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ComScore Releases Survey: Auto Insurance Online Purchases Up

Internet marketing-research giant comScore released a report on Thursday, May 26, stating that the number of policies for auto insurance online saw a modest increase from 2009 to 2010.

ComScore’s 2011 Online Auto Insurance Report is a series in two parts which is based on the company’s 1 million-member research panel’s responses to certain questions, plus an additional 4,000 consumers who responded to online surveys. All are US consumers. The reports are designed to gain attitudinal insights into how US consumers conduct their business in relation to insurance products.

In their report, comScore showed that U.S. consumers requested around 35% more cheap auto insurance quotes online during 2010 when compared to the numbers from 2006. Around 37 million auto insurance online quotes were generated last year, where only 27.5 million consumers requested quotes in 2006.

About 2.9 million auto insurance policies were sold on the internet in 2010.

The concept of searching for and purchasing auto insurance online has gained a lot of ground in the past several years. One in seven of the comScore survey’s respondents stated in 2009 that they had purchased insurance coverage over the internet. In comScore’s 2011 survey, the numbers had risen to one in five respondents who had bought auto policies online.

32% of the respondents to the 2011 comScore survey said that they had not purchased auto insurance online before, but they would probably do so in the future. Online auto insurance purchases were the third-most popular way to buy insurance in 2010, but that changed in 2011, where it rose to second-most-popular. This pushed purchasing insurance from a local agent via telephone into third place. Also, those who presently have their policy serviced by a local agent say they will probably consider using other methods to purchase their insurance in the future.

Another comScore report which was released earlier in 2011 showed that the websites which provide policy price comparisons for a wide range of insurance companies are seeing more traffic. These types of websites offer web-based tools that allow people to obtain basic price quotes from multiple insurers based on the insurance companies’ rating structures and the person’s individual driving and coverage needs profiles.

The Missouri Department of Insurance is one state agency that has gotten behind the internet shopping for auto insurance phenomenon. In fact, it recently released a pamphlet for prospective auto policy purchasers, stating that buying insurance online is a great deal more efficient than doing manual comparisons, which entails the person to go from one agent to another.

“The Department recommends that you get three quotes when shopping,” the Missouri insurance commission writes in their pamphlet. “But with Internet shopping, three quotes take no time at all. You could probably get 20 quotes in the same amount of time it takes to drive to or call three agents.”

In related news, JD Power and Associates released its 2010 U.S. National Auto Insurance Study for 2010. In this study, overall customer satisfaction with their auto insurer declined steeply since 2009. Where 2010 had a customer satisfaction score of 777 on a scale of 1,000 points, 2009 had a score of 787.

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