Every time you get behind the wheel, you're at risk of becoming involved in a car accident. That's why auto insurance exists - to cover your liability and protect you financially.

But, while having car insurance is necessary, you shouldn't be paying more for it than you have to. Here are four ways to get the best deal on your auto insurance and pay lower premiums every month.

1. Shop Around for Better Rates

If your current auto insurance policy is about to expire and you've noticed that the premium has gone up by more than you can afford every year, it's time to shop car insurance and get a few quotes from other providers.

In fact, financial experts recommend that you compare different insurance policies and companies every few years to see if you can get lower premiums elsewhere.

However, the cheapest provider doesn't necessarily mean it's right for you, so don't be tempted to choose the least expensive option purely because of the lower cost. You should do your due diligence by carefully researching each company to ensure that they pay their customers' claims and are reputable.

You can check the reputation of an insurance provider by searching for it on the Better Business Bureau's website and by looking at customer reviews online.

2. Ask About Discounts

When you request a quote from an insurance provider, inquire about discounts. Generally, insurance companies will charge you less to insure more than one vehicle and may offer a discount if you already have other policies with them.

To qualify for a multi-car discount, multiple drivers on the policy must live at the same address or be related by marriage or blood. Two unrelated people may be eligible for a multi-car discount, but they must own the vehicles jointly.

If you want to insure your teenager on the same policy, it will usually cost more than an adult. However, your child may qualify for a good student discount if they have a B grade average or are among the top 20% of their class.

Some insurance providers may also offer a discount on your auto insurance if you hold other policies with them - such as homeowner's insurance.

3. Drive Safely

It goes without saying that you should always be alert on the road to avoid an accident. Generally, the more mindful you are of your driving, the fewer traffic violations you'll incur.

Your driving history and your traffic violations will raise your insurance premiums, so the best way to avoid higher costs is to drive safely.

4. Take a Defensive Driving Course

Some insurance providers will give you a reduced rate on your auto insurance if you have completed a defensive driving course. If you have accumulated points on your driver's license, you may also be able to reduce them by taking a defensive driving course.

Before signing up for an insurance policy, ask your support agent about the defensive driving course discount and make sure that the course you completed is accredited.