The rate at which consumers shopped for auto insurance dipped in mid-2013, according to a new report from credit consulting company TransUnion.
Between June 2011 and June 2012, 16.2 percent of consumers surveyed shopped for auto insurance. That rate dropped to 15.1 percent between June 2012 and June 2013.
Mark McElroy, executive vice president of the insurance business unit at TransUnion, said in a statement that its TransUnion Auto Insurance Shopping Index focuses on shopping trends fueled by “more than a billion dollars [that] are spent each year on auto insurance advertising, most of which urges customers to switch their policies to another carrier.”
The report is based on TransUnion’s credit database that includes more than 430 million auto insurance shopping transactions between 2009 and 2013, excluding data from California and Massachusetts. In those states, regulators bar the use of credit-based insurance scores.
Biggest Auto Insurance Shoppers Include High-Risk, Younger Drivers
According to TransUnion, the typical auto insurance shopper is younger, and those younger shoppers tend to be women.
The report said that auto insurance shopping “peaks at age 25” for both men and women, with women staying “more active” as shoppers compared to men. Shopping rates for women taper off after they reach 40 years old. Men’s shopping rates stayed “relatively stable” as they aged
Time of year also has an effect on shopping rates. The report showed March is the peak month for shopping, and shopping rates hit their lowest point in November and December.
There were higher rates of shopping among consumers with the worst credit-based insurance scores, according to TransUnion, which labeled them “higher-risk” customers.
It’s likely that such customers face higher-than-average coverage costs because of spotty credit history and seek out prices in the market that can be wide-ranging for them; insurers and consumer advocacy groups have locked horns over the role that credit plays in coverage prices.
According to TransUnion, consumers with the best credit-based insurance scores are likely to stay put with their insurer because they showed lower auto insurance shopping rates than other consumers.
‘Past Behavior Predicts Future Behavior’ for Shoppers
“Past behavior predicts future behavior,” according to TransUnion, which said in its report that policyholders who shopped in 2010 were three times more likely to shop the following year.
TransUnion also said that “auto policyholders are more active consumers than the general population,” with 1 in every 3 auto insurance customers shopping annually for new policies.
Of those shoppers, 55 percent obtained two more or more auto insurance quotes a year, according to TransUnion.