Why doesn’t the brokerage that won innovator of the year and brokerage of the year use online quoting tools?
We live in the age of online. You can fill a prescription, design your own business cards or get a four course meal delivered, all without talking to a soul. It makes sense then that many Canadians now prefer to get their auto insurance quotes online, and there are lots of options available to them when they do.
If you prefer to get competitive quotes, there are lots of broker websites and online comparison sites that will let you enter your information yourself, click ‘Submit’, and get 2, 5, even 10 different quotes to choose from.
To be blunt, the problem is that when you enter your information for an online auto insurance quote, the premium you see online is ALMOST NEVER THE PREMIUM YOU’LL END UP PAYING.
At Mitchell & Whale, we don’t have an online quoting engine on our website, but we did for a little while. We stopped using the online quotes because we found that our customers would get frustrated when they got one number online, then got another number after talking to a broker. Our customers seem to prefer to get the right quote the first time. Go figure!
Important note: Not one broker or comparison website allows Ontario residents to actually BUY auto insurance. If you like one of the quotes you get online, you have to call the broker. That was also the case when M&W had online quotes. The insurance companies insist on this because they want someone to confirm that the information given is accurate.
To understand why quotes are inaccurate, we first need to understand a few basic facts about how auto insurance works in Ontario:
We knew that our customers were getting frustrated when we had online quotes, but in order to see just how bad the online quotes actually were, we went undercover (sort of), and tried to get online quotes, for an imaginary driver, from 20 different sources, including broker websites and online comparison sites.
Here is the driver and vehicle profile we used:
So we’d have a benchmark of accurate quotes to compare to, we asked one of our brokers go straight into the Applied system and get quotes for that same imaginary driver. Here are the actual prices that this customer would pay:
When we tried to get quotes for that same profile online, here’s what we found:…
There are a number of factors that can lead to getting an inaccurate quote, whether it be online, in person or by phone, email or text.
Specifically related to this exercise, it’s important to note the following factors that could have led to inaccurate quotes:
(If the site allowed us to modify the coverage, we did.)
It seems that competitive online quotes are meant more as a marketing tool than anything. Based on our experience, there is very little chance that you’ll get a competitive online quote that you can actually turn into a real, honest-to-goodness insurance policy at that price. It’s possible that for other driver profiles, the accuracy rate could be better, but we did try one other profile (35 year old female in Peterborough), and our findings were more or less the same.
We have no way of knowing whether companies that sell direct to the public offer accurate online quotes, but even if they do, you’re not getting a full picture of the rates that are available to you, just that company’s price.
Mitchell & Whale went away from online quoting because it didn’t work for us and it p*ssed off our customers. If you like the idea of browsing without having to talk to anyone, then go ahead and try it, but understand that what you see is going to be AT BEST a guideline of what you might pay. You’ll have to call someone and answer all the questions again to actually get insurance, probably at a higher price.
If your goal is to get the best price for the least amount of effort and time, just call or email a broker in the first place! Mitchell & Whale is one good option 😉.
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments below! Mitchell & Whale is a fast-growing insurance brokerage in Ontario, striving to make insurance _not suck_ one customer at a time. Give us a call today to discuss any of your insurance needs at 1.800.731.2228.