Everyone is buying insurance online these days, it seems. With online agencies becoming more popular, running insurance quotes requires special software. The software cuts down on the work involved in processing quotes and issuing policies. Because many types of insurance are commodity products, there isn’t a lot of human intervention needed to obtain a quote and issue a policy. Web-based tools, called quote engines, help make short work of the quoting process. Fortunately, they’re very easy for you to use.
The Quote Engine
Quote engines are complex pieces of software that provide automated quotes for a variety of insurance policies with just a few pieces of information that you supply.
Since insurance companies typically group you into one of several risk classes using a specific formula, quote engines can be pretty reliable, even without human intervention (i.e. without talking to a live agent). There are typically several steps you have to go through to get a quote online. These include entering your personal information, inputting your vehicle information (for auto insurance), answering health questions (for life and health insurance products), and entering your payment information if you want to buy a policy.
Personal information includes things like you date of birth, your name, your Social Security number (yes, they need this), your driver’s license information, your home address, phone number, and in some cases your employer and income.
You may also be asked to provide other key pieces of information like marital status and dependents, depending on the type of insurance you’re getting a quote on.
Health questions form the basis of life and health insurance. All life and health insurers ask them. For life insurance, health questions determine your risk class. For health insurance, insurers need to know how much of a risk you pose to the company. It’s not uncommon for insurers to inquire about serious health issues like diabetes, any heart conditions, whether you have AIDS or any other STD along with information about your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Insurers also want to know whether you smoke, drink, or engage in any hazardous lifestyle activities (like race car driving).
Health issues negatively impact your odds of getting insurance, but they don’t automatically disqualify you from coverage. It’s important not to stretch the truth at all on these questions. In most states, insurers have a right to withdraw coverage if you make omit, or deliberately misstate, material facts (i.e. if you don’t tell the insurer about your past heart condition).
Auto insurance relies on your driving record. It’s fairly easy to apply for, but you’ll need your driver’s license information, along with your Social Security number. You’ll also be asked to supply your vehicle’s VIN number or the make and model of vehicle you want to insure.
For homeowner’s insurance, you’ll need to provide information about the home you want to insure, the value of your personal property, and other information related to the contents of the home that are to be insured. You’ll also have to disclose any special property – like antiques or family heirlooms – as these may require special insurance riders before the insurance company will cover them.
nline quoting engines often have the option of collecting the modal premium. This is the first premium you pay on your policy. A back-end sales delivery system will take your credit card information and give you a printable insurance binder. The binder is your proof of coverage. For some policies, you’ll need to speak to an agent or to the insurance company’s home office. Even if you do have to talk to someone, getting a quote online is about the simplest way to buy insurance today. No pushy salespeople. No hassle. No complicated paperwork. What more could you want?
Tom Grant has extensive experience as an insurance consultant. His articles appear on insurance and personal finance blogs where he likes passing on his knowledge. Learn how to find cheaper insurance, visit the link.