SAN FRANCISCO — The average American driver has stayed with the same auto insurance company for the past 12 years, according to a new report from InsuranceQuotes.com.
The online insurance shopping site had Princeton Survey Research Associates conduct a poll of 1,000 U.S. adult drivers and also found that 25 percent of respondents have been with the same auto insurance company for more than 16 years, and 7 percent have stuck with the same provider for more than 30 years.
In addition, the survey revealed that 36 percent of drivers say they never shop around for insurance, and 30 percent only comparison shop "every few years." In fact, 46 percent didn't even know they could change insurance providers at any time.
"Many people make the mistake of shopping only when they move or buy a new car," said Laura Adams, senior analyst for InsuranceQuotes.com, "but data shows that rates fluctuate even when you haven't had any major life changes."
Adams also noted that loyalty to an insurance company may not pay off for the consumer, adding: "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."
What can pay off is comparing rates and coverage and then switching providers if it makes sense.
As previously reported by Edmunds, the recent J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study found that consumers who decided to change insurance providers reported an average premium savings of $388 in 2015, compared to $340 last year and $351 in 2013.
Those who shopped around and switched insurance companies also expressed an increased level of satisfaction with their new provider.
So why don't more drivers bother to shop for insurance?
According to the InsuranceQuotes.com report, 62 percent find it too time-consuming, 44 percent find the process to be frustrating and 40 percent say it's too complicated.
But, said Adams, "all it takes is an hour every year to compare at least three companies' quotes — that's worth it to potentially save hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars."
Drivers who do shop for new auto insurance will find the lowest rates on the 2015 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4WD, according to a study by Insure.com. Also on the low end of the rate scale among current models are the 2015 Jeep Patriot Sport 2WD, Honda CR-V LX 4WD, Dodge Grand Caravan SE Plus and the Honda Odyssey LX.
Topping the most expensive end of the Insurance.com list are such unsurprising models as the 2015 Nissan GT-R Nismo, Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Convertible, Dodge SRT Viper, Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet and Audi R8 5.2 Spyder Quattro.
Edmunds says: Consumers can find more information about car insurance on the Edmunds.com Auto Insurance page.