The Online Illusion of “Cheap Auto Insurance”

The Online Illusion of “Cheap Auto Insurance” car graphic

You are paying too much for your auto insurance,” “If you are over age 65, you may be paying too much for your auto insurance,” “Click here to find cheapest auto insurance in your state,” “Veterans are dropping their auto insurance for this,” “Are you paying too much for auto insurance?”–all are examples of websites encouraging you to come to their sites to obtain quotes for your automobile insurance. 

Out of curiosity I went to several of these sites and found my time would have been better spent in calling a local agent directly to obtain premium information necessary for me to make a decision on where to spend my insurance premium dollars.

After entering vital information regarding zip code, address, name, email address, marital status, occupational status, make and model of vehicle, driving habits and record, you will find yourself getting directed to several preselected insurance companies. Upon your selecting one of them, you will be directed to enter the same information all over again. When you have done so, an estimated monthly premium will be shown to you which may or may not reflect an accurate comparison with your existing auto coverages.The disclaimers in fine print confirm the fact that what is being shown to you is simply an estimate and does not necessarily reflect coverages you want. In order to get an accurate comparison, you are directed to call the insurance company to speak to a representative who will handle your quote and if you choose to insure with them, the company will help you complete the application for obtaining coverages. 

If you are trying to get quotes from various sources, you will need to go back to the web page which lists the companies you can obtain quotes from and choose the company for the next comparison. You will be redirected to that company’s website and will repeat the same procedure you just went through. 

Why not just take the same amount of time, call several reputable insurance companies in your neighborhood, and give them the same information for coverages you want. Let them present their proposals to you and then decide who you want to do business with. 

It is rather obvious the websites are not designed to give you personal attention but to get you to click on them so companies sponsoring the site have a chance to sell you their product. These sites also receive compensation for each visitor to the site so they entice you with just enough information that you will seek additional information by clicking on the site. Once you do, they have no further interest in whether you get satisfaction or not.

Purchasing something as important as insurance is worth sitting down knee to knee with another human being so you know what you are spending your money on and know whom you will be dealing with when insurance incidences occur. You may not build a buddy-buddy relationship, but at least you will not be dealing with a total stranger or a robot programmed to expedite claims when the need arises.

Most automobile insurance companies are now technologically advanced to where much of the mundane paperwork and day to day operations can be handled over the internet or by phone, but it is reassuring to know there is a familiar face and voice available when you have questions or concerns which don’t fit the daily norm, i.e., what do you do if you are involved in an out-of-state accident and the other party has no insurance or leaves the scene of the accident? Who stands up for you when the body shop doesn’t finish the paint job properly? Who sits down with you when the billing isn’t clear or correct? Yes, the local agent and staff who live by you and work by you. 

Opinion of this author is if you want to spend a lot of time ending up at dead ends, go ahead and spend the time to get nowhere. The moments you spend with your agent will pay dividends to you as the years go by. Buy local.

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