Tag Archives: Michelle Johnson

What Is the Future of Comparison Sites?

It’s no surprise that in the last few years how consumers shop for car insurance has changed drastically. Third-party comparison sites that provide car insurance quotes have taken the industry by storm, giving consumers the ability to shop, review and switch insurers faster than ever. But what does the rise of these sites mean to customers, and to insurance agencies as a whole? And where does car insurance shopping go from here?

Consumer Must-Knows

Getting a car insurance quote online through a comparison site may seem hassle-free, more efficient and more relevant, but as the industry evolves there are two main points consumers must be aware of:

1. Hassle-Free Doesn’t Mean Quicker or Accurate:
One of the main customer value propositions of car insurance comparison sites is their ability to quickly provide insurance quotes for a variety of companies that sell in a consumer’s geographical location. The problem is that to truly get an accurate car insurance quote, consumers must be willing to provide more details than sites that generate quotes request.

For example, most comparison sites provide quotes after a consumer has put in first name, last name, Zip code, age and car details. Using public rate filings from sample data, these sites then provide an estimate of what your average annual rate may be. What this fails to take into consideration is all of the unique variables that companies use to determine your risk profile, which ultimately determines your premium.

In addition, no comparison site currently covers the whole car insurance market. Consumers that go to three different comparison sites will typically not only be shown different providers in their area, but also different prices for the same company. This is because comparison sites often have deals that prioritize partner companies over cheaper and better options.

See also: The New Age of Insurance Aggregators  

Consumers are only being shown select companies, and those companies’ quotes are most likely inaccurate. So consumers are going to multiple car insurance companies, filling out numerous driver profiles and then comparing the rates they are being shown. This can be more time-consuming than simply calling one, two or even three companies to get a direct quote.

2. Cheapest Doesn’t Mean Best
With third-party comparison and review sites putting the strongest focus on which companies provide the cheapest insurance, getting the right insurance coverage has taken a backseat. While using comparison sites may result in paying less, it can also result in being underinsured. Having the proper car insurance coverage ultimately is a step toward financial protection.

Take a driver who opts for the cheapest coverage, which only includes the state’s minimum car insurance limits of 25/50/25. Let’s say that driver is found to be at fault in an accident that causes $35,000 of injury to the other party. It is up to the driver to then pay $10,000 out of pocket to cover the difference between what the insurance company has insured them for and the cost of the damages done.

One problem with comparison sites is that prices for higher coverage limits are not shown because they aren’t the cheapest option. Consumers must not be tricked into thinking the cheapest companies are the ones best-suited for them. Instead, consumers should find a policy with enough coverage to fully insure them and their financial assets, and then turn toward the tools available to them for saving money for that policy.

How Comparison Shopping Affects Car Insurance Companies

Not only are customers being affected by comparison sites, but so are car insurance companies themselves, with there now being a fierce need for competitive prices. Never before has it been so easy for consumers to find rates at just a click of a button. And while there is a concern over the accuracy of these rates that are being shown, it doesn’t take away the fact that customers are seeing these prices, and insurance companies are having to take that into consideration.

How do companies combat getting a call from a customer who has seen a quote for $200 less than what that company can actually offer? Some have become exclusive partners with insurance shopping engines, possibly under the assumption that, if you can’t beat them, join them. Others are working to make sure their logo, their rates and their brand aren’t being displayed. But at the end of the day, neither of these are benefiting the customer.

What Insurance Shopping Looks Like 5 Years Down the Road

There is no doubt that consumers have preferred the ability to compare, review and get quotes from a number of companies in a matter of minutes. But it’s only a matter of time before the perceived ease of use wears off. For comparison sites to truly succeed, one of two things will need to happen.

  1. A site will need to build personal relationships with all of the top brands. Until then, we can expect that rates will be inaccurate and that insurance companies will be listed by comparison site’s bias toward their exclusive partners and not by what’s best for the customer.
  2. A comparison site will need to be just that but for other comparison sites in the insurance industry. Yes, you heard right. For the comparison business model to work in the insurance vertical, a comparison site will need to compare quotes, offerings, discounts and top companies being listed on other comparison sites. And while prices still may not be 100% accurate due to the nature of how insurance rates are determined, this could potentially solve the solution of company bias.

See also: Waves of Change in Digital Expectations  

Because we don’t see companies such as State Farm, which only allows its appointed agents to to sell their product, ever agreeing to option number one, we have to suspect option number two is the next best solution. Is it a perfect solution? No.

Comparison site shopping as we know it will have to change in the next five years. How? We will have to wait and see.

7 Tools for Cutting Insurance Costs in 2016

Pondering New Year’s resolutions? Check out these seven helpful insurance calculator tools:

If you’re like most Americans, one of your New Year’s resolutions probably involves cutting spending in the coming year. But, rather than planning to avoid expensive shopping sprees, consider saving money in other ways – like reevaluating your insurance coverage. This may seem like an overwhelming amount of work, but you don’t need to spend hours on the phone to find out if you can save money.

Instead of jumping right in with insurance quotes, consider using insurance calculators to get started – they require less personal information while still providing accurate estimates based on your needs. These seven insurance calculators are a great place to begin if you want to save money in 2016.


  1. Bankrate: Auto Calculators

To get an idea of how much you’ll be paying in car-related expenses every month, Bankrate provides you with a wide variety of automotive expense calculators. Once you have an estimate of how much you can save each month based on your interest rate and auto loan term length, you can then more accurately plan your auto insurance budget.

Additionally, while Bankrate focuses a lot of its research on automotive expenses, you can also learn more about home and retirement insurance plans with its other financial planning calculators.

  1. CarInsurance.com: Car Insurance Calculators

CarInsurance.com offers in-depth information about all areas of car insurance. The simple and organized layout of the calculator interface gives users easy-to-read results, and it provides additional explanations on overall cost and coverage.

The CarInsurance.com calculator section also serves to connect visitors to other informative resources that can help make lowering their car insurance premiums much easier.

  1. The Hartford: Car Insurance Coverage Calculator

The Hartford car insurance coverage calculator avoids using ballpark estimates, meaning that it requires specific details about your coverage needs to create a more relevant figure. While it does ask more questions than some of the other insurance calculators on this list, it is still an efficient and quick way to get customized results.

The Hartford calculator page also provides links to relevant articles that discuss different available benefits and options for auto insurance.

  1. HomeInsurance.com: Home Insurance Calculator

This basic calculator requires you to answer only three simple questions – ZIP code, square footage and home layout – to get an idea of how much coverage you need. The calculator also provides higher coverage ranges and explains the protection you can expect from each type of plan.

If you have questions about coverage terminology, the HomeInsurance.com calculator offers an extensive FAQ section.

  1. Liberty Mutual: Home and Auto Insurance Coverage Calculators

With an extremely user-friendly and visually appealing platform, the Liberty Mutual home and auto insurance calculators ask simple questions about your life to help you determine which plan is right for you. The home insurance coverage calculator tells you which areas you should be spending more to protect, while the auto insurance calculator allows you to see suggestions for towing and rental coverage. The major elements of the calculator are adjustable, making it easy to customize the estimate to reflect your needs.

  1. Geico: Coverage Coach

Like the Liberty Mutual tools, the Geico Coverage Coach offers estimates for auto and home insurance, but this calculator does both at once. The calculator gives accurate coverage estimates for a wide variety of demographics, and the platform is straightforward and engaging — it takes just a couple minutes to fill out the seven simple questions.

  1. Allstate: Insurance Calculator Tools

Allstate’s insurance calculator tools address all your major coverage needs, including auto, home, life and retirement. The calculators come with all the information necessary to help you decide which plans will work best for you and your family. Additionally, the thorough platform acts as an all-in-one learning center for the most common questions about various types of coverage.

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It’s not hard to figure out where you can save money on your current coverage policies. Try these seven insurance calculator tools to find the best home, automotive and life insurance coverage to suit your budget for the coming year. Once you’ve done some preliminary research, you can start seriously shopping for home coverage, life insurance and automotive protection.

Know someone who is looking for ways to cut down on expenses in 2016? Share this post!

5 Insurance Apps to Download Today

Forward-thinking insurance companies are leveraging technology to improve customer experience and differentiate themselves from the competition. Here are the top five insurance apps you should download today, to help with tasks ranging from creating a home inventory to improving your driving skills.

  1. Home Gallery App
    Cost:
    Free
    Benefit: Helps you create a home inventory

A home inventory makes filing an insurance claim easier should your things be stolen or damaged. It also gives you an estimate of how much your possessions are worth, which is helpful when you shop for homeowners insurance. Fortunately, the Home Gallery app from Liberty Mutual makes cataloging your possessions a cinch. The app allows you to take photos of your items, note important information such as purchase price and date and share your inventory with family members or your insurer. Best yet, you can use the Home Gallery app whether or not you’re a Liberty Mutual customer.

  1. Driver Feedback App
    Cost:
    Free
    Benefit: Gives you information to become a better driver

State Farm’s Driver Feedback app helps you become aware of driving habits that increase your chance of being involved in an accident, which could raise your auto insurance premium. The app uses your smartphone’s accelerometer and GPS locator to collect data about how you brake, corner and accelerate. Once you arrive at your destination, the app gives you a score for your trip and offers tips about how to improve your driving.

Using the Driver Feedback app, you can also compare data from one trip with another and share the results via email or text. These features can help new drivers form good driving habits and allow parents to monitor their teen’s performance behind the wheel. Plus, using a driving app is one way your teen might reduce her auto insurance premium. You don’t need to be insured with State Farm to use the app, and your driving data isn’t shared with your insurance company.

  1. Text4Baby App
    Cost:
    Free
    Benefit:
    Provides tips to help expectant moms stay healthy during pregnancy

The Text4Baby app provides pregnant women with a wealth of information to help them have a healthy pregnancy and avoid preventable complications. When a mom signs up, she receives a “starter pack” of messages. Then, every week, she receives three text messages about prenatal care, ranging from doctor appointment reminders to information about symptoms that could warrant concern.

Major insurance providers, like Aetna, CIGNA and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, are Text4Baby “outreach partners.” This means the companies encourage expectant moms to use the app to stay healthy, which can reduce the chance of complications that can make pregnancy-related costs skyrocket.

  1. Infinity App
    Cost:
    Free
    Benefit:
    Allows you to create a secure digital inventory

The MetLife Infinity app gives you the power to create a digital inventory of photos, videos and audio files, plus important documents like wills and insurance policies. The app stores as much as five GB of data in the cloud, and it’s password-protected and permanently backed up. You can organize your information in collections and securely share the information with anyone, from a family member to your insurance agent. You can take advantage of the app even if you’re not a MetLife policyholder.

  1. Defend Your Income
    Cost:
    Free
    Benefit: Explains how a disability can affect your life

Defend Your Income is an online game produced by the Council for Disability Awareness. Its goal is to help you understand how a disability may affect your life. Throughout the game you defend yourself from health-related issues like pregnancy complications, cancer, and respiratory disease. After you complete each round, you answer trivia questions and learn miscellaneous facts about the disability.

By the end of the game, you’re more aware of your disability likelihood and have an idea of how much income you could lose if you become disabled. This information is useful when you’re calculating the amount of disability insurance you need.

These apps are transforming the insurance industry by elevating customer service to a new level. Download one or more of them and then share your experience. We’d love to hear your thoughts.