After my insurance agent of over a decade retired, I stayed with the same company out of simple laziness. As my rates started to rise (with no accidents or violations on my part), and as customer service declined (I spoke to a secretary to get my questions answered and never once received a call from the agent who replaced my retired agent), I finally decided to do some insurance shopping.
I found that nearly all insurance companies now offer online rates, with questionnaires for quotes and websites that range from from the insanely complex and intrusive, to the simple but heavily sales oriented. Prices ranged from nearly 20% more to 15% less than what I was already paying. So after nearly two weeks of research on sites which rate insurance companies for their service (Consumer Reports) and financial stability (A.M.Moody), I decided to switch to Esurance.
Esurance had one of the easiest website interfaces with an simple (but sales heavy) questionnaire to obtain a quote. Their rates were lower for higher coverage than my former company, and I liked the easy document print out. The one time I had a question and called them, they answered me promptly and knowledgeably.
I am happy to report that I am still happy with my decision to switch, especially after a car backed into me on Monday (Labor Day). Not only did they answer the phone promptly at 7 pm on a holiday, but they scheduled the inspection within 48 hours (he came to me) and he had the estimate for me to take my car in for repair within 3 hours after the inspection. My insurance adjuster even made the call to the other driver's insurance company (ironically my former insurance company) to report the claim. Everyone I dealt with was personable, professional, and efficient, explaining every step clearly. It was wonderful to have every person I talked to ask me how I was after the accident before asking me about anything else. It was wonderful to have my every call or email returned within hours. It was wonderful to feel secure knowing that that any questions or concerns I had would be answered and addressed quickly.
Rarely do you get to compare a new choice with a former choice, but I got to do that, and found that I had chosen wisely.