(Family Features) – Home and auto insurance are among the things many people buy but hope to never use. Proper coverage provides peace of mind that an accident, weather event, natural disaster or unexpected injury or illness won’t cause financial ruin. However, many Americans are uninsured, underinsured or paying too much for coverage.
Data from the Insurance Research Council cited by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows 12.6% of U.S. motorists are uninsured – approximately 1 in 8 cars on the road. For uninsured drivers, plus those involved in accidents with them, fender benders or worse can result in out-of-pocket costs.
Homeowners need to be properly insured, as well. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the U.S. has experienced more than 350 weather events or natural disasters since 1980 that have caused more than $1 billion in damage. Even small thunderstorms can send tree branches into homes, causing thousands of dollars in damage. For home and auto insurance, consumers should be sure their policies cover replacement and repair costs at today’s market rates in addition to liability coverage for personal injury and other damages.
Insurance helps bridge these gaps, but it’s common for people to renew policies without checking them. Because insurance policies are often seen as complex and confusing, that may prevent people from purchasing proper coverage.
A 2022 survey from realtor.com found only 56% of homeowners knew what to look for in their homeowners insurance policy when they bought their homes, and 15% didn’t have any idea what to check. In addition, Forbes Advisor reported 40% of drivers believe they had coverage that doesn’t even exist.
Consider these challenges consumers face when shopping for and comparing insurance policies and providers:
1. Industry Jargon and Lingo – When you visit a website or talk to an insurance agent, you may feel like you’re speaking a different language with terms like “deductible,” “premium,” “co-pay,” “additional insured,” “aggregate limit” and “co-insurance.”
2. Bait and Switch – Insurance carriers sometimes advertise low rates, but your rate may be higher than expected when you apply, often with no explanation.
3. Fine Print – “Sorry, that’s not covered.” These can be chilling words to hear when you’re hoping your insurance policy comes through for you in a time of need. An explanation may be deep within the policy, but you may need a magnifying glass to find it.
4. Transparency – Many decisions that affect rates and coverage may seem to be done behind a curtain, such as rates in comparison to neighbors, remodeling impacts on rates, rate changes based on age and more.
5. Apples to Oranges – With many moving parts within the average policy, it can be difficult to compare rates and coverage.
Improved technology is helping solve some of these issues and deliver an improved experience. A decade ago, the only way to compare insurance rates was to make phone calls, meet with agents and read brochures. Even with the internet, you still need to visit multiple websites and take notes, often entering the same personal information time and time again. Today, insurance marketplaces, like the flagship platform from Guaranteed Rate Insurance, make it easy to compare multiple carriers, all at once, with a single application. Customers enter basic