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Consumer Reports: Stay or leave your car insurance?

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Posted at 4:00 AM, Dec 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-25 06:00:32-05

TUCSON, Ariz. - Hugo Correia works up repair estimates at this body shop for car insurance companies. So, he knows his way around policies and keeps a sharp eye on his own premiums.

“If my premium jumps, I’m going to start looking for a better rate," says Correia.

But often people don’t even know exactly how much they’re paying. Car insurance rates have gone up about 23% in the last eight years nationwide - in some states it’s even higher. But here’s the good news: A recent Consumer Reports survey found that switching carriers can save you money. But, only about one in five people actually made a change in the past five years.

“No big surprise, our survey found when people switch carriers that price was a big factor," says Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports. "And 80% of those who switched got better rates.”

So ready to shop around? CR found some insurers do better than others at attracting and retaining customers.

“When it comes to overall satisfaction, just two national companies made it to the top tier of our ratings," says Stanger.

USAA topped the ratings, with an overall satisfaction score of 92. But USAA primarily serves military families. Amica also did well, but you may need a clean driving record and good credit report to get its best rates.

Even if you don’t switch companies, you can still get some savings by asking for a lower rate if your car is older or if your mileage is low, say around 6,000 miles a year .

Bottom line: Consumer Reports advises reviewing your car insurance once a year. It could really pay off.