Your probably aware of all the ways to save money by shopping auto insurance if you're a savvy internet user. You Google a search for auto insurance, low cost auto insurance, cheap auto insurance, and who pops up? Esurance, Geico, Progressive, and some other on-line insurance agencies. That is a good start, but if you are like me I found that I would complete a form with at least three of these services just to find out some cold hard facts.

• It took about 15-20 minutes to get the form completed
• I had to provide a lot of information
• They could not beat my current premium
• They had insurance agents calling me
• If they had insurance agents calling me they asked some of the same questions I
already answered
• Auughh!!!! This was a waste of my time.

Has this ever happened to you? Did you quit looking because of the aggravation? Well it did to me and I hated wasting my time. Every company listed when you do a simple search for auto insurance is either an insurance company or agency. Did you know that there are between 30-60 insurance carriers in each state for auto insurance? If each of these agencies quoted five insurance companies (that is about the most I've seen them provide) you would be spending at least 2-3 hours quoting - but some don't quote five, they are only quoting one such as Geico - so you would more likely be quoting for 3-4 hours to see the full market.

Most of the companies that have the big advertising budget are NOT the most competitive - even when Progressive gives you other quotes they are with carriers that tend to be less competitive than others. These advertisers are just hoping you are already with a very costly insurance company and many of you are - so they win.

It makes sense though because all of these insurance companies and insurance agencies are paid by you buying a policy, they are paid commission which is a percentage of the premium. The common commission is between 10% - 25% for each policy. Do you see the bias in this? An, agency or insurance company is paid a percentage of the premium the higher your premium the better off the agent or company. With this system does the agent or company have any reason to shop your insurance or lower your rates? No, they do not. They don't want to lose your business but they would not want to offer you a rate that is 50% less either, that would be a pay cut. So these on-line service are not a shopping service because what they want is for you to buy a policy with them. The advertising is to pull you in and they hope you are with a very expensive company and they can cut the cost some - but a true shopping service wants to save you the most. The incentive for them should be a fee or a percentage of the savings. This is the only way for it to work for you, otherwise it is working against your goal.

By now I hope you understand the system a little better, so how do you get the advantage over the system?

• Don't be fooled by creative advertising
• Shop your insurance every three years and make sure you get quotes from some independent agents and direct writers
• Pay attention to the gradual rate increases each year
• See if they are applying all the credits available - good driver, claim free, multi-car
• Your credit score now effects your rates (don't even get me started on this subject)
• Have a shopping service do the work for you or prepare to spend several hours shopping and pull the list of 30-60 carriers offering quotes and get to work.

I heard reports that Esurance gets about 1,000,000 hits a month to their site - have you been one of them? Are you insured with one of the large advertisers? Did you know that they are NOT a shopping service as much as they are an insurance agency/insurance company? We have never placed one of our clients with them because there are so many carriers that are more competitive. We have no gripe with these sites or companies but we do want you to be a savvy shopper. One of our clients just this month saved 60% off their insurance and you can save money too. You just need to be a thorough shopper.

Andrea Luoni

Author's Bio: 

Andrea Luoni has more than 25 years of experience in the insurance industry and 13 years as the President and founder of RateCraft (previously - Premium Rate Analysis, Inc.) Andrea has extensive experience in commercial insurance analytics, business development, marketing, risk assessment and negotiating contracts. Prior to the founding of RateCraft (Premium Rate Analysis, Inc.) Ms. Luoni was a commercial insurance executive with Westland Insurance Brokers in San Diego, a leading insurance brokerage firm focusing on medium to large commercial accounts. She was also the founder of Gardenhire & Associates an insurance agency consultant to independent insurance agency owners. The company assisted agents with profitable agency management techniques to improve client satisfaction and agency profitability. She began her career at Barney & Barney one of the largest independent insurance brokers in San Diego while attending college and was recognized as an ambitious asset and moved up through the company to become a licensed sales agent. Andrea's favorite quote – "I didn't think you would actually be able to do this" author - many RateCraft clients. Andrea loves making what seems unbelievable a reality. Andrea realized insurance could not be her whole life so you may catch her racing triathlons, running trails throughout the world and giggling often with her daughter.