April 30, 2012 | last updated June 1, 2012 2:13 pm

Web is key for auto-coverage shoppers

Fewer motorists are looking to change auto insurers these days, but when they do most shop rates via the Web, a J.D. Power survey finds.

The auto insurance shopping rate has reached the lowest point in the past five years, with only 25 percent of insurance customers indicating they shopped for a new insurer in the past 12 months, down eight percentage points from 2011, Power said Monday.

While only a quarter of auto insurance customers shopped for a new policy, 43 percent of those shoppers switched providers -- the highest rate since the study first began measuring retention in 2008, and an increase of 3 percentage points from 2011.

The study finds that 52 percent of auto insurance shoppers start their shopping process online, and 73 percent visit at least one insurer's Web site at some point during their shopping experience. Also, 32 percent of customers solely obtain quotes online, and today 34 percent of all recent shoppers state they would most prefer to purchase their new policy online.

The survey also found that The Hartford ranks highest among auto insurers in providing a satisfying shopping experience.

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