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Comparison Shopping Down, but Consumers Largely Remain Loyal

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In 2013, for the first time in five years, the percentage of consumers who shopped for auto insurance in the past year dipped below 50%, according to a new survey from comScore. Auto Insurance

Despite the fact that shopping for auto insurance was down slightly, the percentage of consumers who seriously considered switching their auto insurance policy remained relatively flat.  In addition, respondents were increasingly more open to the idea of purchasing policies online than they were in 2011 and 2012, up three percent and one percent, respectively.

"As consumer shopping behavior changes over time, it's critical for auto insurance companies to understand the various factors that motivate consumers to shop for, retain, or change their auto insurance," said Susan Engleson, senior director at comScore. "These insights can help insurers develop strategies for effectively influencing consumers before, during and after the shopping process, ultimately giving insurers a competitive advantage."

While the number of overall quotes submitted fell five percent in 2012, the overall number of policies purchased remained flat at 3.1 million.  Fewer people are shopping and obtaining quotes, but the number of shoppers obtaining more than one quote has increased from 2012 to 2013, with 63% of consumers who shopped within the past year getting two or three quotes, up from 57% in 2012.  Obtaining a quote online continues to be the most popular auto insurance shopping method for consumers, with 67% of respondents who shopped in the past year saying they obtained a quote online.

"PAY AS YOU DRIVE" CONTINUES TO GAIN AWARENESS

In addition to what can be considered a traditional auto insurance policy, the number of insurers offering their own usage-based insurance (UBI) has increased over the past few years.  Awareness of this "pay as you drive" insurance (PAYD) among respondents has more than doubled since 2009, with 40% of shoppers aware of the existence of PAYD insurance in 2013, up 23% from 2009.  While awareness for PAYD insurance increased, adoption of the actual product was much slower.  Of the 40% of consumers who currently are aware of PAYD, only nine percent actually have PAYD insurance.  A quarter of respondents stated that privacy was "very much a concern" when it comes to PAYD.

[Source:  "2013 Online Auto Insurance Shopping Report."  comScore.  21 Oct. 2013.  Web.  24 Oct. 2013.]