The Dangers of Shopping for Insurance Online

Books. Batteries. Pizza. You can buy anything online now. You can comparison shop and bargain hunt as long as you wish, spend less time, maybe less money and choose from many options. Shopping online is a win-win proposition, right?

Not necessarily. Shopping for some products online — including insurance — can be a losing proposition.

The abundance of websites offering insurance quotes might lead you to think that shopping for insurance online is completely safe, but that’s not always the case. Following are a couple of scenarios to make you think twice about purchasing insurance online:


Are you not getting, or not knowing, what you need?

Always compare “apples to apples” to be sure policies are identical in every way. This isn’t always easy, especially online. You need to know what you want. And what you need.

Most online quoting systems default to the lowest coverage amounts and leave out options such as roadside assistance. If you don’t pay attention, you won’t be guided to other options as you would if you were dealing with an experienced agent familiar with your situation. You may get attractive quotes but you probably won’t have adequate coverage or will have less coverage than you have had previously.

Some online insurers encourage you to click through without examining options, and will provide quotes that are cheaper than what you’ve had. And you might have to comb through the FAQs to find answers to your questions, if you find them at all.

Beware of websites promoting “name your own price” tools. You can name your price, but 99% of the time, you’ll end up with a bare bones policy with the lowest coverage limits available.

For example, in the case of bodily injury coverage, you may pay $30 monthly for limits of $25,000 to $50,000. But you’re hardly saving if you cause an accident and cause injury to someone and are responsible for their $200,000 medical bills. With an agent, you’ll be well informed, will know what options you need, why you need them, and in what amounts.

The Internet is an extraordinary tool, but not for buying insurance. Buy the wrong sized sweater online? Send it back. Buy the wrong policy online? There are no refunds, and you may suffer consequences for a long time.