5 things to know when shopping online for insurance

Online shopping is great, right? From the convenience of a search engine or favorite online retail site, we can browse any product, compare options from different sellers, and click to buy what we want, when we want it. When it comes to shopping for home and auto insurance, however, it’s a much different story. Although it’s been around for several years now, online shopping for property and casualty insurance still does not meet expectations of buyer or sellers. There are both good and bad reasons for missed expectations. The brief article covers what we consider to be the most important aspects of online insurance shopping.

1. Instant estimates are not quotes

Online shoppers expect immediate results. There are insurance shopping sites that claim to provide instant prices. More often than not, these prices are rough estimates and don’t represent actual quotes on policies that can be purchased. In order for a price to be a valid quote it must be based on a completed application that has been through some form of underwriting. If a shopper enters only contact information and the year, make, and model of their car to get back an instant price they are getting an estimate. That estimate could change drastically once driving record and credit history are checked and those can’t be checked without more information from the customer.

2. Hard referrals are hard

All the information people provide to so-called insurance shopping sites must be provided separately to the insurers. That’s because the only relationships between online shopping web sites and insurance companies are strictly for marketing services. Most sites that claim to offer online shopping for insurance are really just digital versions of familiar marketing gimmicks. That should make you wonder, “what does that insurance shopping site do with my information?”

3. Your information is sold

Always read the fine print when it comes to your personal insurance, starting at the beginning when you are ready to shop. If you do read the fine print you will see that the way most online insurance shopping sites work is by selling customer contact information multiple times. We assert that people’s information is sold so many times that it become effectively worthless to everyone.

4. You aren’t really shopping

There are some web sites operated by legitimate insurance companies that claim to compare options among their competitors. However, no insurance companies that want you to come their site in order to buy insurance from a competitor. All insurance companies know that if they are the first to engage you then you will probably buy from them no matter what. The fact that it’s hard to shop for and buy insurance has a lot to do with it.

5. You can take control

Whether we’re talking about digital marketers selling contact leads or insurance companies claiming “we’ll show you the other guys’ prices”, it should be clear by now that so-called online insurance “shopping” is really online insurance selling. Furthermore, what masquerades as online insurance shopping can undermine the interests of buyers and sellers, alike.

In order for online shopping for insurance to meet our expectations, as either buyers or sellers, it has to work the same way as online shopping for anything else. Sure, there are some things that make shopping for insurance inherently different, but we know these can be overcome. To meet expectation, insurance shoppers should have the ability to fill out one insurance application to get back many quotes. Insurance sellers should be able to offer a quoted product online without having to pay to put it in front of the customer. The products that are offered should be the products that are sold, and not resemblances of the products. When the transaction is complete, everyone should be assured that the only role of online shopping was to connect buyers with sellers in a convenient and efficient way.

That’s what we do at COMPARITY: https://www.comparityins.com