An online survey conducted by the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation in November and December found that most respondents who shop for auto insurance end up saving money.

In April 2008, the Patrick-Murray Administration reformed auto insurance in Massachusetts, creating managed competition. These changes allow insurance companies to compete for a driver's business, and it has led to lower rates, more discounts, and improved benefits for many drivers.

Question 1:

The Office of Consumer Affairs and the Division of Insurance have found that many people do not shop around for auto insurance rates. Consumers interested in checking on rates can start their search at www.mass.gov/autorates .

Question 2:

As the results of this question show, many people who did shop are motivated by the prospect of saving money. Drivers have saved nearly a half-billion dollars on auto premiums since the start of 2008.

Question 3:

Most people did save money, with over one in four respondents saving more than $300 a year. As the question indicates, many respondents increased their coverage as well, which had an impact on how much of a bottom-line savings they had.

Question 4:

Over half of the people who responded to this question said they beefed up their coverage. The Division of Insurance has heard this consistently since the start of managed competition, as drivers have reinvested savings in more robust policies.

Question 5:

Price motivated people to shop around, and price plays a significant role in choosing a policy. Consumers should be sure that their final choice reflects the amount of coverage they think is appropriate.

Question 6:

Managed competition has led to a more open marketplace, including bringing in some carriers who do the bulk of their business on the Internet. However, Division of Insurance research shows that most consumers still buy auto insurance the old-fashioned way - by calling or visiting their local insurance agent.