If you’ve changed insurers or even complained about your rate, companies may charge you less than a nonshopper. iStockphoto By Kimberly Lankford, Contributing Editor From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, February 2015 I changed auto insurers a year ago, but I’m already wondering if I could get a better rate. How often should I shop for auto insurance? --C.P., Ann Arbor, Mich.See Also: 3 Simple Steps to Reshop Your Car Insurance It makes sense to shop for auto insurance every year or so. You may find a better deal, and just looking like a smart shopper may help you get a lower rate. Many insurers have started using a practice called price optimization, which uses personal consumer data to measure how likely you are to compare prices and how much of a price hike you’d be willing to accept without switching insurers. If you’ve changed insurers or even complained to your insurer about your rate in the past, companies (including your own) may charge you less than a nonshopper, says Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America. The CFA has asked state insurance commissioners to ban the practice as unfair because it bases rates on criteria other than the risk that you will have a claim. Maryland is the only state to ban the practice so far. Insurers do not make this practice public, so you won’t know whether it affects you. But either way, it’s a good idea to shop around. Hunter says he recently saved hundreds of dollars by getting price quotes from several companies and then asking whether his current insurer would match the lowest quote (it did). “If you’re a good driver and have had the policy for a long time, your insurer probably wants to keep you,” he says. Get price quotes by calling insurers, going to their Web sites, or using a site that provides quotes from several insurers, such as www.carinsurance.com or www.bankrate.com. Or find an independent agent at www.trustedchoice.com. Got a question? Ask Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.