Online Auto Insurance: Facing Hard Market, Consumers May Need to Maximize Discounts

A recent III survey shows many in the property/casualty insurance industry are expecting the industry to enter a hard market, which means higher prices for consumers.

Online PR News – 12-January-2012 – – A new Insurance Information Institute survey that says a majority of American auto insurers expect 2012 may bring a “hard market” to their industry should serve as a warning for consumers to maintain good driving records and keep an eye out for any discounts they can find, according to Online Auto Insurance (OAI).

Industry experts define a hard market, in broad terms, as one in which coverage becomes scarce and prices rise. In other words, it may become increasingly difficult for some of those looking to buy insurance online or in person to find affordable coverage.

The industry has been in a so-called “soft market” since 2006—with premiums fairly stable and coverage relatively easy to obtain—according to a report released last month by Americans for Insurance Reform (AIR), a national coalition of consumer advocacy groups.

Experts say that market forces create cyclical shifts, with increased competition during soft markets driving rates low enough to potentially put some insurers out of business, and the resulting reductions in supply causing costs to rise sharply during the resulting hard market.

But some experts say the cycle is difficult to explain because it does not necessarily follow accepted economic models.


One point on which many observers agree is the business of insuring vehicles can be expected to become a seller’s market, in which insurers may increase rates and policyholders who are considered above-average risks to insure could find themselves having a hard time finding cheap policies.

According to industry insiders, however, there are steps that consumers can take to make themselves more attractive prospects to coverage providers and to keep their monthly payments as low as possible, even as overall rates rise.

Because a person’s driving history may be the largest single factor in determining premiums, motorists should be as careful as possible on the road, avoiding accidents and moving violations whenever possible. It’s also a good idea to compare the cost of insuring different vehicles if you’re in the market for a new car.

Many insurers also offer discounts to drivers who install antitheft devices, bundle multiple policies, complete safe-driver courses and take similar steps.

To learn more about this and other coverage issues, readers can go to target="_blank" class="highlight_link"> where they will find informative resource pages and a helpful rate-comparison generator.

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