The more precise question would be “Is it safe to buy anything online?” The answer is that it is safe, as long as you take precautions. But the truth is that, with millions of dollars at stake, car insurance behemoths have every motivation to keep your data and everyone’s money as safe and secure as possible.
There is no danger in just inputting your ZIP code and checking out car insurance rates online!
You will find that purchasing coverage online is relatively easy and painless. If you’re still not sure, you can always shop for quotes online and then call up a car insurance company representative to actually purchase the policy that fits your needs.
Are there legitimate safety concerns to shopping online?
The answer to that is “Yes.” Yet this is only in the sense that there are safety concerns with any kind of online shopping. Secure sites get hacked all of the time. Here’s a list of certain things you should do to make sure that your online car insurance purchase isn’t the same as a bad online poker-playing experience. These things should be second nature to you if you’ve been exploring and surfing the ‘Net for more than five years, but these are things to look out for.
Stay away from suspicious sites.
This should be an obvious one, but many state insurance commissioners always urge that you take a look at the insurance company from which you’re buying. If it’s one of the bigger companies, like GEICO or Progressive, then you’re probably in good hands (as one of their competitors would say). If it’s a state-wide or regional insurer, then you might want to check them out. Does this company receive a lot of complaints? How is its Better Business Bureau rating?
Shop on secure websites. Most of the higher level auto insurance companies are using this already, but you should only shop at websites that are using some kind of high-level encryption. For example, State Farm, which has an online security page, tells the public to use certain kinds of browsers (the usual suspects of Explorer, Safari 4, Firefox and Google Chrome) that provide a high level of encryption. State Farm claims that, by using this kind of security, your vital information–most notably your Social Security number, which insurance firms need to check your driving record–will be safe from hacker hooligans.
Use a credit card or a disposable/secondary debit card for transactions. The major advantage of using a credit card is that many credit cards offer identity theft protection. Just make sure you check your credit statement to insure that there are no fraudulent charges.
You could also use a secondary debit card. If debit card A has several thousand on it and is meant to pay a mortgage, while debit card B is loaded with several hundred dollars in extra money, then use debit card B.
What do insurance companies say about online risk?
Most of the reputable insurance companies have online security pages. There is, if you’re not aware of this, a lot of money involved in auto insurance.
Companies have a deep and abiding interest in keeping your money and their money as safe as possible.
You can usually find their privacy and security information on their home pages.
Is shopping online worth the risk?
Many state insurance commissions recommend that you shop online in order to get savings on car auto insurance rates. The insurance commissions of some states, like Massachusetts and Florida, even link directly to sites where you can compare auto insurance rates.
Insurance commissioners also openly recommend that you use online auto insurance services to lower your auto insurance rates. The State of Massachusetts even ordered a study showing that consumers that shopped around for better prices online got better deals on their auto insurance rates.
According to one of the study’s many colorful charts, 81.7% of the people who shopped around online for a better deal did so in order to save money on their auto insurance rates.
The study also stated that drivers have saved nearly 500 million dollars on auto premiums since 2008 began.
The study also confirmed that 37.8% of the study’s participants did save money by comparing auto insurance quotes from different insurance companies. More than 27% of the study’s participants revealed that they saved over $300 dollars at least by shopping online and comparing car insurance quotes. Eighteen percent saved more than $450 by comparing rates online. The message of the study is that you can save lots of money by comparison shopping online.
Bottom line, while there are risks to shopping online, the rewards far outweigh the risks. It’s kind of like not flying because you’re afraid of lightning striking the plane. There’s that risk, but it’s negligible. The reward is saving hundreds of dollars on your auto insurance premiums. It’s well worth it.
You can start your research, tentatively no doubt, by putting your ZIP code into the box and comparing car insurance quotes now!