Why can’t I buy health insurance like I can buy car insurance?

The difference between health insurance and car insurance lies in requirements and options. There is no requirement for health insurance and rates depend on hundreds of factors.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

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...

Full Bio →

Written by

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...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 24, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • Buying health insurance and car insurance are both alike and different
  • Both types of policies go through an underwriting process
  • The health insurance industry has much less uniformity than that of the car insurance industry

Wondering why you can’t buy health insurance just like you can buy car insurance? Car insurance and health insurance are similar and yet very different.

They are both insurance products whereby the consumer pays a premium in order to transfer the risk of a costly loss to a third party.

Enter your zip code above to start comparing car insurance quotes!

The Standardization of Insurance Policies


Health insurance used to be rather complicated to buy because there wasn’t  a standard health insurance policy that was required, unlike car insurance in most states. In the majority of American states, car insurance is required by law for all car owners.

A standard policy with at least the minimum amounts of coverage is needed. These liability amounts and coverage levels vary from state to state. There are even high-risk options for those who would otherwise be unable to be insured.

The health insurance industry has much less uniformity than that of the car insurance industry. While many health insurance policies are similar, they are not the same.

From company to company, you will find several differences between policies, making it difficult to compare them when you are shopping.

The lack of state and federal requirements for a standard policy means that insurance companies have more freedom in regards to limits, deductibles, and exclusions they choose.

Car insurance is much easier to compare and choose from because of the standardization.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

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

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Free Car Insurance Comparison

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

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

The Complexities of Risk

One important factor that makes it difficult to buy health insurance as easily as car insurance is the risk factor. Analyzing risk is much easier for car insurance because underwriters consider a very limited number of things.

Driving records, past insurance claims, demographics, credit scores, location and the type of vehicle are the typical factors considered when setting car insurance premiums. 

With health insurance, the factors that must be considered are practically endless. Prior health history, insurance history, family history, geography, demographics, present health condition and more are among the multi-faceted factors that must be investigated for health insurance.

In addition, correlations between certain of these factors and the actual risk they present for a person’s health change regularly depending on which study is being considered.

Another aspect of risk that differs for health insurance is that with car insurance, there is the likelihood that many policies will have no claims paid out during a given policy term.

The Variety of Options

When you look at car insurance there are just a few options to consider. You must ensure that you comply with state minimum requirements. You will also need to decide on the amount of liability coverage to carry.

Whether or not to get extra coverage like comprehensive, collision, medical payments, uninsured motorist and more must also be decided. You will also need to look at the level of the deductibles on your policy.

Once you have made the decision of the type of coverage you want, the limits and the deductibles, it is very easy to compare car insurance quotes from different companies. However, it is not quite so easy with health insurance.

When you shop around for health insurance, you will find that there are differences everywhere. Individual plans usually differ from group plans.

Overall the plans that are available include:

  • HMO (Health Maintenance Organization)
  • PPO (Preferred Provider Organizations)
  • POS (Point of Service)
  • HDHP (High Deductible Health Plans)
  • HSA (Health Savings Accounts).

While these plans are carried by most health insurance companies, they vary so much in what they offer; the available deductibles, limits and exclusions, and how accessible they are, that it is very difficult to compare them.

Luckily, shopping for car insurance is a much less intense experience. With the help of an online search tool that finds the different options and presents them in an easy to use format, it can be done quickly and easily.

When you are ready to get started looking for an auto policy to fit your needs, check out the car insurance comparison tool. Enter your zip code below to get started now!


  1. https://www.thebalance.com/understanding-minimum-car-insurance-requirements-2645473
  2. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/insurance-underwriter.asp?lgl=no-infinite
  3. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-adams/how-age-gender-and-marital-status-affect-your-car-insurance_b_6973360.html
  4. https://www.360financialliteracy.org/Topics/Insurance/Cars-and-Auto-Insurance/State-by-State-Minimum-Coverage-Requirements
  5. https://www.geico.com/information/about/
  6. https://www.progressive.com/glossary/

Free Car Insurance Comparison

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

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption