Is it safe to buy car insurance online?

Most major companies in the US provide car insurance online. Avoid scams while purchasing car insurance online by checking financial ratings, reading customer reviews, and comparing quotes for car insurance online.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 2, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • As with all online shopping, buying car insurance online requires precaution
  • Always avoid sites that seem like they have too much spam or do not have a high-encryption level to protect your identity
  • Studies show those who compare auto insurance quotes online get better deals and pay less annually than those who don’t

When it comes to protecting their vehicles while on the road, getting the most coverage with the lowest premiums is everyone’s goal. Thanks to the internet, we can find dozens of quotes and car insurance companies with a simple Google search. However, is purchasing car insurance online really safe?

After all, the process requires you provide all sorts of personal information such as your full name, address, and social security number.

The good news is that for smart shoppers, buying car insurance online is safe and can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

With millions of dollars at stake, car insurance behemoths have every motive to keep your data and everyone’s money as safe and secure as possible. That’s why it can be safe to shop for an auto insurance policy online as long as you follow a few guidelines. which we will cover below.

You will find that purchasing coverage online is relatively easy and painless. You can choose the types of coverage you’re looking for, pick the companies you want to get quotes from, and even check out what sort of discounts are available. You can also compare your current policy against newer offers too.

If you’re still not sure, you can always shop for quotes online and then call up a car insurance company representative to purchase the policy that fits your needs. You’ll still get the level of coverage you want, it’ll just include a few extra steps.

We have a free comparison tool that will let you compare quotes from different companies, all you need to do is enter your ZIP code.

Are there legitimate safety concerns to shopping online?

The answer to that is yes, yet they are the safety concerns that are involved in any kind of online shopping. Secure sites get hacked all of the time. This is a major reason why it’s important to research companies before you buy service from them. You want to know that they take security seriously, so that your personal information isn’t at risk.

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. However, these things should be second nature to you if you’ve been exploring and surfing the web. Still, a refresher course is never a bad thing.

Stay Away From Spam Sites

Avoiding spam sites should be obvious, 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.

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? Focusing on just the policy options could land you in some trouble, if the company isn’t reputable or they have poor customer service. Make sure they have financial strength to back up the coverage options they offer.

Shop on Secure Sites From Trusted Companies

Most of the higher level auto insurance companies are using this already, but you should only shop at websites that are using 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 Disposable/Secondary Debit Card for Transactions

The main advantage of using a credit card is that many credit cards offer identity theft protection. Just make sure you check your credit statement to ensure 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.

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What do insurance companies say about online risk?

Most of the reputable insurance companies have online security pages. If you’re not aware of this, a lot of money is 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. You can always talk to an independent agent first if you’re concerned about doing anything online. They might be able to shed some light on how their online operation works.

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 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 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 find competitive rates if you shop online.

The 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, being able to have a wide range of coverage selections with just a click, and ultimately keeping you and your vehicle safe while you’re on the road.

It can be well worth it for drivers to compare the cost of their preferred auto policy with a wide variety of companies, and sometimes the easiest way to do that is online. Make sure when you’re looking at an online quote, that you keep the policy type the same across the playing field. It won’t help if you look at different coverage types with different companies because the price range won’t be accurate.

Plus, don’t forget to check on the customer satisfaction ratings from current customers, and check your discount opportunities online as well.

Don’t forget about our comparison tool, which will help you to compare auto insurance coverage quotes from various companies as long as they offer online services.

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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