For many people, living in the suburbs offers lifestyle advantages. But if suburbanites commute by car to jobs in the city, lower commuter car insurance rates aren't among them. A number of factors apply.

Most obviously, commuters who drive to work cover longer distances than commuters who live close to their jobs or who use alternative forms of transportation. With all those cars on crowded freeways, longer commuting distances increase the chances of collision.

Commuting doesn't only mean driving to a regular place of work. It also means driving to school or regularly to different locations for a job. Driving for commercial activity, like making sales calls, is another category of commuting. In these cases, usage should be discussed with the insurer.

Many commuters may not drive to work every day, or may even drive to work infrequently. They should discuss their usage patterns with their insurers. Every company has different criteria for determining rates based on usage.

Even if a commuter drives part way to work and continues on public transit, commuter car insurance rates increase. Why? First, because the car is still being used to drive regularly to work; and secondly, because it'll be left all day in a public place where it's at a higher risk of being stolen or vandalized. Although the criteria vary, most insurers may offer lower rates for short commutes.

How can commuters continue to drive to work and still reduce their commuter car insurance rates? One way is to increase the deductible. But regular commuting increases the risks of collision, thereby increasing the amount the driver would need to pay in the event of a claim. Lying to an insurer is NOT an advisable way to reduce commuter car insurance rates. Claiming to use a car only for pleasure when in fact it's used for commuting could cancel coverage.

The best way to reduce commuter car insurance rates is to switch to alternative forms of transportation. That allows drivers to switch their cars' usage from commuting to pleasure. Lower rates apply to cars used only on evenings and weekends.

Another way to reduce commuter car insurance rates is to buy a smaller car. Whether a car is used for commuting or not, insurance rates are determined based on a car's value, type and engine size. Smaller cars cost less to insure.

Not commuting by car to work every day, no matter what the distance, is not only good for the environment, but also good for your budget. If drivers want to lower their commuter car insurance, then they need to alter their commuting patterns and methods.