Is Purchasing Homeowners Insurance Online Really a Good Idea?
The world of insurance has changed significant over the past few decades. There was a time when visiting or calling your local property-casualty insurance agent was the only way to purchase a new policy. However, new technological advancements have made it possible to not only shop for coverage, but purchase it right over the internet. But is buying online homeowners insurance really the best idea?
The Process of Buying Homeowners Insurance Policies
Individuals who purchase homes are typically required to purchase homeowners insurance policies if they choose to finance. Of course, taking out coverage on your property should be a priority under any circumstance to ensure you can afford to pay for lost or damaged items in the event of theft or natural disasters.
So what is the process of buying a policy? It varies a bit depending on whether you choose to purchase it over the internet, or with an insurance agent over the phone or in person.
If you’re buying your coverage over the internet, you can shop for home insurance by visiting various insurance company websites and requesting individual quotes. On the other hand, if want to work directly with an insurance agent, you drive to a location or call and request a quote that way.
After you’ve found a company that offers the coverage you’re looking for based on factors such as price, coverage amounts and claims reputation, you can purchase your insurance and instantly enjoy having your home financially protected.
Pros and Cons of Online Homeowners Insurance
Over the past couple of decades, many home insurance companies have shifted a portion of their business to the internet, making it possible for shoppers to find and purchase coverage from the comfort of their homes, but this approach does offer both pros and cons:
Advantages of Online Homeowners Insurance
- Fast quote comparisons: Shopping around for a home insurance quote is faster when doing so online because the middle man is eliminated from the process. Not to mention, you don’t have to spend gas money and time driving to various locations, or wait for a representative to speak with you on the phone.
- Purchase the coverage online: Another benefit of the online experience is being able to not just shop around for quotes, but actually buy your coverage from the comfort of your home.
- Extra discounts: Many insurance companies offer consumers home insurance discounts for purchasing their coverage online as opposed to buying it at an office location.
- Use online glossaries: Some companies provide online glossaries or FAQ sections that offer detailed information on various aspects of the policies you’re looking to purchase. This way, you can feel better informed about coverage before agreeing to buy a policy.
Downsides to Purchasing Online Homeowners Insurance
- Customer service: Often times, consumers complain that they don’t receive the same level of customer service when purchasing a policy online because they don’t have a person available to walk them through the process. However, some companies remedy this issue by offering online representatives.
- Paperwork hassles: Because companies aren’t able to have you sit in the office and sign your paperwork, some may have you complete the documents via mail. In most cases, the coverage becomes effective the moment you pay, but if you forget to sign a page before mailing your policy information back, you may not have your coverage for long.
- Sharing sensitive information: Purchasing a policy online requires that you share sensitive information, including your Social Security number and bank or credit card information over the internet. Because of the inherent dangers of sharing personal information online, many steer clear of the online purchase option.
After weeding through the pros and cons of online shopping, it still may not be clear whether shopping online is the best route. In this case, it’s good to interact with companies over the internet as well as in person to make the determination.
Finding Great Homeowners Insurance Quotes Online
If you’ve decided that you want to purchase your coverage through a company’s website, it’s good to know how to find the best homeowners insurance quotes online.
First, you always want to shop around with as many companies as possible. Most large insurers offer instant quotes over the internet. However, some quotes often change after the company has had a chance to run your Social Security number and other personal information.
After you’ve checked quotes and run across a few you like, check the companies’ reputations. You can check an insurer’s financial strength from top ratings companies like A.M. Best Company, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s.
Also, explore their overall business ratings with your state’s Department of Insurance, and don’t forget to look for customer ratings to find out how they treat customers and manage claims.
Finally, you want to ensure that the company is offering the coverage amounts and services that make you feel that your home will be truly protected. After this is all completed you can rest assured that you’ve not only found the best homeowners insurance online quote, but a great insurance company as well.