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By Jennifer Calfas
June 13, 2017
San Antonio, Texas, USA
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Yellow Dog Productions—Getty Images

It’s time to start looking at other car insurance providers.

When Americans don’t consider all their options, they risk losing up to $1,846 each year on car insurance, according to a new report from NerdWallet. Good drivers lose $416.12 on average by not comparing auto insurance policies. Residents in states like Delaware, Michigan and Connecticut lose even more — ranging from $1,086 to $1,846 annually.

In fact, 38% of Americans who have car insurance haven’t checked their price or compared their price for car insurance in at least three years — or ever. And that’s not good given how often rates can change.

“If you price-shopped a few years ago don’t assume you’re still getting a good deal,” warns Amy Danise, NerdWallet’s insurance expert. “The company that was cheap three or four years ago may no longer be a good deal for you.”

Auto insurers routinely raise their prices every six months or every year, and companies calculate their rates differently. According to Danise, “people have never been good at price shopping,” but now have an opportunity to change their habits with the help of online price comparison tools. This should be especially appealing to the 28% of Americans who think they’re already paying too much for insurance.

“There can be a lot of inertia among consumers,” Danise said. “But it’s a good time to compare — pricing is more transparent than ever thanks to online comparison rates.”

That’s not all Americans are doing wrong with their car insurance. NerdWallet found that one in 10 Americans intentionally lied when purchasing a new auto insurance policy, with the most common fibs including low-balling mileage, leaving a driver off of the policy and inaccurately describing how the car would be used.

“Fraud is an undercurrent in auto insurance rates for everyone, because those costs are passed on to all car insurance customers,” Danise said. “But I don’t think people necessarily view those little lies as fraud.”

With the help of online tools, it’s easy for drivers to compare prices from multiple companies at once. And taking the time to do so can be worth it, Danise said.

“If you were out shopping would you drive to another store if you knew a jacket there was $50 cheaper?” she added. “Probably. If saving 50 bucks is worth a drive across town, it’s definitely worth your time to comparison shop online for auto insurance.”

Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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