OAI: Most Car Insurance Shopping Starts Online, Study Finds
05/02/2012

The new J.D. Power survey shows fewer consumers are shopping around but that those who did switched insurers at an all-time high rate

Online PR News – 02-May-2012 – Los Angeles, CA – A recent study released by J.D. Power and Associates shows that most shopping for insurance starts online, underlining the increasing impact that websites are having on the ways customers buy policies and insurers market themselves, according to Online Auto Insurance.

Fifty-two percent of consumers looking for a policy start their search online, with almost three-fourths visiting the website of at least one insurer as they shopped, according to the study.

The study also found that 32 percent of consumers surveyed got their quotes only through websites and that, for 34 percent of shoppers, the Web has become the preferred method in the search to get low cost auto insurance.

"Shoppers now expect to be able to visit an insurer's website and complete their purchase in the same visit," Jeremy Bowler, senior director at the research firm, said in a statement. "In most cases, shoppers can compare many policies online and narrow down their search field entirely via this self-service paradigm. From that point, they can then decide if they need to speak with an agent or to continue their online purchase process."

In most cases shoppers can compare many policies online and narrow down their search field entirely via this self-service paradigm. From that point they can then decide if they need to speak with an agent or to continue their online purchase process.

The annual study also measured insurers' retention rates and found they were at an all-time high since the study began six years ago, with only 25 percent of surveyed policyholders indicating that they researched a new insurer in the past year.

And with 43 percent of those shopping consumers ultimately ending up at another insurer, firm representatives said that an increase in the industry’s advertising dollars seems to have shown limited impact.

Bowler cited statistics showing that advertising expenditures in the insurance industry were pumped up to around $5.7 billion for 2011.

Websites may also provide more advertising space that allows insurers to include specialized information that they need to entice certain markets.

A graduate study from Florida State University analyzing industry marketing trends toward Latinos found that several insurers created Spanish-language websites that were "often more information-oriented than their general market counterparts."

The Internet has proven to be powerful tool for insurers in their pursuit of the hard-to-corner market for Latinos, a group that has showed historically low rates of having insurance, according to the study.

Some company websites even included step-by-step guides and brochures "on how to choose the right policy," the study stated.

Source: http://hmc.comm.fsu.edu/content/download/4058/29138

For more on this and related insurance issues, head to http://www.onlineautoinsurance.com/low-cost/ for access to an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator and informative resource pages.

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