How can I safely shop for auto insurance?
November 11, 2007 7:19 PM   Subscribe

How can I shop for auto insurance without compromising my privacy? I HATE telemarketing and junk mail, so I avoid giving my name, address and phone number to anyone that might possibly sell it. I am also very protective of my SSN.

I'm ready to change auto insurance providers and would like to shop around for a decent rate, but the few companies I have called ask a lot of information that I'd rather not give unless I'm sure I'll actually be doing business with them.

Does anyone have advice of how I could get a general idea of who will have the best rate by giving only basic info? Like, maybe I provide my ZIP but not the exact street address or give them an approximate FICO score but not my SSN? Of course, once I have narrowed it down to a few companies, I won't mind giving them the details so they can give me a precise quote.
posted by amfea to Work & Money (8 answers total)
I tried looking for such companies when I was buying insurance two months ago. The closest I could find was All-State's "ballpark estimate." It wasn't even very good - the difference between their ballpark estimate and their final estimate was $300/6 months. I just gave up and tried the major companies in operation. Since they all use credit scores to determine prices, they aren't going to give you a very good quote without pulling your credit report. It sucks, but that's the way it is.
posted by saeculorum at 7:29 PM on November 11, 2007

I switched to eSurance a few months ago. Their rates were a 1/3 of what I was able to get anywhere else
posted by growabrain at 7:38 PM on November 11, 2007

I switched to Esurance, too, and am quite pleased.
posted by Smalltown Girl at 9:07 PM on November 11, 2007

Based on your input, your best bet is finding an independent insurance agent that reps many lines.

Ask around/web search/phone book for search. Call a few...get a feel if he/she will work with you and seems trustworthy.

They can't give you a true quote without SSN to look up your record, but if you answer their basic questions, such as: age, married, accidents, car year and type, coverage wanted...they can give you very accurate idea of what will cost what with whom.

I have friends that work at esurance, and they seem to have good rates for internet purchased policies....but if you are a "safe" driver I have found that going to the higher line discount companies (IE: Erie Insurance) will give you the best rate.
posted by wylde21 at 10:15 PM on November 11, 2007

if you had any idea to what extent your SSN was already floating around there, you'd probably have a conniption fit.

are you sure it's not problems with your credit?
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 11:22 PM on November 11, 2007

Response by poster: Mr_Crazyhorse: yes, I am sure it's not problems with my credit. My credit's fine. The issue is that companies get their computers hijacked and customer info stolen so often that it's does not even make headlines anymore. Other companies just sell customer information to make a quick buck. Since they've proven that they cannot be trusted with this information, I will not trust them with it until they really do need it.
posted by amfea at 6:23 AM on November 12, 2007

Allstate started giving out "ballpark" estimates. You just enter your zip code and answer a few questions and you're done. No name, no social.

(I just tried it out. it took me to this page. just change the zip code at the end of the URL to your own, then select BALLPARK)
posted by damnjezebel at 12:14 PM on November 12, 2007

Uh.... or what this person said.
posted by damnjezebel at 12:25 PM on November 12, 2007

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