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Maybe you're a proud new, first-time car owner, or perhaps you're ready to start hunting around for a better rate, but whether you're fresh-off-the-boat or an old hand, the fact is, most people give the same thought to purchasing car insurance that they do to brushing their teeth.

It's a task - necessary but not fun - and consequently, one that's usually rushed through.

But wait, this is important stuff!

You really want to be adequately covered if you get into an accident, and you definitely don't want to pay more for car insurance than you should. So maybe rushing through the process isn't the best way to go.

Rates change regularly
The most obvious benefit of shopping around for car insurance is that you could get a better rate and save a lot of money.

What a lot of people don't realize is that car insurance rates change all the time. Just because you couldn't find a better rate last year doesn't mean there's no reason to try again. Car insurance companies adjust their rates regularly to keep up with the latest statistics and other factors that go into rating. The same companies who couldn't give you a better deal last year might save you money this year.

Discovering holes in your coverage

Shopping around is often the reason people realize there are some gaps in their coverage or that they aren't covered as well as they thought they were. Often when a new company offers insurance quotes, they may include additional coverage or higher limits, or perhaps a lower deductible. Drivers could wind up getting a better policy in the end. And to sweeten the deal, that new and better policy could even cost less.

Take a good look at the quotes you receive, and see who might be offering you more for your money. Compare the coverage being offered to your current coverage to see if it's a better deal or a step down.

You may realize you're better off where you are

It may not be the purpose of shopping around, but sometimes taking the time to get quotes can make it clear you really are getting a great deal with your current company. You may have longevity discounts, great coverage for a good price, and a company you trust. Sometimes it takes shopping around to give you the peace of mind that you really are in the right hands already.

It forces you to review your policy

Taking the time to shop for quotes forces you to also take the time to review your current policy. That means you will notice any errors or omissions such as discounts you should be receiving but aren't, or incorrect information about your vehicle. Staying on top of these things ensures you always have the right coverage and are paying the correct rate.

This may, in the end, be the most important benefit of shopping around for rates. It's important to always be aware of what your coverage level is, how it matches your current needs, and of course how much you are paying for it.

When your policy renewal comes in it is a good time to make a regular point of shopping for rates. That way you will always be on top of your insurance policy.