a driver with low risk behaviors, you can lower rates by asking about discounts for things like drivers who don't use their car for long commutes, students with good grades, teen drivers who take driver-training or mature drivers who take a defensive driving course.

Having a good credit score can also save you a few bucks.

People often think that by staying with the same insurance company for many years they'll get a loyalty discount, but it isn't always true.

Consumer Reports suggests shopping around often may help you find some significant savings.

For ratings of various companies, check out

And, consider bundling your policies. Buying auto and home insurance from the same company could lead to a hefty discount.

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