A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products, including home, life, auto, and commercial, and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, mainly in the insuranc...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers Insurance CSR 4 Years

UPDATED: Oct 19, 2021

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Buying auto insurance can be more confusing than learning trigonometry especially if you are not sure how to do it. Dealing with an insurance agent or buying it online can differ in many ways, but purchasing auto insurance online does have some advantages.

Click here to type your ZIP code into our FREE search tool to begin comparing car insurance rates today!

If you feel more comfortable dealing with a live person, then you may want to contact your local insurance agent and schedule a meeting in order to have that one-on-one contact. However, if you are web savvy, then shopping around online could be more practical for you by offering a little more control on what you are purchasing.

Compare Quotes without Leaving Your Living Room

Not everyone has the ideal schedule. Most local insurance agencies are only open during the hours that most people are unavailable because they, too, are at work.

It can be very inconvenient to take time off work, drive through lunchtime traffic, sit in the waiting room, and then muddle through the tons of different types of policies that are available.

According to J.D. Powers in 2010, 54% of new car owners shopped online for auto insurance quotes before purchasing a policy over the Internet while only 28% of new car owners purchased policies from actual insurance agents. In 2011, that number declined to 19%.

The World Wide Web has become an extensive part of everyday life for millions of people. This has helped to encourage companies to make their websites as user friendly as possible. By allowing potential customers to search their websites and easily gather information without the hassles of being in an actual office while sharing personal information, those potential customers become paying customers who are not only likely to renew their policies but recommend that insurer’s website and products to their friends and families.

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Get the Same Discounts Online that are Offered by Insurance Agents

Everyone loves a discount. From clipping coupons to redeeming credit card reward points, discounts have the ability to make or break most financial decisions.

Auto insurance is not immune to offering surprisingly good discounts. When reviewing an insurance policy, always check for any type of discount that you may qualify for. Even if you think it is too small to matter, every dollar you do not have to spend can add up to a tidy sum of money that remains in your wallet.

Discounts come in a wide array of areas. The most common discounts to look for are:

  • The safety features that are equipped in your vehicle such as anti-lock brakes or airbags
  • Anti-theft features such as ignitions that require keys with computer chips
  • The mileage on the vehicle as well as the amount of mileage you expect to add to it during the upcoming year.

Your driving record

Other discounts that are not so commonly known are those that apply if you have a membership to a recognized professional organization such as your local Farmer’s Bureau. If you have taken a defensive driving course, this can also apply as a discount.

The biggest contributor to a significant discount is your driving record. The better your record as a safe driver, the more of a discount you could receive. If your driving record reflects that you have had no violations in the last 36 months, you could reduce your payments by up to 40%.

These discounts apply to consumers who purchase their policies with an agent or online. However, be aware that when purchasing it online, you must take the initiative to seek out every avenue of a discount as well as the proper required coverage for your vehicle.

You are, essentially, your own insurance agent when you decide to follow the path of online auto insurance.

A Basic Auto Insurance Policy Covers Six Main Areas

Not every state in this country requires auto insurance, but for those states that do, it is extremely important to know what the regulations are in order to purchase the correct type of policy coverage. The Insurance Information Institute (III) provides the answer to what is covered by a basic policy.

  • Bodily Injury is the damage that you (the driver) cause to another person.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) pays for any medical treatment for injuries caused to the driver and passengers of the car.
  • Property Damage Liability pays for the damage that you have caused to the other person’s property, including but not limited to, their vehicle.
  • Collision pays the damage caused by your car hitting another car and comes with a deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage is what repays you for theft or damage to your car (other than a collision) which also comes with a deductible.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage reimburses you if you have a collision with someone who has little or no auto insurance.

Of these six items, collision protection is important to note since it determines the deductible that you will pay. In layman’s terms, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium. The premium is the cost of your auto insurance. This also applies to comprehensive coverage.

When shopping online for auto insurance, be sure that the policy you may potentially be purchasing includes these six very important basic pieces of coverage. If the policy does not, you may consider looking elsewhere.

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Use Your Credit Cards on Secure Servers

Security is one of the most important factors when making an online purchase. No one wants their personal information stolen and their bank accounts comprised. Companies who offer online purchasing of their products are fully aware of this. Secure servers are becoming extremely commonplace.

Before entering your credit card information, look for the secure server icon and rest easy that your information is safe.

The technology trends in society are changing at a rapid pace. Not only can you research and purchase your car insurance online, but insurance companies also offer even more services for the convenience of their customers by providing secure applications for iPhones, courtesy text messages, and online chatting with a service representative for questions that might be slightly difficult to find answers to on the web.

For those of us who do not always have the time to log in to the website to view our policies or pay the monthly installment, many car insurance companies are now offering applications for Smartphones that allow customers to view, search, and pay for their policies right from their phone.

As with all things, the consumer must take responsibility for their purchases. Before buying anything online, always be sure to do some research on that particular company. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) should be your top resource when verifying the validity of any online company.

According to the BBB, reliability reports on almost any legitimate company can be found and viewed online at the BBB website and is free to the public. This will allow you to review all complaints that may have been levied against the company and if there are any government actions that have been served against it. The BBB also assigns its own rating of the company based on stringent criteria.

Print Your Insurance Policy Cards from Home

Buying a policy online affords you the benefit of completing the process at your convenience. This means that there is no waiting period before you receive your insurance cards. Once your purchase is complete, you can print your insurance cards immediately. You could also print as many of them as you need in case you would like to keep an extra one in your wallet, at home, or give one to your spouse for safekeeping.

Buying auto insurance online offers paperless billing discounts while going green.

Everyone is going green now. Being ecologically friendly has become a priority. By reducing the amount of paper we consume, the environment is helped significantly. Purchasing your insurance policy online offers the added benefit of helping the environment and the economy as well as providing another one of those wonderful, but sometimes hidden, discounts.

Take Your Time

Do not rush. Yes, auto insurance is as necessary to our lives as oxygen, but rushing into purchasing the first policy you are approved for does not mean that it is the best one.

There are many fraudulent companies who hide behind the Internet and take advantage of the invisibility that it can provide. When searching online for your auto insurance, be sure to take the time to gather the necessary information that proves the company is not a fake.

When shopping online for the best auto insurance, look for sites that provide free business information to consumers. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), provides an extensive amount of information on auto, home, and business insurance agencies and can offer a detailed breakdown of how the insurance world operates.

For a FREE auto insurance quote, enter your ZIP code right here and start saving today!