Is purchasing car insurance online a good idea?

Purchasing car insurance online is easy when you (1) read customer reviews, (2) check financial ratings, and (3) compare quotes to save up to 20% on car insurance rates.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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®

UPDATED: Jan 25, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • There are many factors to consider when purchasing auto insurance
  • You may be able to receive a discount for shopping online
  • Even if you decide not to purchase insurance online, the internet is a great place to get started in your search

There are many considerations when purchasing an auto insurance policy, and with online shopping being all the rage for purchasing everything from clothing to new homes, why not shop online for your car insurance as well?

Purchasing insurance online can have many benefits and can come with several discounts that would not be available if you had purchased insurance the old fashioned way.

At the very least, beginning online to compare quotes and policies as a way to start your research into finding the policy that is best suited for you and your budget makes sense.

However, this does not mean buying online is right for everyone.

Are you in the market for a less expensive auto insurance policy? Get started now comparing car insurance rates online! Click here and enter your ZIP code for a list of quotes in minutes.

What are the benefits of purchasing car insurance online?

In a day and age when we are constantly trying to find ways to save time and money, buying insurance online just plain makes sense.

With the ability to have a list of policies and rates at your fingertips in minutes it is the quickest and most convenient way to shop for auto insurance.

Shopping online also allows you to compare rates from several companies and shop in the relaxed atmosphere of your home where you can avoid any pressure from an insurance agent or salesperson.

When the pressure is off of you will be able to examine the policies with greater precision and may find additional ways to save money that you would not have found when under pressure.

In addition to the convenience of shopping online, you can find several discounts that are only available if you purchase your policy through and online site.

Examples of these currently being offered include:

  • An early signing discount of 10 percent that is offered to people who purchase a new policy online without first waiting for their old policy to expire
  • Bundle policies that provide you with an added discount for purchasing more than one type of policy online such as car and homeowners or car and boat
  • Various websites also offer discounts for using their site to compare rates and ultimately purchase your policy. These discounts range between 10-30 percent so they can save you a lot of money.

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What are some drawbacks to purchasing car insurance online?

While the benefits tend to outweigh the drawbacks there are some cons to purchasing auto insurance online that you should be aware of.

When you compare rates and buy online without speaking to an agent either via phone or in person first you do not get to ask questions and have aspects of the policy explained by a human being.

Your knowledge will be limited to what is listed online.

If you just need a basic policy and do not have any special circumstances this may be fine, but if you have an SR22 filing or the need to add several teen drivers to your policy, you may appreciate the advice of an agent.

You also need to make sure you are using a reputable website providing you with accurate information and not simply pointing you in the direction of an insurance company they are promoting.

Should I use a comparison site or go directly to a car insurance company’s website?

Search sites like this one provide a valuable service within the car insurance marketplace. That’s because car insurance companies agree to participate with these searches in order to boost their visibility across the Internet.

While it’s true that not all insurance providers participate, a great number of them do.

This allows the consumer to get multiple free quotes much more quickly than if they visited the website of every individual car insurance company they could think of.

This brings us to another issue. Since there are, literally, hundreds of insurance companies doing business in the U.S., it is nearly impossible for consumers to know about each one.

Sure, they will be familiar with the big names that advertise on national television and the Internet, but what about the smaller regional companies with less extensive marketing efforts?

In New Jersey alone there are 39 auto insurers to contact, the majority of them unfamiliar to most of us.

If you do not purchase car insurance online, should you still begin your search there?

Even if you make the choice that purchasing auto insurance online is not for you, comparing rates online and using the internet to begin your doing your auto insurance homework still makes sense.

Whether you are in the market for your first car and first policy or you simply want to find a new policy that may come with a lower premium than your current one you should begin your research online.

First, by entering some basic information you can obtain a preliminary list of auto insurance quotes to help you narrow down your search and gain a ballpark figure of what you will be paying.

After reviewing this initial list you can enter more information that will help insurance companies fine tune the policy that would be right for you and the cost of that payment.

Another helpful feature online is the fact that you can obtain information about any insurance company, its stability, and independent reviews through a simple online search.

This is helpful to do when you first begin researching auto insurance because you do not want to end up signing with a fly by night company that will be out of business before your car gets its first scratch.

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Can I trust the car insurance quotes I receive from search sites?

The quotes you receive from a search site like this one will be accurate up to a certain point.

In other words, the quotes are not just randomly made-up numbers pulled out of thin air, they are ballpark figures provided by insurance companies themselves.

You can trust them to be fairly accurate based on the information you provided.

However, the quotes you receive from search sites are just the start of the process. Once you have several companies you’re interested in, you must get more detailed quotes directly from them directly.

This will require contacting those individual companies via the telephone or their website. Then they will ask you for more information than you were required to provide at the search site.

This additional information is what gives them the details they need to offer you the most accurate quote possible. Even then, the quote is only a best-guess figure.

A human agent will have to go through your information and verify it against state records before giving you a final price.

Start your homework now comparing online car insurance rates. Enter your ZIP code here and a list of estimated rates will be at your fingertips.

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