Is it worth it to get an auto insurance quote online? That is a question many people are asking in our current economy. Time is money, so is getting an online insurance quote a good time investment or just a waste. There are both pros and cons to car insurance online, we will see if it is truly better or if it is just hype.
The first thing to look at is the type of company you are considering purchasing auto insurance with. Is it exclusively or mostly online or through the telephone, or do they have offices as well. If the company has brick and mortar offices, many people prefer the convenience of buying online. To compare several rates at once, enter your ZIP code into our auto insurance comparison tool for FREE!
The Pros of Getting an Online Insurance Quote
There are several positives of getting auto insurance quotes online:
- Convenience- Shop for car insurance from the privacy of your home.
- Cost effective- Not having offices causes the overhead goes down. This savings is passed on to the consumer.
- Competition- There is many well-known online car insurance companies online as well as some lesser known companies. With more competition comes a better rate.
- Time saver- Since many people have internet access readily available and the internet speeds are consistently increasing; it makes it quick and easy to receive a quote. Unlike the telephone, there is no hold time involved.
- Compare- By opening multiple tabs or windows, it makes comparing for the best insurance policy for the lowest price easier.
The Cons of Getting an Online Insurance Quote
While there are many pros for online quotes, some people will find the following negatives:
- Scams- Like it or not, scams are everywhere. Before purchasing auto insurance with any company or even supplying personal information, be sure to check out a consumer protection agency like the Better Business Bureau.
- Sending personal information through the internet- Some individuals are uncomfortable with the idea of sending confidential information, such as social security numbers or other identifying information through the internet. Since this information is necessary to provide a car insurance quote, it makes some people uneasy.
- Shady policies- You want to know you are covered before you are in an accident, not after. Some online insurance companies either give the complete runaround or flat out deny a claim after the policy said it was covered.
- Not as personal- When you deal with the same insurance agent for any length of time, the agent tends to get to know you and your driving habits. A computer and online insurance agency cannot offer that.
- Claim handling time- On average, online auto insurance companies have a longer handle time on claims. Often an insurance adjuster will have to drive from another state and will be overbooked. While this is not always the case with every claim or insurance company, this has been historically pretty accurate.
What About Getting a Quote Online For a Traditional Insurance Company?
Some people like the convenience of receiving an auto insurance quote online for a traditional insurance company. Once they have decided which company is the best fit for them, they will head down to the local office and purchase the insurance from them. The convenience of not having to travel all around town is desirable, but yet a more personal insurance relationship is present as well. It tends to be the favored option for many people.
Who Are Some Common Online Insurance Companies?
Turning on a T.V, radio, internet browser, or newspaper will bombard you will plenty of choices for online insurance companies. Progressive and Geico are two of the bigger and more advertised companies around. SafeAuto and Essurance are two smaller companies available for auto insurance.
How to Avoid a Scam
With scams being so prevalent, it is essential to be vigilant is protecting your identity from thieves. There are simple, common sense steps to minimize the chance of either identity theft, or an insurance policy that ends up being from a disreputable company and is not valid.
Use common sense- If it sounds too good to be true it probably is
Multiple companies claim they are the best, but not all are being truthful:
- All insurance quotes should roughly be the same price. If five quotes are about the same and one is significantly lower, the lowest one if probably not legitimate.
- Scammers tend to prey on drivers with a less-than-desirable driving record. People with a spotty record should be especially cautious when purchasing insurance.
- Get referrals- Ask you friends, neighbors, and family who they use. Have they had to use their policy? How was the claim handling time? How is their overall customer service experience? Most people will willingly share their experiences.
- Check the company out- There are several consumer advocacy groups. The largest and most well-known is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). By going to the BBB’s webpage, a search by URL address will bring up a rating of that companies trustworthiness. The ratings are from A+ to F. Avoid anything with a D+ or lower. Anything less than an A should be carefully considered before purchasing.
- Avoid “temporary coverage”- Temporary coverage insurance tends to be greatly overpriced and can be purchased with regular insurance for much less.
There are some basic things to look for when making the final decision regarding purchasing car insurance online. First of all, how good is their customer service? Is there a telephone number should you wish to speak to a live representative, or is all done through email? How knowledgeable is their staff? How do their rates compare? If they are much lower or higher than the median, they might be a scam. All rates should be pretty similar.
So Is An Online Insurance Quote Really Worth the Time and Effort?
Online insurance companies have both their good and bad points. No one can really answer that question except you, the consumer. The biggest factor is what you are comfortable with and the risk you are willing to take. Some people prefer to have that personal insurance agent relationship, while others would rather not have to interact with anyone. The most important rule of thumb would be to follow you own intuition. If you are not comfortable with an online insurance company, then do not purchase insurance online. Likewise, if you do not feel uncomfortable with the idea, then jump in and give it a test drive. You can always change your mind and go back to a traditional insurance company later. One quick way to compare several insurance rates is by entering your ZIP code into our FREE auto insurance comparison tool.