TAMPA, Fla. — Auto insurance is expensive. 

  • Do your homework and shop around to save money on auto insurance rates
  • There are a variety of ways to find discounts
  • More Consumer Wise reports

Which is why doing your homework to find the best possible rates can save a lot of money. 

Insurance agent Joe Canella can list a variety of ways to save, including a unique method many drivers overlook: Paying your premium in full, which can save about 18 percent. 

"The paid in full, which is the most important one is $719. Wow. Every 6 months."

Having a good credit is another one. 

"Good credit gets you a better quote," Canella said. "Yeah, on average I would say about 15 percent."

If you have bad credit which improves over time, be sure to re-shop your rate. Don't assume you will get the discount.

"The carrier isn’t going to automatically every 6 months when you renew just go and run your credit," Canella said. "You have to ask."

And, moms and dads, good grades pay off.  

The "good student" discount helps. If you have a student in high school or college age students who gets a grade point average of at least 3.0—that can save you money on your premium. 

And for college-age drivers, there is a "distant student" discount. If your child is away at college more than 100 miles from home you get a discount for that.

Or, take them entirely off your policy to save more but remember to put them back on when they are home from college. 

"You don’t have to wait for your policy to renew," Canella said. "That’s another tip. A lot of these discounts, they will add it, the day that you call in."

Most insurers do limit the total amount of discounts you can get to no more than 25 percent. 

But that can still add up to great savings, so be your own advocate. 

Check out your policy or ask your agent to see which discounts apply for you and make sure you’re getting them. 

Here are some of the many discounts potentially available:

  • Homeowners discount
  • Accident Free/Safe Driver
  • Paperless
  • Loyal Customer
  • Good Student
  • Teen Driver – remove at college
  • Paid in full
  • Good Credit discount
  • Bundled Policy
  • Military
  • Multi-car