Want the cheapest car insurance? It may be time to compare quotes again.

Written by Maryalene LaPonsie on June 6, 2011 & Posted in Auto Insurance

When you are on the hunt for cheap car insurance, you have a number of options to reducing your premiums. You could increase your deductible, decrease your coverage or find previously overlooked discounts. However, the best way to find the cheapest car insurance may be to say au revoir to your current carrier, according to experts.

J.D. Power and Associates and the Insurance Information Institute both name comparison shopping as the number one way to lower your auto insurance rates. However, these and other experts stress that shopping around doesn't mean simply calling one company for an auto insurance quote. Instead, you should obtain quotes from at least three different companies.

Shop auto insurance, experts say

According to 2010 survey conducted by Consumers Reports, most drivers may be missing out on substantial discounts. The advocacy group found that only 25 percent of consumers shopped for auto insurance in the past year. In addition, 60 percent of survey respondents indicated that they had been with the same company 10 years or more.

While some companies offer loyalty discounts to long-time members, many consumers may find cheap car insurance by switching to a new carrier. The insurance industry is fiercely competitive, and comparing auto insurance quotes should be a regular part of maintaining your family finances.

Consumers Reports suggests that consumers shop for auto insurance at least once a year. Meanwhile, J.D. Power and Associates recommends twice a year. Ideally, you will compare auto insurance quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal. By requesting quotes online, you can save some of the time, money and mileage involved.

Cheap car insurance claims abound

Just how much can you save? According to a CBS Money Watch report, car insurance companies claim significant savings for those who switch their carrier. Allstate Insurance Co. asserts that drivers save $396 a year while 21st Century Insurance says it can save you $474. Topping them all is Progressive Insurance which promises to saves the average customer $550 in a switch.

The reality is every situation is different. Every car insurance company rates risk differently. One auto insurer may ding you for your speeding ticket while another may not be as concerned. However, you won't know how much you can save unless you request quotes. Just make sure, as CBS warns, you are comparing apples to apples to make sure you are not only getting the cheapest car insurance but also the best deal.

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