While insurance companies spend billions of dollars a year in advertising to attract new potential customers by offering big savings, surprisingly, the policy price is not the number one reason customers switch-over to a new insurance carrier. According to JD Power 2014 U.S. Insurance Shopping study, the number one reason customers shop for a new auto insurance carrier is due to a negative experience they had with their current insurer, ultimately causing them to shop for and switch to a new company.
The study noted that customers whom had a poor experience with their current insurance provider switched to a new company more that twice as much as a customer whose premium increased. Of course, price is still important to customers but it will usually not drive them away. Rate increases seem to be expected / tolerated to a certain degree. Though, it appears that a rate hike of approximately $200 is the magic number that gets a policy holder to jump ship.
Overall, Insurers that achieved high satisfaction scores by providing excellent customer service retained a higher percentage of their customers. The study ranked Erie Insurance the highest among auto insurers with satisfied customer experiences. Metlife and State Farm tied for second, while American Family and Ameriprise tied for fourth.
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