The automobile insurance industry is going through some amazing and rapid changes. From tracking devices that send information about every turn that a driver makes, and every time that they brake their car, to coverage that offers “pay as you drive” insurance, new insurance products for automobiles are popping up left and right.
Still and all, the overwhelming majority of consumers still shop for car insurance the traditional way. The problem however is that it’s more confusing than ever. Unlike the real estate industry or even the travel industry, the automobile insurance industry doesn’t have a place where consumers can compare prices and coverages all in one spot. Not only that but, in order to get an insurance quote, consumers need to give an amazing amount of personal data, including access to their credit score.
Many insurance companies are trying to simplify the automobile insurance buying process, including companies like The Zebra, an iOS app called Go and another company called CompareNow. Using these companies and this app, and several others that are available, consumers can shop for automobile insurance of the traditional type and do side-by-side comparisons.
The difference between The Zebra and CompareNow is pretty big actually. While the former only gives estimates, it also covers over 1800 products from 200+ companies across the US (about 96% of the market), while the latter gives actual rates but only with 31 companies. The quotes that you can get from the Go app for iPhone can give you potentially cheaper rates very quickly but with much less accuracy.
One thing that these companies and apps don’t do however is advise consumers to focus on what’s most important; coverage. While comparing prices is relatively simple, comparing prices and coverage at the same time is a bit more difficult.
Sarah Smith, founder of Options Insurance in Twin Cities, Minnesota, says that “There are so many nuances to insurance, and people guess at the coverage levels they need and don’t realize what the repercussions are from the choices they make it.”
Indeed, it’s not always best to “one-stop shop” for car insurance because most people, when faced with choices, will simply opt for the cheapest choice available. Liz Weston, from Bankrate, says that consumers choose the cheapest insurance option “wind up exposing yourself [sic] to lawsuits,” adding that “working with a human being is not without its problems too.”
Your best bet is to take your time, check out several websites and car insurance quote services and, when you think you’ve found one that that fits your budget and coverage level, talk to one or 2 insurance agents who represent different companies.
Once you’ve got all the facts, and feel confident that you’re getting the most coverage for the best price, then you can make your final car insurance choice.