A recent look at auto insurance prices in one state sheds light on a counterintuitive phenomenon: competition doesn’t always lead to lower prices.
Case in point: Allstate bought Esurance several years ago to compete with GEICO’s online sales, but in the last year they lost 4% of their policyholders in Illinois. The same Illinois Department of Insurance filing also showed that Esurance was going to raise their rates by 2.7%. They also raised their rates a whopping 8.2% towards the end of 2015 and 3.8% last July.
While Allstate has been losing policyholders, GEICO has been adding them. In fact, GEICO has added nearly 30,000 policyholders in Illinois as of the end of March, and yet they’ve raised their rates four times since early January of 2015 for a total increase of 17%.
With a decline in policyholders (they’ve also lost about 2% across the country as a whole), it’s understandable that Esurance, which has yet to make Allstate any money since it was bought for a billion dollars six years ago, would need to raise rates in order to try to not lose money, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as to why GEICO would do the same, especially since they tout themselves as being able to save money for their customers, other than the fact that they can. They remain popular due to their aggressive and catchy advertising despite raising rates.
The moral of the story, of course, is that you shouldn’t always buy into the hype. Don’t always go for the flashy marketing and funny commercials. You should always shop around, and make sure to check with your local insurance companies.