Insurance premiums are surging upwards in the wake of historical weather events and catastrophic claims. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of insurance rose a whopping 33.3% in the past decade. And there aren’t any signs that trend will turn around.

Frank Cacchione, CEO of TNC Management Group, a management consulting and project management firm for the insurance industry in Morristown, New Jersey, and the former president of AIG Marketing, Inc., says that by the end of 2012, homeowners could be battling double-digit rate hikes that soar as high as 20%. 'Many insurers are seeking double-digit rate increases in catastrophe-driven markets like the coastal and flood-prone regions,' he says.

There’s little relief on the car insurance front.

'Because of the tremendous catastrophic losses in the last couple of years, I would expect an increase in auto insurance premiums of 7 to 10%,' says Ashley Hunter, an insurance risk specialist who is a former insurance agent.

In light of these surging premiums, knowing a few tricks to shave even a percent or two off your premium could spare your budget some pain. 'There are many incentive and discount offers that are readily available to consumers,' says Billy Van Jura, a veteran insurance broker in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. 'In most cases, your agent will suggest them or ask you questions aimed at determining your eligibility. But it’s wise to also ask about any possible discounts you may qualify for.'

These programs and tricks will help you slash your auto and home insurance premiums without compromising your coverage.

1. Assess Your Association Connection.

Ask your agent if you qualify for any discounts resulting from membership in a union, alumni association, a religious affiliation, fraternal or professional organization, service in the armed forces, or through your employer.

For instance, Chrome Classis Car Insurance offers a discount of up to 10% to members of the National Street Rod Association. Liberty Mutual offers a discount on home insurance premiums to a member or employee of more than 13,500 credit union and alumni associations. 'Geico and Travelers have similar discount incentives,' says Van Jura.

Your Potential Savings: According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the U.S. national average car insurance premium in 2009 (the most recent data available) was $785. A 10% discount could net you $78.50.

2. Take the Road Less Traveled.

Progressive, Allstate, the Hartford and a handful of other insurers offer 'pay-as-you-drive' or usage-based insurance plans in the hopes of keeping car insurance costs affordable for consumers. With the help of an on-board data collection device provided by the insurer that tracks the driving time, mileage and the driver’s habits (like speed traveled) the premiums are tailored to the specific driver instead of estimated miles driven. Those who don’t rack up the miles or can demonstrate they’re safe drivers -- by doing things such as obeying speed limits or not rapidly accelerating, which could indicate road rage -- can receive discounts of up to 30%, depending on the carrier.

Your Potential Savings: As much as $235.50 based on the NAIC’s national average car insurance premium.

3. Bundle Up.

Most carriers offer a multi–policy discount of 20% or more if you purchase both auto and homeowners coverage, or insure more than one vehicle. Some carriers that offer bundle discounts are Progressive, American Family and Liberty Mutual.

Your Potential Savings: Around $150 or more, depending on the coverage limits.

4. Keep Up With Inflation.

Many home insurance carriers offer discounts if homeowners adjust the amount of their home insurance to keep up with inflation. The discount varies by carrier, but could be up to 5%.

Your Potential Savings: The NAIC says the national average homeowner insurance premium is $880. Cash in on this discount and you could save $44.

5. Pay Up Front.

Most insurance companies will pare down your premium if you pay for your entire policy upon renewal or purchase (instead of making monthly or quarterly payments). 'Progressive, Safeco and Travelers are just a few that offer significant savings of 10% or more for paying in one or two payments. There is also a savings for doing an auto-draft from a credit card or bank account,' says Van Jura.

Your Potential Savings: $78.50 on your car insurance and $88 on your home insurance premiums.

6. Stress Safety.

Make sure you brag about your safe driving record, completion of a recent defensive-driving course, installation of a home security system and the presence of any fire protection, such as smoke alarms. Numerous insurance companies reward these safe and sound moves with premiums that are up to 10% lower than those available to riskier drivers and homeowners.

Your Potential Savings: $78.50 on your car insurance and $88 on your home insurance premiums.

The Investing Answer: Whether you’re shopping for a new policy, or hoping to save money on your existing one, remember no two policies are the same. Most incentives and discounts don’t just vary by carrier; they vary from state to state and year to year. So make sure to perform an annual review of all available discounts with your insurance agent or broker to cash in on every possible savings option.