Everyone who owns a car has to have car insurance – it’s the law. What many consumers do not know is that premiums can vary by hundreds or, in some instances, thousands of dollars per year. The insurance industry has a lot of little secrets that can cost insurance buyers big money, but a little information can help consumers get a much better deal. And to help you get the best deal possible on your next purchase of auto insurance, here is some of that information:

1)If They Don’t Ask, Tell! – An insurance agent will typically ask if you have a current auto insurance policy, but won’t inform you that you may also be entitled to a discount if you have been insured under someone else’s policy, such as your parents. Tell the agent, because the discount for having prior insurance can be as much as 40%!

2)Compare and Compete – Consumers who call specific insurance companies for auto or home insurance, will get quotes from only that company. End of story. Even brokers that handle more than one company may not quote the lowest possible price. Their commissions are often based on the cost of the policy — the higher the better. You need to insist the broker compare pricing, or use a website like that facilitates price comparisons.

3)Shop Every Year – As time passes, many variables can reduce rates. Tickets and accidents generally fall off your record after 3 years. A clean driving record can be a huge money saver. One important note: companies that insure high-risk drivers by necessity have higher rates. Drivers will have more insurance options as they get older and clean up their records, especially if they have prior coverage (see tip #1).

4)Life Change = Rate Change – Whenever a major change happens in your life, chances are your insurance costs will change. Getting married? Your premiums may go down (especially for men). Just turned 21? 30? 40? “At each stage of life, insurance costs tend to go down – to the insurance companies, older and more experienced drivers are safer drivers,” Stafford says.

5)Learn the Terminology – Insurance policies are written in English and are hard to understand. Stafford suggests that using an English-Spanish bilingual website during the purchase process can help eliminate confusion. “By switching back and forth between English and Spanish while filling out the application, the customer can compare terms with those on their existing policy, and be sure they have the right coverage,” Stafford notes.

If you follow these steps, and as always, ask as a lot of questions, Latino insurance customers can be assured of getting the best deal, with the right coverage.