According to the AA, car insurance premiums have been climbing steadily upwards and are now rising at a faster rate than at any time in the last decade. That said, even though car insurance is compulsory, it doesn't have to be expensive. Here are some easy steps you can take to drive down the cost of cover.

1. Shop around online

Tempting as it may be to simply settle for a renewal premium with your existing insurer, you must do your research, as there's no reward for loyalty when it comes to car insurance. Shopping around online to compare prices from a range of car insurance providers is a good way to try and find a lower quote. Moving to a new provider is straightforward, stress-free and can save you a considerable sum.

2. Higher excess

A simple way to knock pounds off your premium is by opting for a higher voluntary excess. However, do be aware that you will have to cough up more of your cash in the event of a claim. Follow the link to learn more about car insurance voluntary excess.

3. Keep it safe

Insurance providers look at the risk every driver presents, so you could get a better deal if you can reduce that risk. Improve your car security by installing an alarm and immobiliser, and keep premiums down by parking your car in safe area - preferably in a garage, a driveway or in a secure parking zone.

4. Reduce mileage

There are savings to be made by opting to only drive at certain times of the day (e.g. not during peak traffic), and by reducing the mileage you do each year. But while this is positive for both the environment and your wallet, don't underestimate your mileage in the hope of tricking your insurance provider, as this could invalidate your claim.

5. Think small

As bigger and faster vehicles will cost you more to insure, why not go for a small car? Also, it's sometimes a good idea to avoid models with sporty letters after it - such as i, sxi or gti - as they usually signify a more powerful (i.e. a more expensive to insure) version of a standard model. And don't be tempted to modify your car with, for example, side skirts or tinted windows, as modifications will often bump up your premium.

6. Change the way you pay

If you pay for your motor cover in monthly instalments, then you could be paying through the nose for spreading the payments across the year. Pay your premium in one upfront lump sum instead, and you could see your costs slashed. Make sure you do your sums though... If you're considering paying on your plastic, it's worth considering the APR of instalments versus the APR of your card.

7. Pass Plus

If you're a new driver than you're going to be worst hit by rising prices, so invest some time and money in taking the Pass Plus course designed to give young drivers additional practical driving experience. This demonstrates to insurers that you are a safer driver and, once completed, could reduce your premiums by around a third.

8. Be Honest

Don't try to get away with not telling the whole truth in a bid to reduce costs. If you mislead your insurance provider, you may be committing insurance fraud. This could invalidate your cover, and if you caused an accident, you would be responsible for all the costs yourself. Insurance fraud also means you will have a lot of difficulty finding car insuranceĀ in the future.