According to a January 2017 survey, 39 percent of U.S. policyholders have never shopped for better auto insurance rates. As a result, many customers simply renew their policy year after year, potentially missing out on savings. In an April 2016 study published by AAA, insurance rates increased by 9.2 percent. A survey distributed in 2016 calculated that 21% of the respondents haven't changed insurers in 6 to 10 years, while 8% haven't changed companies in over 20 years. However, insurance experts believe that people should shop around for car insurance rates every 6 to 12 months to get the best rates. It's recommended that you compare quotes with 6 to 10 insurance companies to find the best rates. Given those numbers, you might be inclined to shop around for auto insurance. You might prefer your current carrier but still wonder if you're missing out on savings and ask yourself, "Should I stay with my car insurance company?"

The short and simple answer is: if you like the service you're getting and you're satisfied with your premiums, then it may make sense to stay with your carrier. The more complicated answer? You might be missing out on significant savings on your monthly bill. There's multiple reasons why you might consider switching carriers, or at the very least, comparing rates with other carriers (and asking your current carrier if they can match that rate). Let's look at a handful of scenarios that might make it worth your while to shop around.

Your carrier doesn't offer the products/policies you're looking for.

Not all carriers are the same, and not all offer the same products. Some carriers offer accident forgiveness, while others do not. Some carriers offer multiple products like renters, life, and homeowners insurance, which offers bundling opportunities. Some carriers offer gap insurance, which covers the difference between the actual cash value of your vehicle versus what you owe on the loan if your car was deemed a total loss. Some carriers offer roadside assistance. Some carriers offer a pay-per mile policy (based upon how many miles you drive your vehicle, which is different than an annual low-mileage; see below). Some carriers are willing to insure a salvage title, while others will not.

You get the point. Insurance companies have a broad range of products and policies they can offer. Use this to your advantage.

You're looking for specific discounts.

Some carriers offer discounts that others do not. You might be interested in a low-mileage discount. You might qualify for a good student discount, a military discount, or a safe-driving discount. Some carriers offer discounts for anti-theft devices or if you use an electronic funds transfer to pay your premium.

The bottom line: carriers offer various discounts to stay competitive, so it's worth shopping around to see what discounts may be available to you.

A change in lifestyle.

You might have noticed this is a recurring theme, but to stay competitive, carriers offer their policies, discounts, and products at different price points. If you've had a change in your lifestyle, that could result in lowered premium. Did you have a change in credit score? Unless you live in Hawaii, Massachusetts, or California, your credit score is likely factored into your rates. Do you have a college student on your policy? If you're moving, your carrier might be expensive in your new neighborhood. Not every rate is the same across the board for every carrier in every city. Additionally, if you're moving to a new state, your carrier might not offer a policy in the state you're moving to (be sure to consider that, as well). Did you have multiple cars on your policy but you're now down to one car? Did you make modifications to your vehicle? Not all modifications are covered, so check with your current carrier and look for carriers that do cover your modifications.

Your premiums increased.

As previously mentioned, it's recommended you compare rates every 6 to 12 months. By auto-renewing your policy, you might have had rate increases that are higher than the competitor's premiums for similar products. It's worth shopping around to find out if that's the case.

Your premiums might have increased for other reasons, as well. If you were in an accident, your carrier might have raised your rates. If you had a traffic violation, this may have impacted your rates, as well. A different carrier might be able to beat those rates.

The Bottom Line.

As we've seen, there are a lot of reasons why it makes sense to at least shop around with other carriers to see if you can save money on your premiums. Because carriers want to remain competitive, there's not a one-size-fits all approach to auto insurance. Each carrier has their own product package and risk philosophy, so use this to your advantage. You may want to speak with an independent agent, as well. They're knowledgeable of the industry and they understand what the multitude of carriers offer and their philosophies. An independent agent can help set you up with a carrier that's the best fit for you.

If you'd like to compare quotes, we can make it easier for you. Based upon the information you provide us, we filter through thousands of independent agents and carriers to match you up with the ones who are in position to offer you the best quotes.