By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Is the high cost of auto insurance driving you into the poor house?

Well it doesn’t have to. It’s Top 3 Tuesday! 3 On Your Side’s Jim Donovan shows you 3 ways to save big.

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When was the last time you shopped around for auto insurance?

About one in four drivers has been with the same auto insurance company for more than sixteen years.

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“Most people don’t shop around because they don’t think that the costs vary as much as they do and they vary tremendously,” said Kevin Brasler with

Brasler says you could save 40 or 50 percent just by shopping around.

“I’m talking about hundreds of dollars and for some families especially if you have a teenage driver or you’ve had an accident or some tickets, it may be a thousand dollars or more, just for making a different choice,” said Brasler.

Whether you switch carriers or not, he offers this helpful advice to save.

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Number one, raise your deductible.

“Take as high a deductible as you can stomach and by that I mean, for your auto insurance. If you can afford a $1,000 hit make it $1,000. The reason is the discounts you get for having that high deductible are really large. We’re talking about 20 percent, sometimes up to 30 percent,” said Brasler.

Tip number two, think twice about extras.

“A lot of agents and companies are really ridiculous about pushing these little extras like coverage for you, for a rental car if you car’s in the shop, towing and labor coverage, things like that. These are just extras that are really just high profit items for the companies and they’re just in general fairly bad deals for consumers,” said Brasler.

Finally tip three, check your credit.

“The dirty secret about insurance these days is that your credit history has much more to say about the rates you’ll pay than your driving record or whether you’ve had claims. People with low or fair credit scores are paying twice as much as those with excellent credit scores for the same coverage and these are people who have the exact same driving histories,” said Brasler.

Want to see how your insurance carrier stacks up against others and to see the rates that drivers like you are paying with other companies?

Click Here: CBS 3 viewers can get free access to Consumers’ Checkbook survey for the next week.

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