Some people only shop for auto insurance quotes when they feel they need to. Others shop more frequently, when they are trying to find a better deal or are frustrated by poor service. So what's the benefit of shopping around, and how often should you do it?
The first question is if it's worthwhile to spend time shopping for auto insurance quotes. In general, the answer is "yes" because it could save you money.
Car insurance companies determine the rates they want to charge customers and then file them for approval with the insurance department in each state they want to do business in. But all rates aren't the same and, in fact, can vary considerably from one insurer to the next. That's because insurers typically develop rates on a variety of factors driven by their business objectives.
So, by getting quotes from different companies you can see which one has the lowest rates for your situation. No matter what your reason for obtaining an auto insurance quote, you should get at least three different quotes.
Now, how often should you shop around? This could vary depending on your situation. For example, something may have changed in your life that could affect how much you pay for insurance. Getting a traffic ticket or having a child reach driving age may have caused your current premium to increase. A situation like this would be a good time to see if you can find a lower quote.
Or maybe you've purchased a new car or moved to a different part of your city. Changes in your life may impact how an insurer rates you and you should probably see how other companies look at the same situation.
Even if you haven't had a change in your circumstances, it's a good idea to periodically shop around because companies change rates over time. So a company that may have rated you higher a few years ago, may have dropped their rates. An article on JD Power and Associates' Web site recommends shopping for quotes every six months.
Fortunately, the Internet makes it easy to do some comparison quote shopping. So if you haven't checked auto insurance rates for awhile, now's the time to get online and see if you can save.