By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — So here’s a question for you.  When was the last time that you shopped around for car insurance?  A new survey finds that 1 in 3 drivers never shops around, and as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan reminds us, that could be costing them in the long run.

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Let’s face it, the competition among car insurance companies is fierce.  Every time you turn around they’re offering some sort of discount or bundle to attract new customers.  At the very least you should shop around to be sure you’re not paying more than you have to.

“A lot of people have just put their insurance on auto-pilot, they’re just letting it go from renewal period to renewal period,” says Laura Adams, Senior Analyst with

In fact according to a new report, about 1 in 4 drivers has been with the same auto insurance company for more than 16 years.  Adams says,  “We found that the average shopper waits 12 years until they shop for insurance.  Seven percent of shoppers say they haven’t looked around for three decades!  This is far too long.”

According to Adams, many people make the mistake of shopping around only when they move or buy a new car.  She says, “In some cases loyalty can pay off.  But the ideas is that if consumers are not checking in with the market place, they’re not doing competitive shopping, they won’t truly know if their rate is competitive or not.”

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The report finds that senior citizens and millennials are the least likely to shop around for auto insurance.   In fact 46 percent of Americans don’t know that you can change your auto insurance at any time, with 6 of 10 millennials thinking you have to wait until your renewal date to switch.

You can switch your auto insurance at any time.  If you’ve pre-paid with your carrier for the next six months and two months into it you find a lower cost policy and make a change, they’ll refund the money.   So shop around.  Just be sure you’re comparing apples to apples and you’re getting quotes for the same exact coverage.

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