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Increases in Auto Insurance Shopping Spurred on by Millennials, Gen Z and Subprime Consumers

New TransUnion Insurance Shopping study explores latest trends in personal auto insurance

The number of consumers shopping for personal auto insurance is on the rise, driven largely by the youngest generations. The newly released Auto Insurance Shopping Index from TransUnion (NYSE: TRU) revealed that 21.7% of consumers were shopping for personal auto insurance in 2018, up from 20% the previous year.

Millennial and Gen Z consumers played a large role in this increase as they made up 39% of the consumers shopping for auto insurance in 2018, up from 35% in 2017. Moreover, Millennial and Gen Z consumer are shopping 44% more than consumers of other ages.                                            

Auto Insurance Shopping Has Increased Among All Generations in the Last Year




Gen Z






Gen X



Baby Boomers



Silent Generation



“Increased auto insurance shopping is a good thing for both carriers and consumers. Carriers have an opportunity to increase their business while consumers may secure even better rates,” said Mark McElroy, executive vice president and head of TransUnion’s insurance business unit. “Younger consumers often do not yet have homes and the need for homeowners insurance. As a result, this makes it easier for them to leverage the ability to shop with ease to find the best coverage to suit their individual needs.”

Subprime Consumers Also Driving Growth as Carriers Increase Advertising Spend

TransUnion’s research also found that subprime consumers continued to play a major role in auto insurance shopping in the first quarter of 2019. This is a continuation of trends observed in 2018 when subprime consumers were 68% more likely than prime consumers to shop for personal auto insurance. The rate at which they shopped was nearly twice as much, on average, when compared to prime or above credit consumers during the same time period.

“This group of consumers tends to pay higher premiums than prime consumers. They want to find better rates and are therefore shopping more frequently,” said David Drotos, vice president of insurance solutions at TransUnion.

Average Shopping Rates for Q1 Based on Credit Tier (2017-2019)

Risk Tier/Timeframe

Q1 2017

Q1 2018

Q1 2019

Subprime (score<=600)




Prime and above (score > 600)




The boost in auto insurance activity also may be due to increases in advertising spend by insurance carriers. A recent Auto Insurance Report story found that 2018 marketing spend was at $7.5 billion, an all-time high. This was an immense increase from 2017 when the advertising spend was $6.6 billion.[i]

“Last year we examined the decrease in auto insurance shopping, which we found to be correlated to the decline in advertising spend. We think it’s safe to say that insurers are now seeing the value in increasing those budgets,” Drotos added.

Helping Carriers Make Better Decisions

Information from this research is partly driven by TransUnion’s work with insurance carriers. TransUnion helps insurance carriers access credit-based and risk-management solutions to help make better decisions about the consumers they insure. For instance, there are three TransUnion solutions that help carriers better target the right consumers and ease the verification and quote process:

  • Acquisition Triggers leverage shopping intent signals present on the consumer credit database to provide carriers a way to actively market to consumers who are in, or soon to be in, market for auto insurance.
  • Digital Marketing Solutions enable the creation of smarter audiences through data that spans attributes across consumer finance, demographics, lifestyle and observed shopping signals.
  • Lead Scoring enables carriers to qualify clicks, calls and leads to align in-market insurance shoppers with insurance carriers.

For the complete study about the TransUnion Auto Insurance Shopping Index, please click here.

About the TransUnion Auto Insurance Shopping Index

This study is based entirely on TransUnion data assets. The auto insurance shopping trends reported are based on TransUnion’s internal Auto Insurance Shopping Index which is derived from TransUnion’s extensive database of credit data. It includes information on more than 500 million auto insurance shopping transactions from January 2015 to March 2019. The Index focuses on the credit population, highlighting TransUnion’s data. It also explores a subset of the total insurance shopping population. The Index excludes data from auto insurance customers in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, where credit-based insurance scoring information is not used for auto insurance rating or underwriting.

About TransUnion (NYSE: TRU)

Information is a powerful thing. At TransUnion, we realize that. We are dedicated to finding innovative ways information can be used to help individuals make better and smarter decisions. We help uncover unique stories, trends and insights behind each data point, using historical information as well as alternative data sources. This allows a variety of markets and businesses to better manage risk and consumers to better manage their credit, personal information and identity. Today, TransUnion has a global presence in more than 30 countries and a leading presence in several international markets across North America, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Asia. Through the power of information, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies and families and safer communities worldwide.

We call this Information for Good®

[i] “Insurer Advertising Jumps 13.2%, Thanks to Returning Profitability.” Auto Insurance Report. Vol. 26#31/1232 (May 6, 2019): Pages 1-2.