"As a doctor, I wanted to be well insured. The professionals that
communicated with me via phone and email helped me ensure I got the
coverage I needed with a price that was more than reasonable."
The first time I got a car insurance quote online, I didn't know what to expect. This is coming from a guy who worked in property and casualty insurance for years, and even used these insurance leads to secure new clients. How exactly does the online quote process work? This article focuses on the experiences I've had and the experience you can expect to have if you fill out an insurance quote through a quote broker (a company designed to field multiple quotes for you), and not an independent company.
What information is required for an online insurance quote?
I've received online quotes for just about every single type of insurance product out there; twice for my home, twice for my cars, once for health insurance, once for renter's insurance when we started renting our home, and then once for landlord's insurance on our rented home. Whether you are looking for home, auto, health, life, or any other insurance, much of the information required is the same:
- Phone Number
- Date of Birth
- Details about the specific type of insurance you are looking for
- Home, Auto, Life, Health
The details portion of the insurance quote takes up the largest amount of time. The average online insurance quote takes about 5 minutes to complete. Most companies will ask reasonably detailed questions in order to ensure the most accurate quotes. Click on the links above to get the specifics about what each quote type requires.
What happens to my information after I've filled out the free online insurance quote?
Once you've done the hard part, your information is sent securely to a handful of companies to quote you. Some of these will be brokers that represent many companies, and others will be independent agencies that will present only one quote to you. On average, when I fill out a quote I hear from about three different agents.
How can I trust my information is not abused?
Although I can only speak for my experiences, I have never seen information abuse to take place, and most companies have very strict policies regarding the use of information. Of all the times I've filled out quotes, only once have I received spam-like calls from a company. It was a month and a half after I filled out my online car insurance quote, and it was an agent asking to quote me. I politely told the agent that I already purchased insurance and wasn't interested in switching. It's now been eight months and I haven't heard from him again.
Email is a little different. About once a month I'll get an email from some insurance agent asking to quote my insurance. I've become excellent at screening and deleting emails, so this doesn't bother me too much. If you're the type of person where this drives you crazy, sign up for a new email address that you'll use as a "spam" email for all the online quotes/business you do. That way when the spam emails come, they won't be coming to your personal email.
What can I expect after I fill out all the required information?
Once you fill out your information, within the next few minutes to hours you can expect to start receiving emails and calls from agents who are ready to offer you insurance. Most of these agents know that you are shopping with multiple companies, so they will typically try to offer you the best value for the type of insurance you requested.
Instant insurance quotes online may not be instant.
Although there are many benefits to this approach of shopping around (saves "data-entry" time, forces companies to bring best rates through competition), the major disadvantage is that you may not be able to see the results immediately. For example, when I enter my information and click 'submit' with an online quote broker, that broker isn't the company giving me my quotes. That company has a partnership with other companies that deliver the quotes. As a result, when I fill out a quote late at night, I may not (and haven't in the past) receive any quotes until the next morning.
My results from comparing insurance quotes online
As I mentioned above, in the last three years, I've filled out insurance quotes through a quote broker seven times. My results were as follows:
- 4 times I found quotes that matched what I needed and I eventually purchased
- 2 times the quotes I received were not competitive with the insurance I had
- 1 time I received an email stating the company had no partners in the area to distribute quotes
As you can see, 4 out of 7 times I ended up purchasing insurance. These numbers will vary significantly depending on all the different factors that go into determining insurance premiums. The network that each broker has varies depending on the area in which each person lives.
Using free online insurance quote systems is not for everyone, but it's worked great for me in the past, and I think it's a valuable way for most people to see what market prices are and whether or not they are getting great value for their money.