All shopping online carries certain risks that have nothing to do with your personal privacy. Whether buying socks, clocks, or car insurance, the opportunity to have interaction with a real person adds a dimension of accountability to the transaction that can get lost online.
Certainly, scam artists do as much in-person work as ever, but most of the time when you deal with someone whose living depends on a good reputation, this element is removed from the transaction. With car insurance, this need to contact a real person is even more important.
Your insurance needs are not always simple.
Online insurance buying assumes that most customers are buying vanilla when they purchase car insurance. In order to work right, this type of insurance sales depends on a customer base that is either very knowledgeable about what is needed, or the customers simply do not care. These last customers see all insurance as the same.
The reality of most buying is that each customer brings at least a small amount of personal need to the table. The variation is extremely difficult to convey when purchasing car insurance online.
The customer’s knowledge of car insurance is often weak.
Unless you are an insurance agent or broker, you probably do not immediately know the state liability requirements for your car insurance. It is unlikely that most people have a good grasp of the difference between uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage.
Other key insurance terms like medical insurance for your passengers, what is covered by comprehensive insurance beside glass breakage, and what towing insurance covers usually are not on the tip of your tongue. Without a live agent to explain these and determine your needs, you can quickly be under insured or grossly over insured.
No one is going to take the time to explain your policy to you after it is issued.
Once you complete your purchase of online car insurance, you will not have additional contact with the seller unless you see a problem when your policy arrives. If you are like most people, the envelope will be opened. Once the policy is seen inside, it will be stored until needed. The cards will be removed and put into the glove box of your car. Your policy will remain unread.
The reason for this is that the declarations page can be hard to decipher. The detail that follows is written in difficult legalese that is nearly impossible to really understand. Key words like “actual cash value” and “replacement cost” can make the difference between getting a small amount for an older car and actually getting enough money to replace it following an accident or theft.
Making a claim can be much harder if insurance is purchased online.
Without an agent to help push your claim along, you are a faceless name and number with no real human attached. No one will feel personally committed to helping you when problems arise. Even if you do not face a claim situation, making corrections to problems with the policy or adding more drivers or cars can be a nightmare without a real human being to hold your hand through the process.