Buying Insurance Online VS Agents

Smartchoice Editorial
July 26, 2020

SUMMARY

This article is all about understanding the difference and benefits of buying the insurance online, it describes the pros and cons of acquiring stuff with information beforehand and the benefits it entails while acquiring it…

The agents can be one of the sources to acquire insurance but at the time they would have their own interest and targets to meet rather than thinking about a plan that is a good fit for each individual.

so, there are multiple players that are out there to look out for people so they don’t make any mistakes, that would lead to money loss and extra-money out of the pocket, which can be acquired at a lesser cost with more coverage.

Smartchoice.pk is a one-stop-shop for all insurance needs with all top providers onboard, providing plans for individuals and corporate both. Finding deals that would make both the parties happy and fulfil their requirement when any uncertain or unpleasant situation arises…

As they put it very aptly…INSURANCE KARAO TENSION BHAGAO!!

 

What is better…buying insurance online or through an agent?

We have seen around multiple things changing, business transferring and applying their resources offline resources to online/digital space. Business transforming their models shows that digital space becomes the new communication arena for the organizations in the business.
The shift from traditional to the new media shows evidence that things would be competitive as when the “online-bazaar” is established, there would be options available to the people to access multiple brands and products just on few clicks.

So…

Does the question arise that what would be the level of trust and the functionality of it?

Well…

Pakistan is at an early stage of a digital revolution…

There has been a boom of multiple start-ups emerging in multiple segments of Pakistan’s economy and these star-ups are not only innovative at the same time they are targeting a certain problem in the society and are providing a solution for it. For instance, start-ups like battery Lala, Ghar Per, Relive Now, Sehat Kahani and Wonder tree are few of the examples that have established to help people and provide digital solutions to multiple societal problems.
So keeping all this in perspective we have realized that the world has gone digital and the reliance on digital platforms is increasing day by day to make their financial decisions and investments especially. Today, things and services have become easily accessible it has become incredibly easy to get data, information and statistics and compare different companies before purchasing anything, including as basic as your groceries and everyday staples and as complex and important as insurance plans and policies.
However, many people in Pakistan still prefer to go through the conventional and traditional route while procuring insurance i.e. they make investments and decisions based on the recommendations of their insurance agent or brokers and if someone from their family has some financial know-how that is the way to go about. Looking at this around us, we have realized that there is still a lot of confusion and lack of clarity amongst the population where the financial and insurance products are concerned. Looking at that we have decided to draw up a proper logical comparison between buying insurance online vs agent. Let’s explore which is better.

So before we start the process of exploration…

Let us count a few important things that would matter when exploring online options for your insurance

A Little beforehand research

One thing that you need to do is search who is providing such services and who provides the desired protection, just some basic information and data is essential to proceed towards a cause which would benefit you in the longer run.

Speak to people you trust but don’t trust blindly…

While speaking to the people around you, the ones you trust and rely on, don’t forget to keep your “Critical Analysis Cap On”. This would enable you to gather information and equip you with information that would be helpful for “future decision making”.
Be prepared to answer all the questions truthfully…
When you set yourself al prepared to purchase the desired insurance be it car, travel or health insurance, fill in the details with complete honesty and truthfully. Don’t add details that based on some fabrication and has a hint of a lie in it, as lying would only be destructive towards your overall policy when it is the time to make your claim!

Coverage Is Not Always Automatic

If you buy a new vehicle or add additional covers to your policy, they may be automatically covered for a time. Normally, you usually have insurance when you buy a new vehicle. When you are taking home your vehicle from showroom, and you meet an unforeseen, undesirable situation it would be a big dent in your pocket and a big spoiler of your mood.
So when you purchase a vehicle ensure that it has been insured, try and remember that life is unpredictable but you need to make decisions that have sound implications on your future and absorbs the shock of your unanticipated financial burden.
That thing goes for all the kind of insurances be it health and travel, all are there to help you and acquiring them will be a conscious decision and you shall not be covered for everything and anything automatically without the conscious effort.

What to consider when comparing policies

Deciding on which assurance product you should buy can be difficult and complex, but when you consider what you’re trying to protect, taking the sweet time to compare policies is more likely to give you what you want and need. Each insurance provider has different policies, and the terms and conditions, features and coverage’s can vary widely, even with products offered by the same corporation.

When comparing policies at the time of buying, you should read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider

What the products include, it’s an important question and another important question is to know that Your needs are probably quite different to those of your friends and family, so look for products that cover the risks you are likely to face. For instance, some health policies provide maternity and OPD coverage, but some will have coverage limits, while others will not cover maternity and OPD at all.
What the products exclude, by comparing insurance policy exclusions, you will have a much better idea of the policies that are the right fit for you.

Excesses, savings and discounts

In Pakistan usually, the price of your premium is based on the likelihood of a claim being made on the policy in the future. For instance the older you get the health policy premium increases, the older the car is the least exciting deal you get on insurance. It can also be affected by the excess payable if you claim, and that you may need to pay under some conditions. When you buy or renew your insurance, the premium may be reduced if you agree to take on a certain proportion of the risk by increasing your excess.

When you purchase or renew insurance, you may also be eligible for savings and benefits, which could include, among others

  • Years of insurance discounts
  • Online purchase savings

Your current policy of Insurance will outline how much savings are being availed by you during a certain campaign or discounts which has been given to you by the provider. If you are unsure how your premium has been calculated speak with your insurer. Think through how you would contact your insurer should you need to make a claim, keep all your FAQs in one place and if you have a question about your policy or need to update or renew it.

Online research vs the agent’s word

One of the greatest advantages of the digital age is that you can get information for almost anything online. While buying insurance you need to consider several factors such as the insurance companies’ reputation, the excellence of their customer service, their claim-settlement ratio and time taken for each claim settlement etc. There are several direct and aggregator online forums on which you can find this information, based on which you can make an informed and educated decision. On the other hand, if you are buying a policy through an agent, you are typically opting for (that’s what the chances are) something he endorses, with no additional information or suggestions for something that might be better than the one he is there to offer. Sure, you can tell your requirements and the needs, but you can never be too sure if you got the right or the best possible deal available for that particular insurance product.

Direct transaction vs commission

Okay… so one other aspect that should be under the consideration should be a comparison in buying insurance online by checking and comparing vs. An agent is a way in which the transaction is completed. When you purchase insurance online, you just pay the identified premium amount, with no hidden costs or conditions. You can easily add or remove additional add-ons or any such attachments that you don’t need and don’t wish to pay for.

In many cases, insurance companies have their alliances with banks and digital wallets, which can benefit you to earn discounts and concessions on specific credit/debit cards and a certain percentage of cash-backs when you make an online payment. You also get a discount and some exclusive benefits for renewing policy before the arrival of actual policy renewal date, thus making your premiums much cheaper if not cheaper it might have some other benefit attached. An agent cannot make any offer or convey any deal that facilitates savings. You end up paying your agent a commission or an in-between fee for the services that he has rendered to you.

Self-filing vs filing a claim through an agent

In the case of buying insurance online vs an agent, this point goes a little in favour of the agent if we look at the initial image of this transaction. For instance, when dealing with the agent, you simply can assemble all your documents and hand them over to the agent and the work from your end is done.

The agents usually complete the claim-filing procedure on your behalf. That said, people who don’t have an agent will have to reach out to the insurance provider’s customer service help-line directly and apply for the fill-in of the claim and learn how to file a claim ( on a lighter note, there is always a first time). The only difference is that you won’t have a dedicated middleman to help you through the claim-filing process.

Well…

Not having a middle-man isn’t so bad since you have players like Smartchoice.pk in the market, it is a customer pro-middle-man, it not only facilitates the customers throughout the process but also ensures that the policy reaches the customers, the policy bought is as per the needs and requirements of the individual buying, for instance for car insurance Smartchoice has some amazing plans for corporate and retail customers.

You can log in through their website and by just putting in few of your car details, not only the customer adviser will walk you through the process, but he would also be there to assist you through the claim filing as well as would facilitate to ensure that claim is settled as swiftly as possible and the most ownership taking part is that they would keep you posted about the whole process and the development on the claim and claim proceedings.

So smartchoice.pk can be your middle-man/agent with an added edge that it charges absolutely “NOTHING” from the customers, it provides “ABSOLUTELY FREE” consultation and services to the consumers with unbiased, impartial and unprejudiced advice for the insurance products.
So you can log-in to smartchoice today at www.smartchoice.pk and “insurance karao, tension bhagao”

Accessibility to the insurance company

So another advantage of buying indemnity cover online vs agent is that you have great and abundant accessibility to multiple insurance providers directly. Without the presence of any kind of middle man, the information is relayed directly to you through proper channel, with no or almost very limited scope of miscommunication. If you are in an accident and are trying to reach an agent, you may or may not be successful in doing so, and the latter scenario can increase your stress when you are already under duress.
Here… again smartchoice comes into play as it does not have all top providers on its panel it also directly established point-of-contact that can connect you to the insurance company and would help in reducing the stress and worries.

Reduced chances of fraudulence

When you purchase insurance online, through the company’s website, you can read and understand all the terms and conditions and then make the decision to purchase the desired policy. On the other hand, the insurance agent may try to influence his decision on your decision and may also push you towards a certain insurance product or provider, only because he is rewarded by XYZ insurance company for selling an X number of policies and completing his/her monthly target, which would not only bring in the bonus but would also take him further for a promotion.

Here it can be assessed that there are more benefits of buying insurance online while comparing multiple options vs. a certain agent. So as communicated earlier a little online research can go a long way. It can help you make informed and knowledgeable decisions while making investments for your future and also facilitate a lot of savings.

Sell, Sell, Sell

One thing that has been seen very common is that these captive agents usually have quotas to hit to keep their position and earn bonuses. It different from independent insurance agents or the aggregators who have a different set-up, but you might feel a little more stress to acquire a financial product from a captive agent when all you want is car insurance. It is good and advisable to know what options are available, and some window shopping and reading might benefit you when you plan to acquire any such policy, maybe as simple and yet as important as car insurance.
Captive insurance agents offer specialized insurance and financial expertise which you might feel is hard to beat anywhere else. If you are looking for an agent who knows their product inside and out, smartchoice has the best customer adviser team in place who does not only offers you best advice but also matches you with the right kind of plan as per you need and desire, so this is the place to start with. Dealing with the same company daily makes an agent an expert in no time at all. Dealing with the big name insurance carriers gives a sense of stability and trust you really cannot get with the smaller carriers, so that is the reason we recommend you to make a decision, based on knowledge and information through right unbiased sources, rather than one single pre-owned loyalty source.

These are some of the important Definitions that you should be knowing before buying insurance online. Many everyday terms will be defined differently in different policies.

The sum insured

Compare the sums insured between policies. These are likely to be quite different between policies. Look for the sum insured that is more appropriate for your needs and personal circumstances.

Limits

Many policies place limits on how much an individual item or group of items will be covered for. Consider your assets, and how the limits would affect your claim if something unexpected happens.

Excesses

The excess may differ between policies. Compare them, and also look at how much cheaper the policy maybe if you accept a higher excess.

Price and value

The cost of the policy is important, but buying the cheapest policy may mean you do not get the protection you want or need.

How you contact your insurer

You can contact your insurer through their website, by the website we mean they usually have active chat boxes at the same time, their help-line information can also be very easily attained from the website. Apart from that if you purchase your policy through smartchoice they would connect you to the right people in the insurance company and would try and enable the process of swift claim settlement especially in the case of car and travel insurance.

Cost versus value

When you start comparing policies and quotes, remember price is not the only thing to consider. Cheaper policies may not provide the cover you need if something does go wrong.

It’s easy to compare different insurance policies on price alone but each insurer’s policy inclusions and exclusions are different.

Make sure you consider your necessities and which insurance company offers policies most appropriate to your risk. You should have a good understanding of what you will and will not be covered for before signing up for any assurance policy. An underwriter may offer a range of comparable policies for different conditions and budgets. If the premium for a specific insurance policy is very low, it may mean the policy has many exclusions or limits on certain risks.

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