If you are shopping around for auto insurance, whether it’s your first time, or it’s because you’re getting a new car, or it’s just because you think you can get a better rate, getting auto insurance quotes online is the only way to shop. In possibly no other common transaction is the value of the Internet more pronounced. Customer loyalty has been shattered in the car insurance business, thanks to transparency of the World Wide Web.
Insurers have attempted to adjust to the growing preference for getting auto insurance quotes online by a number of methods. Specialized programs for low risk drivers, primarily those over 50, are common now. Year-to-year increases for members of this group are kept at about a percentage point above the inflation rate, which is low enough to keep the client from going through the trouble of shopping around.
The insurance companies have to balance off the income they lose in giving group rates to older drivers.
That’s the way business works. And in this case, business working means rates for high-risk young males and new drivers have soared in part thanks to the Internet. It is no longer uncommon for young drivers to drive without collision coverage even in an almost new car, or to drive with no insurance at all. It is one of those unintended consequence of new technologies.
The benefits for consumers in shopping online for automobile insurance are tremendous. Calling insurance agents and brokers is time consuming, plus you have to reveal personal information to strangers, which is never fun, even if you’re not privacy sensitive. And when was the last time you called a business office and didn’t have to go through a time consuming voice menu only to wind up talking to an answering machine?
When asked why they would shop online for car insurance in a 2001 Wharton School of Business survey, the most often response was the advantage of getting an instant quote. After all, who needs to seek advice from an agent? Many people don’t even know what questions they should be asking, and agents aren’t about to volunteer the questions they really don’t want to deal with.
For many, playing with the answers to the yes – no question you have to answer to get the quote is an eye opener. In these tight economic times, being able to see how your insurance rate will change if you buy the Honda Accord as compared to if you go for the Echo, may well be the differentiator in more than one buyer’s mind.
Did you know that your place of residence affects your rates? It does. People in urban areas have a far greater chance of having their vehicle stolen. What’s the difference between full coverage and full liability? You can find out yourself without worrying about looking like a cheapskate or an ignoramus.