Since more consumers are shopping online, many insurance clients and companies have been told or think that insurance agents may no longer be needed. After all, if an insurance agent was not involved and a policy could be purchased directly online, then an insurance policy would (theoretically) cost less. Right?
Before a decision is made to buy insurance online without the assistance of an insurance agent, here are some factors you as an insurance consumer should consider.
In 2016 a J.D. Power study found that although many consumers initially use an insurer or marketplace website to obtain an insurance quote, there are several important issues:
- Of the 74% of consumers that use an insurer or marketplace website to obtain quotes, only 25% buy insurance online. Bottom line − a website, virtual agent, mobile app, or call center is not a good agent replacement when handling a complex product like insurance. Consumers still want and need to talk to a knowledgeable person to get answers to insurance questions.
- Although it is tempting to think of insurance as a simple commodity, it is a complex commodity and one size does not fit all. There are several types of coverage, deductibles, and options. Mandated coverage differs from state-to-state, rates and discounts differ from company to company, and each consumer’s circumstances are unique. Since insurance consumers are not often familiar with insurance products or coverages, they are seldom prepared to make qualified risk assessments of their personal needs. Do you know what type of questions you would want to have answered in the event you have an accident or claim?
- A good agent will get to know his/her client and their needs and will be able to offer direct answers to their questions.
Before deciding to buy insurance online, make sure to ask yourself how you feel about the following questions:
- Has the online application or call center representative mentioned or discussed the pros and cons of different insurance coverages and limit options?
- If you happen to have a claim, would you feel more comfortable working with an insurance representative that knows you and can find answers to your questions? Or with a different call center representative each time you call.
- Has the insurance application or call center representative been able to offer comparison quotes from several companies?
Technology is a good thing and today’s modern insurance agent uses the most up-to-date technology every day. They do this to improve a consumer’s buying experience and to find the best possible rate they can find for their clients.
So, before you decide to purchase insurance online, keep in mind that in most cases a qualified insurance agent will be able to find an insurance policy for you at a competitive price. And during that process your agent will offer the knowledge, service, and personal attention you as an insurance consumer should have when making an informed insurance decision.