Hello! I'm Dan Lyles with Lyles Insurance. And in this video we're going to go over the do's and don'ts of buying auto insurance online.
Shopping online is a great way to find auto insurance. But you need to know where to look and where not to look when you search online. If you go to the right site, you might find the right coverage you need at a good price. But if you go to the wrong site, you're probably
going to run into some problems. It boils down to the luck of a click if you don't know what to look for.
The single biggest problem of searching for auto insurance online is that the websites that you should stay away from tend to dominate the top of the search engine rankings, whether it's Google or Bing or anybody else. Meanwhile, the websites that can be the most helpful tend to get buried down in deeper pages to where you don't see them. And that's something you've got to be very well aware of. And I'll talk more about that later.
So let's first get into the don'ts because this is very important. There are three types of websites that you should avoid. Number one, dealing directly with an auto insurance company. There's three problems with that. Number one, it eliminates the agent, which I'll get into later. Number two, it's not time efficient to quote with one company at a time. There are hundreds of auto insurance companies in almost every state. So why waste your time quoting with just one company? It doesn't make sense. Number three, there's no flexibility in handling a customer with special policy needs.
Number two, clicking on a lead generation site. And I've got a lot more to say about lead generation sites. But for now, just understand that they use misleading and sometimes unethical tactics. And they don't really sell auto insurance at all.
The third type of website you should avoid are the ones that are posting ads. These are found when you do a Google or Bing search or whoever. They're usually at the top and the bottom of the search engine pages to where you can't miss them. The problem is that the vast majority of these ads come from the areas I just mentioned; direct companies and lead generation sites. And that's the problem. Those two both have deep pockets, and they push out the agents and agencies that you need to be talking to, that can't afford to compete with the money they spend towards these ads. And that's why it's important to be aware of what's an ad and what's ranked naturally.
Now let's go over lead generation sites. As I mentioned, they don't sell auto insurance at all (although their websites often appear as if they do). And what they do is, they simply collect your quote information. But instead of running a quote and selling a policy to you like an agent or agency would, what they do is, they take your quote information and sell it to other third-party auto insurance agents. And there's where the problem is. Sometimes they sell it to a lot of agents. And like I said about their website. They kind of disguise themselves to make themselves look like an actual agency or an insurance company. If you get a quote at one of these sites, your phone's going to blow up, I'm telling you! And it may take days, weeks, or even months before it stops. So stay away from lead generation sites.
So how would you know if you ran into a lead generation site? Well, the good news is, they're very easy to spot once you know what to look for. And the key here is to just avoid the anonymous. If they don't have a “NAP” (which is name, address, phone number in the business world). If they don't have a name, address and phone number listed on their website, that's a dead giveaway! A name, address and phone number should always be placed in one of two places. Either right on the home page or some agents like to put it on the “About Us” page. Either one is fine. But if you don't see them on either, that's usually a big indication that you've ran into a lead generation site. So if you don't see name address and phone number in either of those places, RUN!
Now let's talk about some of the websites that can be helpful, and find the best auto insurance policy for you. First, we're going to start with independent agents. And what that means is, an independent agent doesn't work for just one company. They sell auto insurance for multiple companies. And the best thing about quoting with them: Number one, it's very time efficient. You get quotes from multiple companies at once versus getting quotes one company at a time, like you do when you quote directly with a company. Number two, you get advice from a knowledgeable agent, not a clueless customer service rep that these direct companies like to use. All they do is follow a sales script. And they have the company's best
interest in mind, not yours. Number three, your info is kept private and not shared like with a lead generation site. And number four, an independent agent has a lot of flexibility with customers having special policy needs. For example, let's say you need a SR22 filing, or let's say you need to have a driver excluded. Not all companies do that. And that's where an independent agent can be very helpful.
So I've gone over the benefits of quoting with an independent agent. Now let's talk about quoting online with a captive agent or agency. For most of you, an independent agent is going to be the better choice. However, for a small percentage of you, a captive agent might be just what you need. But they have some limitations that an independent agent don't have. So let's go over those real quick. It's just a couple pros and cons. The pro is: You get advice from a knowledgeable agent just like you do with an independent agent. And your info is kept private and not shared. Again, that's completely different than what's going to happen with a lead generation site. The limitations of a captive agent though: It's not time
efficient as I mentioned, to quote with one company at a time. And if you have special policy needs that that company can't handle, then a captive agent…. they're stuck! They can't help you. So they don't have the flexibility of switching companies like an independent
Finally, let's go over some do’s and helpful tips. Number one, input longer more descriptive search engine queries. What a query is the actual words you type into a search box when you're searching online. Short queries, they tend to bring the most of the lead generation sites and direct companies. If you do a little longer, more descriptive queries, it's going to cut the number of those down. It won't get rid of it, but it will help. Number two, search farther down in the search engine rankings as I mentioned before. The agencies that you're looking for may or may not be on page one. So don't be afraid to click on pages farther down. Number three, if you're ever unsure about a website, and whether or not it's legit, simply do a search and look them up. You can find out a lot of information about them. Finally, if you get a quote, don't be afraid to ask your agent if you don't understand anything. That's what they're there for, to help you understand the coverage and coverage levels That's the benefit of having an agent instead of dealing directly with a company.
So I hope this has taught you what you need to know about where to look and where not to look. I hope this has helped you and you've learned something. Thank you for watching. And have a great day!
Link from video: Auto Insurance Page
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..