WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California — More consumers are shopping for new auto-insurance companies but few are actually switching carriers, according to the new J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Insurance Shopping Study.
Researchers found that 39 percent of those who purchased insurance shopped for a new provider in 2014, compared to 32 percent in 2013. And of those who shopped, only 29 percent actually switched insurance companies, down from 37 percent in the prior year.
J.D. Power says rising insurance rates helped prompt consumers to look around for a better deal, noting that rates increased by an average of 2.1 percent last year, on top of a 2.5 percent average increase in 2013.
"Customers are being pushed into the market due to rate increases, but unless they can find a policy that will save them money, they're not switching providers," explained Valerie Monet, director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power, in a statement. "In fact, many of those customers can't find a better deal and ultimately don't switch insurers."
The study did find, however, that those consumers who decided to change insurance providers expressed an increased level of satisfaction. They reported an average premium savings of $388 in 2015, compared to $340 last year and $351 in 2013.
In assessing customer satisfaction levels, J.D. Power found that Erie Insurance ranked highest among auto insurers for the third straight year, followed by Ameriprise and The Hartford, which tied for 2nd place, then CSAA Insurance Group and Amica Mutual.
The online rate-shopping site found that drivers in North Carolina pay 41 percent less than the national average. Michigan consumers, on the other hand, pay 136 percent more than average.
InsuranceQuotes.com says that North Carolina ranks least expensive as a result of strict state regulations and a "high-risk pool," which serves as an insurer of last resort.
Meanwhile, Michigan is the only state where car insurance includes unlimited lifetime personal injury protection. Coupled with the fact that the state also has an unusually large number of uninsured motorists, that amounts to a perfect storm of high insurance rates.
Following Michigan, the most expensive states for car insurance are Rhode Island, at 45 percent above the national average; New York, at 42 percent above average; and Delaware, which came in 41 percent above average.
Ranking in order below North Carolina for the least expensive auto insurance rates are Idaho, which came in 37 percent below the national average; Ohio and Maine, at 33 percent below average; and Wisconsin, at 28 percent below average.
For more information and to find out where your state ranks, see the interactive map at the InsuranceQuotes.com Location and Auto Insurance Rates page.
Edmunds says: Consumers interested in learning more about insurance will also want to check out the Edmunds auto insurance tips and advice page.