Times are tough. The economy is still struggling, people are still out of work and you’re still getting that whopping big car insurance bill every month.

Two of those things you can’t do much about unless you’re a Congressman, but the third thing, your monthly automobile insurance bill, THAT you can control. Taking a defensive driving course is a good place to start. Insurance providers in some states will actually lower your premiums if you successfully complete an online defensive driving NY course every three years. In nEw York that amounts to a 10 percent savings every year. In New Jersey it’s a little lower at 5 percent, but a buck’s a buck when you’re looking save money.

If insurance providers in your state don’t offer a discount for completion of a defensive driving NY course there are other ways to cut your insurance premiums. They all start and end with you being a safe driver.

1. Use caution and drive defensively. Avoid crashes at all costs. You probably think you already do this, but do you really? Do you slow down when you see a deer crossing or school zone sign? Do you keep your headlights on during the day AND night? Studies have shown running your headlights during the daytime has decreased traffic accidents in countries where it is the law.

2. Buy a safer vehicle. That shiny little sports car might look like fun, but it’s probably not very safe. Look for something with added safety features like anti-lock brakes, driver’s side and passenger side air bags, plus side curtain airbags. Traction control helps your tires grip when you need them to. You might also consider a vehicle with electronic stability control to keep it upright and in control automatically even when you’re not able to.

You might also consider a vehicle with preventative safety measures included, like a rear-view wide angle video camera or a heads-up display night vision. Anything that makes it easier for you to see where you’re going at all times is bound to help keep you safe. (Plus, studies have shown that they.)

3. Watch your speed. You might feel like you’re “sticking it to the man” every down you fly down the highway at unsafe speeds, but all you’re really doing is showing your insurnace company that they probably aren’t charging you enough for your insurance. The more speeding tickets you get, the more points you get on your license. the more points on your license, the higher your insurance premiums are going to go. The sky’s the limit when it comes to automobile insurance rates!

So, complain about the economy, or the unemployment rate or the stock market if you want to. But don’t complain about your insurance rates because that’s nobody’s fault but your own.

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