Shopping for Car Insurance

Your company’s website matters. In fact it matters a lot, and can be the difference between winning or losing a customer.

Tonight I sat down at my computer to research car insurance, since I need specific SR22 non owner insurance. I searched sites like Forbes, Edmunds and J.D. Power to narrow down my choices to the highest rated companies.  Then I visited each company to request a quote, and this is where things began to fall apart for most companies.

Years ago you had to speak with an agent in order to get a quote, and some companies still believe in this model because they provide only a soft quote. The policy must be reviewed, or I have to wait for an email or call before my policy can be finalized.

Don’t waste my time.

That attitude might have flown in 90’s, but not today. I know exactly what type and amount of coverage I need for the two cars we own. I don’t want to wait around for someone to call me. I want to get a quote, schedule coverage and pay for it. With as little hassle as possible.

I’m hesitant to recommend any companies, but I know people are going to ask me what company I eventually selected. Before I get to that I was perfectly happy with my previous insurance company, Response Insurance. They embraced the idea of interacting with them online years before others got their act together. I filed three or four small claims with them online and was impressed with their level of service each time.

I would have stayed with Response had they not been bought by Kemper Direct who decided a good way to keep me as a customer was to “customize” my policy that resulted in nearly doubling my rates for, what I could tell, was the same coverage I had with Response.

As for my recommendations: If you or anyone in your family is or was in the military, go with USAA and be done with it. Everyone I talk to loves this company and it’s at or near the top of every rating I came across. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an option for me.

I also recommend looking at Amica Mutual and Erie Insurance, although Erie is only available in a few eastern states. Both scored consistently high in most reviews. A Forbes review said “Most companies try to find a way out of paying a claim but these two companies try to find ways to pay your claim.”

I ended up going with The Hartford. I didn’t know it at the time but they rate #1 in J.D. Power’s “Auto Insurance Purchase Experience”, and it’s easy to see why. Their website is clean and easy to navigate. I love how they use DMV records to pull in the details on the cars I own as well as the registered drivers of those cars into their quote system. That’s just slick.

I was able to select exactly the coverage I wanted on the date I wanted and pay for it immediately. They offer a number of payment options as well. Within minutes I was able to login to my account and review my coverage. They were not the least expensive option, but that wasn’t my only focus.

I’m starting to sound like the Hartford paid me to write this review so I’ll shut it down.

The Hartford won my business by embracing tech savvy car insurance shoppers instead of forcing me into the old agent/insured model.

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