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Is it safe to buy auto insurance online?

Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...
  • Buying auto insurance online can be reasonably safe, but there are concerns to consider
  • Understanding certain security drawbacks makes it easier to avoid pitfalls
  • Following up with a phone call or other contact is necessary to acquire proof of coverage immediately after buying online

Buying auto insurance is easier now than it ever has been in the past. Yes, those who want to visit insurance broker offices in person still reserve that option.

Potential buyers who prefer to simply call up a broker on the phone to acquire a policy are able to do so without any worries.

In-person and phone call buys might be cumbersome in some customer’s eyes. No worries here, a modern option is comfortably in place for those interested in taking out a new auto insurance policy. The process of comparing policies and buying online is the new norm for many.

Is buying auto insurance online acceptable and comfortable for everyone? No, not all potential buyers of auto insurance are sold on the idea of buying online. Old habits and ways of doing things do not change easily. Buying online just is not their thing.

And then you have people who are not sure about buying online. They might be seriously considering doing so but are worried about the safety of buying an auto insurance policy through the internet.

Honestly, buying online is generally safe but a few wise steps should be taken when doing so.

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Major Auto Insurance Companies and Credibility

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If there were anything that should boost credibility in the process of buying auto insurance online, it would be the simple fact that several of the top auto insurance sellers in the industry are set up for online purchasing.

When a major, multi-billion dollar company sets its website up for online purchases, a buyer can feel confident that the company has designed the sales process to protect consumers.

Such is not the case with every online entity, though.

Dubious Online Sites Exist

Not everyone chooses to buy directly from a major insurer by way of the company’s website. Comparison shopping is incredibly important to many buyers and for good reason. Proper comparison shopping ensures the best rates are acquired.

Numerous exceptional online insurance hubs do facilitate the ability to access a number of great quotes.

Unfortunately, a dubious third-party entity could set itself up online with promises about finding great deals on insurance.

Do a little bit of research to make sure that the website is connected to a legitimate business before providing any information. And absolutely do not enter any information on a website that lacks proper security.

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Encryption Programs

Any website taking personal and financial information positively must use effective encryption programs to safeguard data submissions. The specific encryption software should be noted on the website.

Anyone who doesn’t feel the encryption software is up to par probably should look elsewhere to buy auto insurance.

All the major insurers put a massive amount of money into their website development. Installing protections by way of a major encryption program is standard operating procedure with the big companies.

Still, risk does exist even when fantastic safeguards are put into place.

The Security Caveats

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Every so often, the news blares with tales of hackers breaking into online retail sites and either stealing credit card information or procuring private documents related to customers.

The documents have even been dumped — also known as doxx’ing — online as a means of embarrassing clients and harming a business’ reputation.

Sad to say, no business that conducts any form of sales online is safe from hacking. Yes, massive security is put in place to prevent this from occurring but no guarantees exist. This is true of any and all business operating online.

Other Layers of Security

When buying online, it may be best to use a dedicated credit card acquired solely for online purchases. The threshold limit should be low. A card with a $2,000 limit will not be as much of a financial risk as a compromised card with a $5,000 limit.

A disposable debit card is an option as well. Credit cards, however, come with a few additional benefits.

  • For one, the card may come with a generous reimbursement policy when someone steals an account number and makes purchases.
  • A credit card may even come with a small layer of identity theft protection depending on the financial institution issuing the account.

Actually, a wise plan would be to purchase an identity theft package that tracks financial and other information. The information can be reviewed and, if something is out of the ordinary, action can be taken.

And do not make any purchases over an unsecured internet connection. Unsecured Wi-Fi connected are definitely not good when trying to maintain a high level of security since information could be seized by a third party.

Making a purchase through a local coffee shop’s complimentary Wi-Fi might not be the best idea.

A really good idea would be confirming coverage after making a buy.

Calling the Insurance Provider

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“I purchased the policy online, but I do not see it in the secure section of my online account.”

Nothing is more frustrating or panic inducing that paying for a policy and then wondering if the policy actually exists. The insurance contract and proof of coverage can both usually be printed out after signing into the secured section of an online account.

The documents may not show up online right away since things do need to update.

Hard copies of the documents are sure to go out in the mail without any unnecessary delays. Concerned insurance customers might want to have the proof in their hands right away. This is not a problem.

Documents including proof of coverage can be sent out via email without delay.

Driving without proof of coverage can get someone into trouble. States such as Mississippi require proof of insurance be carried in a vehicle at all times.

In addition to printing out the documents sent via email, copies can be saved on a computer’s hard drive or in the cloud. This way, if printed documents are lost, another copy can be accessed.

Contacting the insurance provider via phone or email is usually all that is required to receive the sought-after documents.

Comparing online quotes and buying a desired policy via the internet can be a good way to acquire the best insurance. Being careful when buying online is always advised. For those who aren’t sold on the idea of buying online, just do so over the phone instead.

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