Savvy consumers know to search online for savings on many items and that includes getting a cheap quote when it's time to buy auto insurance online.
A recent J.D. Power & Associates report states that 74 percent of American consumers shop for auto insurance online. That makes it easy to compare and to get a cheap quote.
“While many customers want to shop online, they often still want to talk to someone when they buy their insurance to make sure they are getting the right coverage or have questions about their policy answered,” says Greg Hoeg, vice president of U.S. insurance operations at J.D. Power. “Maintaining a competitive advantage in digital capabilities through websites and mobile applications is critical."
How to get cheap quotes when you buy auto insurance online
There are plenty of ways to buy auto insurance online and save. Here are some of the best strategies:
Know the process. Online auto insurance sites are a tad different experience than getting a policy over the phone or at the agency, directly. With the online option, insurance shoppers simply fill out an online request form to get a cheap quote. That form normally requests name, address, phone number, email address, make and model of the applicant’s vehicle, and driving experience.
Fill them out accurately and thoroughly because the information you provide will have a huge impact in the auto insurance company’s policy calculations when you buy auto insurance online or get a cheap quote.
Know what “aggregation” means. Online auto insurance aggregators offer multiple auto insurance quotes in one place (think insuranceQuotes, which offers free quotes from hundreds of auto insurance firms on a state-by-state basis.) The key to using aggregators is honing in on the right policy, based by state, model vehicle, age and gender.
When you see an auto insurance quote you like, click on it, and you’ll usually be sent directly to a web site, where you can get more information, and/or complete the transaction.
“In general, the majority of consumers showed that they secured multiple quotes while making potential purchase decisions,” states comScore in a recent report on digital-based auto insurance shopping. “Across all shopping channels, 62 percent of consumers who shopped in the past year got two or three quotes when doing so most recently. Furthermore, consumers who shopped via online channels were even more likely to get two or more quotes.”
Get your ducks in a row. Before you go online, make sure you have a few key issues locked down and ready to go. You’ll need a history of your driving record, and any history of accidents and traffic violations and your vehicle data, including make and model, and how often you drive the vehicle, and any safety features you’ve added to the vehicle.
You’ll be asked for your ZIP code, too. Insurance companies use your town or city location to more accurately calculate a rate for you, based on your area’s level of insurance risk.
You may also be asked detailed questions before you buy auto insurance online about your vehicle (such as its mileage or safety features) in order to receive the most accurate and cheapes quote. It helps to have this information handy when shopping for car insurance.
Take your time. Go beyond simply getting one or two cheap quotes, then buy auto insurance online. It may take you an extra hour or so if you reach out individually, but getting four or five good policy quotes is a better strategy.
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When you dig down into each company’s quote, start comparing those quotes against your specific policy needs, including comprehensive coverage, collision coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. If you don’t factor those policy needs into the equation, you won’t get an accurate auto insurance quote. Your goal is to get cheap quotes when you buy auto insurance online but also to make sure your coverage is adequate.
Don't fall for the online ads promising cheap insurance. Watch out for shady operators online, especially insurance companies using so-called “blind” ads. Make sure your sites are reputable.
“You should want to know with whom you are sharing your information,” says Edward van Eckert, an insurance agent with Farmers Insurance, in
Metuchen, New Jersey.
Aim for local agents, too. If you are going to buy auto insurance online and want to get a cheap quote, it pays to shop locally. Many websites, such as insuranceQuotes will put you in touch with agents who do business in your community. They can offer you a variety of reputable and recognizable insurance brands.
"When you do choose your company for your insurance coverage, with it, you’ll get that local agent who can become your local advisor and advocate,” van Eckert says.
Going online to buy auto insurance is a great way to get a cheap quote whose time has truly come. Just be prepared, know what you want, and be prepared to strike on a great deal − all at the touch of your fingertips.