If you haven’t shopped for auto insurance recently, you might want to spend an hour or so checking out other deals. It pays to review your policy and check what’s out there.
A new survey from insuranceQuotes.com shows that 66 percent of policyholders never or only rarely check to see if they could get the same or better coverage at a better price. The average American driver has been with the same auto insurance company for 12 years, and some have stayed with the same insurer for two to three decades, or longer.
Millennials age 18 to 29 and senior citizens number among those least likely to shop around for auto insurance. At least six in 10 millennials with auto insurance assume you have to wait until your renewal date to switch insurance companies. And they’re not alone: 46 percent of Americans do not know that you can switch your auto insurance company at any time.
One of the reasons auto insurance may not be a priority for consumers? Auto pay options, while convenient, could be keeping car insurance payments and rates out of sight—and out of mind. Human nature and procrastination is another. “People think that it’s a task that might be difficult and time-consuming,” says senior analyst Laura Adams, “but it could be as simple as going to a website like insurancequotes.com, putting your information in for a free quote, and getting multiple quotes back. There’s no financial risk in looking for a new rate.”
Just spending an hour once a year to compare quotes from three different companies could potentially save you hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Experts suggest checking your car insurance rates the same way you would remember to change the oil in your car or swap the air filters in your home. Here are some tips to get started:
- Ask your current insurer if there are any company discounts you might be eligible for but don’t know about, such as the good-student discount. For college and grad students who have a B-average or better (or their parents) that could result in a significant discount.
- If you find a better deal, tell your current insurance company that you’re thinking of switching unless they can match the new offer or exceed it.
- If your current insurer refuses to negotiate, sign up for the new policy first—and then cancel the old one. “You always want to make sure you’re covered,” says Evans. “Insurance companies do not like to see a gap in coverage, and your rates could rise.”
- To get a wider variety of quotes, get online quotes from insurance company websites, consult with an independent agent, and look into companies that don’t use independent agents as well.
“Being married can cause your rate to decrease,” says Evan. “Marriage, getting good grades--these are all things that you have to self-report, which is why I recommend revisiting auto insurance at least once a year, as your life situation could change.”
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