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Car insurance doesn't have to cost a small fortune. And affordable plans don't have to be hard to find, either. Before you sign up for a new policy or renew your current one, check out these hot ways to save some cold, hard cash.

Know Your Credit Score

Check your credit report before checking your insurance rates. If your credit score has gone up since you activated the policy, you might be able to negotiate a discount. A low score is seen as a high risk that you'll file a claim. Not to mention that studies have shown financially stable people have less traffic violations or accidents than those who are financially stressed.

Lifestyle Changes

Premiums are often based on a driver's level of demonstrated responsibility. In fact, certain lifestyle changes send signals that you've upped your responsibility quotient; reducing the chances you'll file a claim. If you've recently married, bought a home, or your kids moved out, tell your agent. It might result in a premium decrease.

(LMB-ESDC-01-2014.04.16.171058)