Researching and obtaining insurance online is much easier
today. Many websites now offer comparison tools that will
provide quotes and coverage information. Keep in mind if you
choose a carrier from these searches, you will then be
contracting with that carrier for your insurance, not the
original site. This will either be done by forwarding you to the
carrier's website or the comparison site will forward your
information to the insurance company and they will then contact
you. Many insurers still prefer to have a representative call
you and discuss your coverage over the phone. Although not the
same as meeting with a personal insurance agent, it allows them
to make certain you understand the coverage provided. Also,
because buying insurance online is new, many companies believe
that individualized customer care is still the best way to get
your business and a follow up call still provides some of this
There are many benefits for utilizing online insurance:
Easy comparison shopping: Using insurance
comparison websites you can compare coverage and prices on
almost any type of insurance. You can also browse the
individual insurance carrier websites once you have narrowed
your search. Almost all companies now have libraries and tools
for you to learn more about their services online.
Your time is money: Shopping for insurance
online can be done at any time of day. It is hard to get time
away from your daily schedule to sit down and comparison shop
with insurance brokers, or indeed, individual agents.
Low pressure: Let's face it, many people find it
easier to stand firm without the person-to-person contact.
Users feel they can be more savvy and better informed when
every option is at their fingertips rather then relying on an
Save money: Due to the time needed to comparison
shop, the pressure to stay loyal with one company, and the
uncertainty about other companies, some may lose money by
staying blindly loyal to one insurance carrier. The online
market allows for easy comparison shopping, less pressure, and
research tools to learn more about other companies. By becoming
well informed, you can either work out a better rate with your
current provider or move to a new provider who offers better
coverage for your dollar.
Be aware of these complications when purchasing insurance
Understanding coverage options: Without an agent
to explain 'insurance speak' you may not know all the coverage
you may need. This is especially the case for those getting
insurance for the first time. However, if you have discussed
options with an agent before and have a generally good idea of
the type of coverage you will need, this may be something that
is manageable with a little extra research.
Is that quote really a deal: All quotes may not
be equal. Take care to examine all the coverage included with
quotes. The online quotes may help you narrow your search, but
should not be taken at face value as not all companies offer
the same 'comprehensive' coverage.
Buying insurance coverage in your state: Not all
states will allow you to purchase insurance online. Some allow
you to get quotes but still require you to meet with an agent
before signing any contracts. Also, because the internet clouds
locality, you will need to make sure the insurance carrier is
licensed in your state.
Individual customer care: Do you really want to
push 1, then 2, then 4 to talk to someone about your insurance
coverage? Working with a local agent still offers the
advantages of individualized customer service. This agent can
offer coverage that speaks to your locality as it is more
likely they live in your community. They will also have a
better knowledge of the coverage their carrier provides and can
help you understand all of your options. They may also be aware
of more discounts available to you that you may not know to ask
for online. In this way they can offer better individualized
Whether you choose to shop for insurance online or not,
you should look at your insurance carrier websites. Insurance
carriers now offer detailed information about coverage online.
In fact, once you have settled on a carrier you can often answer
coverage questions, pay bills, get updates on claims and find
useful tip sheets and information on how to better protect
yourself and your property. A primary example of this is your
health coverage. Most health insurance carriers still prefer you
to sign up through your employer or an agent. However, once you
have your coverage, they offer information about doctors,
medical options, prescriptions, and claims. Considering health
care is one of the most complex types of insurance used, their
increasing online presence is an invaluable tool. To explore
online insurance options more, please see the links below.
When purchasing any product online you always want to make
certain it is an authentic website representing a verifiable
company with a good reputation. Here are some tips for a safe
and rewarding online shopping experience:
Be assertive in getting answers about an online company
you have not worked with before. Learn as much as you can about
them and ask tough questions. Check reviews online, in
magazines, with your
Secretary of State/Attorney General
, or by word of mouth.
Call them up and talk to their customer service. If
they don't list a contact number be careful.
Review posted company information, policies and the
move on or call them up to ask why.
Make sure any payments are made in a website with https
or other secured system.
- Keep a printed copy of every online transaction.
Consider using one credit card for your online
purchases/payments. This way you know which to cancel in case
of fraud. Also, make sure the card is not linked to any bank
account. Some prefer getting a pay as you go credit card for
any online transactions. These can be found at any grocery
store and can be refilled as needed.
Keep your computer updated with anti-virus software,
browser updates and spyware programs.
NEVER provide personal information from an email
they supposedly sent to you.
This is a common phishing scam.
Everything in the email will look legit but lead to a false
site collecting your information. Instead call the company with
the number on your contract - not the number given to you in
Initiate contact yourself. Go to their website yourself
from the address they gave you on your contract. To be on the
safe side, never go to their website from an email.
Don't give account information to anyone. Your online
providers have this information and if anything will be
emailing you a forgotten password - never vice versa!
Change your account passwords often; every six months
to once a year. Use strong passwords with numbers, symbols,
changes in case and at least 6 characters.
Online Insurance Comparison Sites
Insurance Company Rankings
State Insurance Regulators
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