Technology is indeed changing the way we operate in the world. For instance, people who used to take taxis are now using Uber, and people who used to stay in hotels are now using AirBnB. Technology is also changing the world of auto insurance.
Using On Board Diagnostics, auto insurance companies like Allstate, Progressive, and State Farm are able to monitor driver’s habits in order to better assess clients’ risk levels. It is estimated that over 155 million cars in North America are already equipped with this ability to monitor when people drive, how fast they drive, and how often they drive, a number that is certain to grow as older cars are replaced by newer ones. For those who drive well, this could mean big savings on premiums.
Some even believe that as self-driving cars take to the road, premiums will drop lower as the responsibility for good driving is taken out of the hands of motorists and placed upon autonomous, computerized vehicles. Yet while highways filled with self-driving cars is still a few years off, technology has already changed the way people interact with their insurance carriers and how they select their insurance policies.
It used to be that people would go to an insurance office to speak with either an independent or a captive agent in order to select their policies. Independent agents would research a number of insurance carrier rates based on the driver’s needs and offered objective information about which would work best for the driver’s coverage and bank account, while captive agents would work directing for one insurance carrier and offer the best coverage available offered by that particular company. While those agents do still exist, the Internet has offered up more options for drivers in need of policies.
Consumers are now empowered to research and review a variety of insurance companies and policies from the comfort of their own home or on their smartphone. Moreover, after drivers do their due diligence and find the right policies, they can purchase them directly without having to go through an intermediary. While some still do prefer having an actual human agent, more and more people are cutting out the middleman and getting insured online, where they can enter their specific parameters and consider a variety of quotes.
Price comparison websites aggregate a number of different insurance companies and what they have to offer so that drivers don’t have to search site by site to find the best deal. Beyond the convenience and ability to research as much as they like, many drivers are also purchasing insurance online for the savings. Where insurance agents collect ten percent or more of the policyholders’ payments, larger insurance companies are able to offer the same protection at a discounted price.
Selling insurance policies directly has doubled in the past twenty years as people have been empowered to go right to the company and cut out the agents. Yet many still prefer the personal touch of an agent. While technology certainly has allowed drivers more access to information and the ability purchase their own policies, there is still a lot to be said about the human interaction and expert advice of an agent, as well as having someone to call directly instead of a person at a phone bank. Although agents tend to have higher premiums in order to be compensated, many people are much better able to understand their policy options when having it explained to them instead of merely reading it online.
Whether you decide to get your insurance online or through an agent, be sure to fully educate yourself on your minimum insurance requirements and how you will be covered in case of an accident. And for a quick reference for typical Florida automotive insurance policies and the amount of coverage you can expect, refer to our Insurance Price Comparison Chart before you begin your search.