Survey: Most Insurance Shoppers Depend on TV, Web for Info

A recent Erie Insurance survey quizzing shoppers and buyers on car insurance knowledge shows that the vast majority get their information from TV or the Web, but also that the focus on discounted auto insurance is so strong that consumers are confused about whether or not their coverage types fits their needs.

The survey was conducted in February and surveyed a relatively small nationwide sample of 360 adults aged 18-64.

For shoppers, just over two-thirds of those surveyed ranked coverage and price as the top criteria in shopping for car insurance, and the vast majority said TV and websites did the best job of informing them of both.

Respondents said TV commercials were best at informing them of savings, although they beat out websites by only two percentage points (34 percent to 32 percent). Websites, meanwhile, were best at informing them of coverage options. Thirty-nine percent said the Web was the best source of coverage info, while 28 percent said it was TV.

Television may be the main medium for information because “it’s impossible to watch TV nowadays without seeing a commercial for car insurance,” with 79 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement. However, the abundance of price-related advertisements comes at the cost of understanding options, according to 74 percent of respondents that agreed with the statement “with so many TV ads talking about saving money … it’s easy to forget about important coverage choices that affect how you are protected.”

The survey showed that responders believed they had an unsure sense of whether or not their policy was adequate. Eighty-six percent of responders said they had adequate or more than adequate coverage to protect their families, assets and themselves, yet they were less certain when it came to others; 40 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement “most people have less coverage than they should have.”

Just under half agreed that “different coverage options on policies can be confusing,” and 41 percent agreed that they’re “never quite certain if they’ve made the right decisions about their … policy options.”

Forty-seven percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement that “it’s easy to get so caught up in getting a low rate that you can forget other things like coverage options, customer service and getting claims paid quickly.”

Almost half, 48 percent, of respondents said the emphasis on deals makes differentiating insurers difficult, agreeing with the statement that “there’s so much attention on discounts nowadays that it’s hard to believe there’s really much different among car insurance providers.”

​Coverage Quiz

Those surveyed were also posed specific questions about insurance terms and types. Of those asked “which of the following do you believe pays for the damage caused to your vehicle if it hits another object?” 53 correctly answered “collision,” but 31 percent incorrectly answered “comprehensive.”

Most answered the question “which of the following do you believe pays for the damage caused from things like fire, theft or a deer colliding with your bumper?” correctly, with 67 percent saying “comprehensive.”

Most also correctly answered the question “which of the following do you believe you pay when you buy or renew an insurance policy?” with 79 percent answering “premium.”

The majority answered the question “which of the following do you believe is the term for a temporary insurance contract that provides proof of coverage until a permanent policy is issued?” correctly with “binder.”

Most respondents correctly defined the term “for changes and additions to your policy” as “endorsement,” but almost the same percentage incorrectly answered “affirmation.”

Most respondents incorrectly answered “which of the following do you believe is the maximum amount payable on coverage under the terms of your insurance contract?” with 61 percent saying “cap” instead of the correct term, “limit.”

Readers can see the full survey results through Erie’s website.

About Charles Nguyen
Charles Nguyen is an enterprising journalist who reported for and the Desert Dispatch and was the editor in chief of the Guardian (the twice-weekly newspaper at the University of California, San Diego) before coming to Online Auto Insurance News.

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