You go in to an insurance agency, provide some basic information, and — voila! – a quote is generated. This is a seemingly straightforward process, but there are actually a lot of factors involved in determining your premium. You are faced with a list of companies with different premiums for seemingly the same coverage. Even though companies assign different values for different rating factors, they all start out on pretty much the same page.

In California, auto insurance premiums are based on various “rating factors,” such as marital status, gender, age, vehicle type, garaged or not, etc. However, the top three critical rating factors are 1) Number of miles driven annually, 2) Driver’s safety record, and 3) Years of driving experience.

Of course, all these factors are weighted differently, with some affecting your premium more than others. This information helps the insurance company paint a picture of what kind of driver you may be and how likely you are to file a claim.

There are ways to save on your auto insurance premium. Obviously, maintaining a clean driving record and cutting down on the number of miles you drive is helpful. There is nothing you can do about your age, gender or marital status. However, there are other things you can do to save money.

The type of vehicle you drive can also ease up on that premium dollar. A non-sporty model with an excellent safety record is a good thing. Ask about alumni and other professional association discounts. Take a driver safety class. Increase your deductibles.

Why not make an appointment with your insurance professional to review your auto insurance policy, as well as any other insurance policies you may have? Together you can determine if you can save some premium dollars while maintaining the best coverage.