Getting online auto insurance is a simple thing nowadays as the Internet has made life very convenient for a whole set of people. Buying automotive insurance, like anything else, is just a click away.
It is understandable that some customers prefer face-to-face counsel and personal attention of an independent agent/broker while others prefer the convenience of around the clock shopping. Some companies specialize in selling auto insurance through independent agents/brokers, while others focus on selling directly over the phone and through the Internet, allowing them to focus on the preferences of each customer group. Decisions are finally made keeping in mind the expenses the companies would incur and the prices of their products and the needs of their customers.
With hackers all over the place there are dangers when it comes to offering information over the Net. But for those who are wary about the dangers of giving personal and financial information over the Web, the following are a few tips that might help you make good decisions about what kind of information you should be sending to a potential policy provider, and what kinds of precautions you should take to make sure that information does not get into the wrong hands.
All the information you supply is encrypted and secured by the company you apply to. It won't be shared with other insurance providers unless you request that it be. Likewise, if credit history information is used in the generation of your car insurance quote, your credit score won't be affected.
Depending on the service, you are either given an instant free auto insurance quote, or you are contacted via email with several offers. In either case, your information is private and secure. Once you get a quote, you can choose to purchase the policy online or via ground mail. The company you've chosen will provide the details.
If your information is correct, you should get the rate you've been quoted. However, errors in your application or additional information gathered by the insurance company (like your credit score) may prompt them to change the quote.
Ensure encryption of your information: Make sure that the automotive insurance web site you are about to give your personal information to, encodes your information with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). This will encrypt your information into a secret code. All transfers of this data to any web site will be checked for authenticity and legitimacy. That means that the right web site to be receiving this information is also given the once over.
Check for maintenance of confidentiality: Any insurance company with the slightest concern for its online customers will also make an effort to mast the client's information once it's in their system. That means that the moat obvious information gets filtered so that all that you see of a credit card number, for example, is XXXX XXXX XXXX 7890.
Check for security measures taken internally by the online insurance providers: Your online automotive insurance provider should also provide you with information about the security measures they take internally to safeguard your information so that it does not get broken into by hackers. On a legitimate insurance policy site you will always be asked for a username and password - make it difficult for others to figure this out, there should be nothing obvious like your first name and birth date.
Personal interaction with the insurance company: While the first approach can be made over the Internet, personal interaction should also be undertaken. Buying an insurance cover will not happen entirely over the Web. Have someone call you from the insurance company to ask you questions about yourself so that they know it is really you. Only certain people should be allowed to access your insurance information, and those employees should be bound by a code of conduct that is strict enough to inflict severe penalties if a customer's privacy or the security of their information is breached in any way.
Shopping online is fast, easy, and convenient. You can start your application, save it, and finish later. And you'll get a free car insurance quote back immediately. Consumer advocates say the number one reason people overpay for auto insurance is that they don't shop around, but online you can get multiple free car insurance quotes from one application. So there is less of driving around insurance companies and more clicks of a button to get you the information you seek.
None thus far. It's convenient and inexpensive. However, if you're already carrying several other policies (like homeowners or RV insurance) with another provider, you may qualify for a discount on their auto insurance that would offset the savings of buying online.
Calculating the auto insurance quote
So just how is an auto insurance rate online calculated? In general terms most companies will try and spread costs as fairly as they can - this is down by a series of grouping. People are grouped based on related risk characteristics and these are determined using records and statistics to gauge for example the frequency and cost of auto accidents.
The processes involved in figuring out the rates for auto insurance may vary from one company to another but the factors to be considered before issuing the policy to you will be the same. There will be little shifting or manipulation to help you gain a cheaper rate, but it helps to know what eventually will affect your insurance premium:
Age: Statistics show that drivers less than 25 years of age figure most in the accidents that take place. Those who are between 50 and 65 years old have their share of experiences and statistically have fewer accidents. This group is therefore offered discounts on auto insurance rates
From 65 years of age and older the rates start rising again. As expected this is due to factors such as deteriorating vision and delayed reaction time. People in this age group are advised to remain with their current policy since it gets difficult to find an insurer to take them on.
Gender: Blame it on the genes. Statistics again prove that men figure more in accidents than women, and in cases of fatal accidents men are three times more likely to be involved in one. From this it can be deduced that the auto insurance rate online for young men will be higher than that for young women.
Marital status: Statistics come to the rescue again to prove that as a group, married men and women have fewer accidents than the singles. So for once being married might just save you some money.
Driving record: This can either lower your premium or burn a hole in your pocket. Usually an "at-fault" accident or a conviction will be held against you for up to three years. Obviously an accident where you were primarily responsible will mean a lot more than a simple traffic violation such as speeding. Companies are very strict when it comes to those charged of driving under the influence of alcohol, and drugs and often they are turned away.
For those who have been convicted and are struggling to take out a policy there is an option they can turn to - "assigned risk pools" otherwise known as "state-regulated insurance plans." If you fall in this category you cannot choose a company. Instead the state will assign the "risk" to an insurer. The coverage, however, might be sufficiently less than that required for complete liability protection.
Companies are also very wary of those who have not owned a car in 3 years, as this indirectly implies that you have not been driving for a similar period. This could sufficiently hike your online auto insurance rate.
Type of car: It is not just the drivers but also the vehicles that they drive which are grouped. Statistics show that cars of a certain make are bound to feature in more accidents, are more expensive when it comes to repair and maintenance, and are more targeted for theft. Therefore be conservative when selecting a car and choose wisely as falling short in these areas can maybe double collision and comprehensive insurance.
Mileage figures a lot as a factor. A higher mileage suggests you use your car often, which increases the risk an accident. Different states will have different rates, and in relation to this people who live in small towns are less likely to experience a serious collision than someone who lives in the city (costs for vehicle repair, medical care and legal services will also cheaper in a small town.). Added to that Credit ratings can also be factored in. A good credit rating could reduce your premiums.