Though most New Jersey residents require a vehicle to get to and from work, school and around town, seasoned drivers know that the car payment is hardly the only cost associated with vehicle ownership. Yes, there’s the likes of gas to fuel it, routine (i.e., oil changes, tire rotations, etc.) and emergency maintenance to account for and, finally, car insurance premiums.

In the state of New Jersey, car insurance is mandatory for all drivers – and penalties for driving uninsured are becoming more and more severe. But being that the average annual auto insurance premium for New Jersey drivers is about $1,260 – well above the $866 national average – it makes sense for Garden State drivers to want to save on this extracurricular cost when possible. Here’s a closer look at how to secure discounts on car insurance premiums:

Securing New Jersey Auto Insurance Discounts

Drive Safe

Many auto insurance providers will reward safe driving with discounts over time. So, for instance, if you drive accident-free and citation-free over a designated time, you’re likely to be eligible for such a discount. Keep in mind that discounts vary based on providers, but safe driving discounts are becoming much more of a common offering.

Course of Action

Yes, if you’re a student who takes and passes a New Jersey defensive driving or insurance reduction course, you’re likely to receive a discount on your auto insurance policy. Again, the availability of these discounts vary based on who the insurance provider is, but most New Jersey auto insurance companies now honor this. All you’ll need to do is show the certificate of completion from an accredited institution to your insurance provider to qualify for the discount. Typically, the discount is good for up to three years. This discount can be especially helpful for younger student drivers, who typically pay larger premiums as inexperienced drivers deemed to be more at risk behind the wheel.

Bundle Up

Have a renter’s insurance policy? A life insurance policy? Boat insurance or RV insurance? Perhaps even a homeowner’s insurance policy? Moving all your policies to one sole provider is likely to secure you discounts, should you have multiple policies to work with. In most cases, the more policies you bundle the more money you’ll save overall. In New Jersey, those who bundled policies save an average of about 12 percent on their total insurance costs. Every little bit adds up.

Downsize The Plan

In New Jersey, drivers can choose from two types of auto insurance plans – basic and standard. While the latter offers more thorough coverage, it also costs more. Hence, it can make sense for drivers to shave money off their car insurance premiums by opting for the basic auto plan instead. Talk with your insurance provider to get a better idea of the savings potential you can realize by selecting a basic over a standard coverage plan.

Study Hard

If you’re in school, you already know how important good grades are for setting yourself up for success post-graduation. But many auto insurance companies are now awarding discounts to student drivers who maintain solid grade point averages. So, study hard! It could pay off in more ways than you might think.

Though auto insurance may seem like nothing more than another driving-related cost to have to budget for, coverage is made mandatory for a reason. And just because it’s the law to have coverage doesn’t mean that you can’t consider ways to reduce your premium costs. For more information on how to secure discounts, be sure to speak with your agent.