Our society is becoming more and more digital by the day. Everything is done online. Online dating, online shopping, online classes; any sector of life that was once done face to face can now be done through the wondrous Internet. Shopping online for car insurance is no different. There are some positives and negatives to this process that we will touch on throughout this article.
Normally when you do an online insurance inquiry, your information is being sent to a lead generation company that is selling it to insurance brokers. You will notice a few minutes after filling out the online form, your phone will start ringing off the hook. These brokers are registered with the lead generation firm and want the first opportunity to sell to a customer that is in the market looking to purchase auto insurance. They can be an excellent broker or the worst broker on the street, so use the following advice to be a better online auto insurance shopper.
Just like any decision a person makes, you do not want to be impulsive on your insurance purchase. If someone calls you and makes an offer that seems too good to be true, it likely is. Wait to collect 2-3 quotes from different brokers, and check their backgrounds before making any decisions.
Many times, when a quote is automatically spit out from the information you input in the online form, no reports have been run so the price is not accurate. By reports I mean the Motor Vehicle Record and CLUE Accident report. There are many cases where a person received an initial quote of $1,500/year; and then after reports reveal their 3 speeding tickets and 2 at-fault accidents that price jumps to $9,000/year when the person goes to finalize their purchase. Confirm these reports have been run before getting excited over a price.
A.M. Best and Demotech provide credit ratings and financial data for the Insurance Industry. Make sure the company insuring your auto coverage is rated at least a “B+” by these agencies. If you have a claim and your insurance carrier goes insolvent, you are in a bad situation.
Shopping and comparing online isn’t the problem; it’s accepting what you find online to be the best option and buying it without professional guidance. It’s easy to believe well-made advertisements; that’s why the mantra remains true: ‘Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.’ Feel free to begin your homework online and acquire as much information as you can, but don’t end your research there. Talk to an insurance professional--especially an independent agent--who knows caveats that you probably don’t know about, and can provide you with multiple policy options.
Cheaper does not mean better. Cheap is a word I never use in my agency. I sell proper coverage that’s affordable. If anyone is pushing cheap insurance on you, it’s safe to say that the protection is not going to be there for when you need it.
Check coverage with an insurance professional that you trust before making any purchase decisions. There have been many cases where my friends and family have checked coverage with me and I have told them they are receiving excellent coverage for a superior price even if it’s not through one of my carriers. An honest insurance professional will look out for your well being above his/her own.
As mentioned in the introduction, many brokers will receive your information when you fill out the online inquiry. Wait to see what everyone has to offer before making a decision. It’s never wise to purchase the first product that is presented to you.
Remember those brokers I mentioned above, who will call you after you put in your information for an online auto insurance quote? The excellent ones are Risk Managers and the bad ones are Quoters. Keep in mind the difference between Quoters and Risk Managers. There is a large class difference in the insurance industry between these two groups. Quoters are basically robots that sit in front of a computer, input information, and try to get you the cheapest policy possible so you will purchase it from them. Risk Managers will survey your total financial situation, and take their time to ensure you are being properly covered to protect all of your assets.
When shopping online you will receive calls from both sectors of insurance professionals; make sure you are choosing the Risk Managers. It will mean all the difference when it comes time for a claim.
While everyone wants to save as much money as possible on their auto insurance, please ensure the proper protection is in place before making any decisions. Quoters will try to sell you whatever they can to get you to go with them. They are trying to earn a commission. A Risk Manager may have a more expensive product, but come time to make a claim, you will be fully indemnified. We have a saying that we use in my office when explaining coverage to a client; “There’s never a problem with your coverage until you have a claim.” If you carry limits that are far too low but never have a claim, you’re fine. But if you aren’t so lucky, there may be a costly problem on your hands. Online shopping is a good first step in choosing a carrier, but make sure you are fully protected before you make a final decision.
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