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Comparison shop for home, auto insurance to get the best deal

While some consumers think it might take too much time or generate too much paperwork, comparing insurance prices can save an average of $600 a year by switching to a new company.

Comparing auto insurance rates can save as much

Comparing auto insurance rates can save as much as $600 per year, according to experts. Photo Credit: Bill Oxford / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Set it and forget it works sometimes, but generally not when it comes to an insurance policy for your home or car. Yet, a new survey from Policygenius of more than 1,500 people found that one in three Americans have never re-shopped for home and auto insurance.

Why? Well, 32 percent said they thought it would take too much time, and 16 percent just didn’t want to deal with paperwork.

Yet Policygenius’ research found that more than half of customers who shopped around saved an average of $600 a year by switching.

Stuff happens

“The value of your home may have changed due to a new addition or downward trend in real estate value — which can heavily impact your home insurance,” says John O’Rourke, vice president, private banking and wealth adviser at First American Bank in Coral Gables, Florida.

There are new carriers and carrier re-rates that happen, so what is a “best rate” today might not be the same as next year’s “best rate,” says Fabio Faschi, property and casualty team lead at Policygenius, an online provider of services that compare and buy insurance.

Maybe your insurability has improved. Perhaps some of your accidents have fallen off your record or your credit score is higher. You could get a better a rate, Faschi says. 

Understand that if your situation changes in other ways — say, you made a claim on your homeowner's insurance or had a fender bender — your rates with your current provider might be higher, as will quotes from companies that you use to comparison shop. But it still pays to compare.

Take advantage of deals

Several insurers offer new-customer or first-year discounts that actually make it worthwhile to keep switching.

The bottom line

Penny Gusner, a consumer analyst with CarInsurance.com, says “You may wind up overpaying for coverage if you don’t shop your policy at least once a year upon renewal.

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