Loyalty Can Cost You

Being loyal is a virtue, except in this one instance.

When it comes to auto insurance, change can save you dollars.

 
While many of us boast about our comparison-shopping skills, few of us ever dust off our auto policy and look for savings.

“The average American driver has not changed his auto insurance company in 12 years,” says a startling a new survey from InsuranceQuotes.com, which has a vested interest in drivers doing some price-shopping. “About 1 in 4 drivers has been with the same auto insurance company for more than 16 years.”

Even worse, 7 percent have stayed with the same company for 30 years. That’s the length of a standard mortgage, and even then, many homeowners refinance at least once.

Researchers used the term “alarmingly” to describe how they responded to this fact: 36 percent of drivers never shop for better quotes, and 30 percent only do so “every few years.”

“Many people make the mistake of shopping only when they move or buy a new car,” says Laura Adams, a senior analyst with Insurance Quotes.com. “But data shows that rates fluctuate even when you haven’t had any major life changes.”

Adams recommends shopping around now.

“Americans may think loyalty pays off, but when it comes to insurance, that’s not always the case,” she says. “If you haven’t shopped for auto insurance since the ’90s, it’s probably safe to say that you’re not getting the best deal.”

Consolidated Credit President Gary Herman says Americans often pass up “hidden savings” just like this.

“It’s not only auto insurance,” he says. “When was the last time you looked at your cellphone bill? Your sable or satellite bill? Without changing your lifestyle, you can save hundreds of dollars a year – if you just take one weekend to really investigate where your money is going so you can close spending gaps and save.”

Adams and Herman especially want drivers to know that auto insurance isn’t like employer-provided health insurance – you don’t have to wait for “open enrollment” to switch. And if you pre-paid for a year or six months, “the company will reimburse you if you choose to switch,” Adams says.

For other car-saving tactics, check out Consolidated Credit’s Cutting Car Costs section. If you’ve been driven into serious debt, a certified credit counselor can put on the brakes for you. Call or complete an online application for a free debt analysis.