For many Americans, sticking with the auto insurer they have is pretty much a given, but it might be a good idea to look at when you should consider changing your insurance company.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in the summer of 2011, 30 percent of respondents said they never switched insurers, about one in four never shop for alternative insurance coverage and only about one in five said they look for other auto coverage providers each year. Check out the full report (PDF) here.

There are considerable differences between younger and older consumers when it comes to changing insurance companies. What it all boils down to is how satisfied you are with your auto insurer overall, but satisfaction is rated differently between the two demographic groups.

Older consumers are generally more satisfied with their car insurer, whereas younger consumers are not only more likely to switch, they’re not shy about doing so.

Keep in mind the following to determine when you should consider changing your insurance company:

  • Price – If you are unhappy with the annual premium you pay for your auto insurance coverage, it is well worth your time to shop around and get competitive quotes. Remember, though, that price isn’t the only factor involved in you being a well-satisfied customer.
  • Availability of discounts – Everybody likes to feel like they’re getting a good deal. If your current insurance company doesn’t offer discounts, or has few of them, you might want to look elsewhere. A well-established, top-tier auto insurance company should have numerous ways for you to save on your annual premium, including multi-policy, safe driver, good student, homeowner, and other discounts.
  • Buying direct – Maybe you prefer to buy direct from the insurer, rather than going through an agent who may represent multiple carriers. Younger consumers are more apt to go this route, but once you try buying direct, you just might be hooked.
  • Need a full-service provider – When your life circumstances change, such as buying a house, need multiple cars or other insurance policies, are a member of the military service, you may benefit from going to another insurance company, one that is a full-service provider.
  • No longer a high-risk – If your past driving history has resulted in you having to be in a high-risk category, but now you’ve cleaned up your act, you may find that it’s a whole lot less expensive to change to a traditional auto insurance company. Keep in mind that different companies require a good driving record for varying periods of time, anywhere from three to five years.
  • Getting your own policy – If you’re moving away from home and starting your own family or entering adulthood, it’s a good time to change your insurance company to one that may be better suited to your particular needs.
  • When it’s time for renewal – As for the best time to change your insurance company, most people find it is more convenient to do at the time of renewal. That way, you don’t have to request a refund for unused premium, there’s a clean break, and you’re off to a fresh start. If you do need to switch before renewal, make sure you know if your current insurer applies a penalty for early termination. Also, be sure you remember to cancel your old policy. Failure to do so could result in you getting a bad credit score for failure to pay premiums on the policy you left behind, but didn’t cancel.
  • Reputation, communications options and more – There are, of course, other reasons when you should consider changing your insurance company. You may prefer to go with another insurer because of its reputation, the number of communications options, how easy the website is to navigate, even the quality of its mobile applications.

Remember, you really are in the driver’s seat so when it does come time to change your insurance company, do your homework and strike the best deal you can.  For more tips on car insurance, visit our section on car insurance where you can get additional tips or if you would like to compare auto insurance quotes from multiple carriers.

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