Gianetta Palmer is a writer for CarInsurance101.com, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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The Internet has made it easier than ever to buy a car insurance policy. Before online policies were sold, drivers needed to contact insurance agents to purchase insurance. The agents would have policy and coverage information from numerous different companies and could broker the sale of coverage. Now, this information is more readily available, and consumers can purchase and compare coverage online or over the phone.

Drivers can use the Internet to get free online quotes from many insurance companies at once. This will enable you to comparison shop without needing to go to multiple sites or call several companies. Once you’ve obtained a quote, you’ll usually be put in contact with the insurance company itself to complete the process and purchase the policy. This may happen online, over the phone or in person depending on your comfort zone and what insurance company you’re working with.

Staying Safe While Buying Insurance Online

For the most part, it’s equally safe to shop online as in person. Car insurance companies all have their own secure websites where you can purchase policies, alter coverages and make payments. It’s also easier than ever before to research a company, and you can find reviews and information about every insurer imaginable online.

Unfortunately, the convenience of purchasing coverage online means that there are some scams and other unscrupulous practices that take advantage of online buyers. No matter what you purchase online, it’s important to make sure that you follow some basic safety precautions. Doing so will enable you to save money on insurance without putting yourself or your finances at risk.

— Research a site before giving it any of your information

Most sites you get quotes from online will be safe, but it’s best to stick to sites that have been around for a while and are well-known. The information you get from a quote should be the same no matter what site you use, so there’s no reason not to choose a trustworthy provider.

— Be cautious of any unsolicited phone calls or emails

If someone calls you to discuss a quote you didn’t request, you may not want to share any of your information. It could be part of a pfishing scam or other attempt to steal your identity. This is also true of emails and any other unsolicited communication.

— Consider purchasing the policy itself over the phone

Not only will you feel more secure giving out information over a toll-free telephone line, you can ask questions and make sure you’re really getting the policy you want.

— Before you agree to a policy, either online or in person, be sure you know what you’ll be paying for

Doing some research before you buy the policy will help you ensure that you get the coverages that you need.

— Make sure you get a policy card in the mail within 30 days of purchase

Also be sure that you get quotes and other policy confirmations in writing so that you’ll have a paper trail available if something goes wrong. your insurance company should have no problems with providing you paperwork for anything you might need.

— Pay attention to the URL in the address bar of any website before you input any information

It’s possible that some sites might be masquerading as company websites by putting up similar colors and logos, but the site may be a fake. If you follow a link rather than typing in the URL directly, be sure that you’re really on the site you think you are before going on.

— Be wary of any companies you’ve never heard of, especially if they’re offering surprisingly low rates

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Before buying insurance, be sure to research the company through several independent sources. This will help you not only ensure that the policy isn’t a scam, it’ll help you make a wise choice for your future policy.

It’s also a good idea, whether you’re shopping online or in person, to make sure that you’re buying a legitimate policy from a licensed broker. If you’re buying coverage from an agent, that agent needs to be licensed in your state. You can check to make sure by consulting with the state Department of Insurance for your area. This same licensing is true of online sites as well.

Although there are a lot of scam artists throughout the Internet, a little vigilance will ensure that you stay safe and secure. Shopping for insurance online is no more dangerous than shopping through an agency, and it makes it easier to find discounts and obtain the best policy to suit your needs.