For most drivers, figuring out your auto insurance premium begins and ends with a visit/email/phone call to your local independent insurance agency. You provide your driver’s license number, vehicle identification number, your address, etc. and he or she plugs the information into a computer program and your premium is generated. Of course, your independent agent has information on a variety of different companies and coverages to offer and premiums will vary. But how are those rates determined?

Every insurance company operating in California begins with the same three rating factors: Annual miles driven, years of experience behind the wheel (as a licensed driver), and driver safety record. There are other less significant factors companies will likely consider, such as marital status, gender, age, vehicle type, garaged or not, etc.

Of course, 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 increase or decrease your premium. 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.