Friday, November 5, 2010

Can You Get an Online Car Insurance Quote Without Giving Out Personal Information?

Many of us don't relish the idea of handing over personal information via the Internet. Even those of us who are comfortable doing so aren't excited at the prospect of ending up on a telemarketers list of phone numbers. Unfortunately, when you try to get an online car insurance quote, the websites you visit will generally try to get a great deal of information from you. Is there a way to secure a quote without telling your life story? In order to answer that question, it's important to understand two things. First, you should understand why that information might actually be necessary to provide you with the most accurate possible quotation. Second, you should consider how the sites that are willing to provide you with an online quotation stay in business.

Getting an Accurate Quotation

Insurance companies consider a number of different variables when setting insurance policy prices. We tend to think of the process in fairly simple terms. We assume that rates stem from obvious factors like the kind of car we drive, our age and the area in which we live. While those are all important factors, there a number of less obvious considerations that can influence rates. The insurance companies have built actuarial tables that consider just about everything under the sun when setting rates. Everything from your gender to your grades in school can become a factor in setting a policy's expense. Insurance companies look at your driver's record, your employment situation and just about anything else you can imagine in order to set rates. Much of the personal information you may be asked to provide from a quotation website is integral to determining your likely rate. The more information these sites can obtain, the more likely they are to provide you with an accurate assessment of a policy's price tag.

Understanding the Business

Getting an online insurance quote can be incredibly helpful. It's a great way to test the market's waters and to do some smart comparison shopping. However, the businesses operating the websites providing policy quotations aren't public service projects--they're for-profit endeavors. Site owners receive payment from insurers when they provide insurers with leads or when visitors receive a quote and purchase insurance. Absent a completed form, there's no opportunity for them to generate revenue.

In that sense, providing at least some personal information is "the cost of doing business." If you're unwilling to part with your contact information and other essentials, the site will be unable to offer you a quotation and wouldn't be able to stay afloat if it did.

Can You Get a Quote without Divulging Personal Information?

Occasionally, you may find a website that will provide you with a ballpark figure of probable rates without requesting any meaningful information from you. However, these sites may accidentally provide you with wildly inaccurate data and won't be nearly as helpful in your comparison shopping as the slightly more invasive alternatives. In other words, you can receive quotations without providing personal data, but the information you receive will be questionable value.

A Word of Warning

You should always use caution when providing a website with personal information. If you feel the questionnaire used requires too much identifying data and/or that it may not be secure, look for another option. The convenience of an online insurance quotation isn't worth running the risk of identity theft. Keep key identifying information to yourself.


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