Published 03/28 2003 01:53PM

Updated 03/28 2003 01:53PM

Most states require you to carry some kind of auto insurance or post a bond when you operate a motor vehicle. You're also required to provide proof of insurance before you can license your vehicle or renew your driver's license. Although coverage is mandatory, the amount and kinds of coverage can vary. The required minimum coverage may not be enough to adequately compensate your assets or your earnings. An insurance agent can help you understand your state's requirements and work with you to decide the coverage you need. Saving money on your auto insurance starts before you buy your next vehicle. Some vehicles are safer, less likely to be stolen, and less expensive to repair. Because these cars help keep claims payments down, some insurance companies can offer favorable rates on comprehensive and collision insurance. These vehicles are rated below their Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, so you'll get more value for your insurance dollar. Prices for the same coverage can vary significantly from company to company, so get at least three different quotes. Call your state insurance department for ideas about companies and agents to contact. You can also check the financial ratings of insurance companies with one of the major ratings services. You can keep premium costs down by asking for higher deductibles or by having certain equipment on your car, such as automatic seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices. Some insurers offer discounts for a variety of other qualifications, such as clean driving record, age, driver-training courses, or good grades for students. If you have more than one car insured with a company or obtain additional insurance coverage, such as homeowner's, with the same company, you may also qualify for a discount.

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