Photo credit: insurancequotes.com
When it comes to your auto insurance, are you looking to change companies? Maybe find the same or better coverage at a lower rate?

J.D. Power and Associates says the number of us who are shopping is at a record low; just 23 percent of the 16,900 respondents in their U.S. Insurance Shopping Study say they're serious shoppers...

But of those who say they were looking for a better deal some time during the past 12 months, 45 percent of those ended up switching insurers.

Apparently a little bit of research, often online, is yielding positive results and savings for many consumers. This industry has witnessed fewer customers shopping, but those who are shopping are serious about switching insurers,” Jeremy Bowler, J.D. Power’s senior director of the global insurance practice, said.

He noted that consumers prioritize cost when looking around for a new policy, but they also want the freedom to choose their preferred contact channel; clearly communicated discount options and a variety of coverage options."

Interestingly enough, the survey found that insurers’ websites are gaining influence on consumers’ shopping and buying habits.

24 percent of respondents said that an insurer’s website was a decisive factor in their buying process (up from 22 percent last year) and 20 percent said so about call center representatives (down from 22 percent last year).

Consumers want convenience in completing their transactions too. Bowler said that being able to easily get quotes, and sometimes complete a purchase from a website without talking to an agent or call center is critical.

"If they're not able to get that from one insurer’s website, they will quickly move to the next one," said Bowler.

J.D. Power also asked respondents to rate auto insurance providers and on a top score of 1,000 the average score was 828. These are the companies that scored at or above average:

-Erie (854)
–Ameriprise (846)
–Amica Mutual (845)
–Liberty Mutual (845)
–State Farm (843)
–American Family (841)
–The Hartford (840)
–Esurance (834)
–Farmers (831)
–Safeco (831)
–Nationwide (830)
–Allstate (828)