TransUnion: Auto Insurance Shopping Hit New High in Q1 2024

The number of U.S. consumers who shopped for auto insurance in rose in the first quarter, largely driven by consumers in the West and Midwest.

The findings show a continuation of strong growth in shopping at the end of last year. Shopping rose by 6% year over year from the same period in 2023, according to research out this week from TransUnion.

It’s the second report indicating insurance shopping is on the rise. LexisNexis’ Insurance Demand Meter report shows a continued surge in new auto insurance policies.

This trend bolsters hopes that the personal lines insurance industry will move toward profitability in 2024, according to the TransUnion report.

There’s a caveat: a high interest rate environment continues to strain consumers and dampen the housing market, creating challenges for property insurance carriers.

The report, which shows West and Midwest region shopping was particularly active in the quarter, blames rising costs of living in both regions at the likely cause of the spike. It shows auto insurance shopping was up 12.1% in the Midwest and 10.3% in the West.

The report also shows 23% of consumers indicated plans to purchase or lease a vehicle to replace an existing one within the next 12 months, an increase from the 17% in 2023.

Property insurance shopping was flat year-over-year. Activity was further hindered by mortgage rates that approached 8% by the end of 2023, causing more consumers to opt out of purchasing new homes or parting with existing homes financed under more favorable rates, according to the report.

The most active shoppers were typically those with 1) the highest credit-based insurance scores (indicating lower risk), 2) belonging to younger generations (Generation Z and Millennials), and 3) predominantly from the West and Midwest regions, the report shows.

The report offers a somewhat optimistic outlook for personal lines, tempered of course by inflation.

“Personal lines insurers are seeing improvements — with the auto line of business leading the way,” the report states. “This progress should enable insurers to expand resources for and investments on new customer acquisition and retention.”