Most of us shop around for the best price on electronics, cars and clothes. But when it comes to car insurance we skimp.
Consumer reports says most Americans haven't shopped around for auto insurance in a year or more. But insurers generally update their prices every 6 to 12 months.
Think back to the last time you called an insurer to get a quote. They probably asked how many miles you drive to and from work and about your marital status. If any of those things have changed, you should get new quotes from not just one or two companies but three to five insurers.
When it comes to your credit score your insurer can hike your rate based on your score. So if your credit has been negatively impacted by the recession, job loss, military deployment, divorce, ID theft or some other factor out of your control, you can ask for an "extraordinary life circumstances exception" so your insurer won't use your score to raise your rate.
Got a teen driver in your house? Consumer reports says some insurers offer a good student discount for families with kids under 25 who can show proof of good academic performance. On average the savings is about $263 a year.
If you're shopping for a new car, check the insurance rates for each vehicle you're considering. Premiums vary by auto models and car dealerships can usually show you the insurance cost information for their vehicles. You can also call your current insurer to ask for the information.
Consumer reports says you should be shopping for car insurance at least every 2 to 3 years.