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Car Insurance Online Vs Offline: Which is Better?

Team AckoSept 9, 2022

A decade ago, people used to browse online and buy offline. Traditionally, people liked to buy gadgets and clothes offline as they could get the feel of it before buying. But as technology developed and delivering products became faster and cheaper, people started buying online as well. With the combination of smartphones, internet banking, tech-savvy sellers and buyers, one-day delivery, and festive offers, online scored over offline in almost all products and services categories. But what about car insurance online? Which is better, online car insurance or offline? Read ahead for the answers.

Car Insurance Online Vs Offline

Difference Between Online Car Insurance Vs Offline Car Insurance

The following table will highlight prominent differences between buying car insurance via the online method and the offline method. By going through the table, you will be able to gauge the best fit for you as per your needs.

PointsOffline Car InsuranceOnline Car Insurance
1) Meaning Offline car insurance is a purchase process where the act of buying a policy takes place at physical office space or by meeting an insurance agent. For example, an insurance company’s office or a car dealer’s office who has a tie-up with an insurer. Online car insurance is a purchase process where the act of buying a policy takes place in a virtual setting like a website or a mobile application.
2) Process Here, the process involves meeting the seller, filling forms, and submitting the required papers. Here, the process involves visiting the insurer’s website/app, sharing basic details, choosing the plan, and buying the same by making the payment online.
3) Transparency There’s less transparency in this method as there is an intermediary involved. There’s more transparency in this method as there is no intermediary. You can access all documents on the website, read through them, and make an informed choice.
4) Time Factor Comparatively, this is a lengthy process. Starting from setting up a meeting with the seller, to submitting documents and making the payment can take up a few days. Buying a car insurance policy online is a quick process. It does not require any appointments. You can insure your car any time of the day as per your convenience. Unlike a physical office, the online platform like a website does not have an end-of-the-day closing time.
5) Payable Premium The payable premium in a traditional office-based insurance process can be higher in comparison to the online method. This can be attributed to higher company overheads. As online insurers do not have a lot of infrastructures to look after, their operational cost is on the lower side. No intermediaries mean no commissions and that in many cases translates into low-cost insurance plans.
6) Influencing The chances of being influenced by an agent or an intermediary into making a particular decision are more in the offline process. The chances of being influenced are less here as you are in control throughout the decision-making process.
7) Comparison It is tough to compare policies offline. You will have to visit multiple people. Even if one agent is presenting to you several options, it is time-consuming and challenging to compare brochures. Comparing car insurance policies online is not at all challenging. You can either pick an aggregator website and get the majority of the quotes and coverages in one shot. Or else, you can visit the websites of your preferred insurers and then use the premium calculator to know the quote, and then compare them.
8) Customer Support Often, you have to rely on the agent/intermediary for support while buying the policy offline. If the insurance company has a calling-based support team, you can seek help there as well. In the online process, you can seek answers to your queries thanks to website content, blog posts, and chatbots. There are dedicated teams that handle email and call-based queries as well.
9) Claim Settlement As the focus is on manual-processes, the claim settlement process can be a lengthy one. Online car insurers offer a quick and hassle-free claim settlement process. They can do so because of the tech-based infrastructure.
10) Renewal The offline renewal process poses similar challenges faced during the offline policy buying process. The online renewal process is even easier than the online buying process. Assuming you are renewing from the same insurer from whom you purchased the plan, your data will be saved by the insurer. All you have to do is log in to the website and make the payment. The policy shall be renewed as soon as the payment goes through, which happens almost instantly.

Also, Read: Is it Safe to Buy/Renew Car Insurance Online?

Benefits of Buying Online Car Insurance:

By going through the above-mentioned table, you must have concluded that in most cases, buying car insurance online is beneficial than buying it offline. If you are still confused, here are some direct benefits of buying online car insurance.

1. Better Research

You can find out all the details about a car insurance policy by researching online. There’s the insurer’s website, blog posts, and the Policy Wordings as well. The online policy buying process aids better research and comparison so that you can make an informed and calculated decision.

2. Low Premium

Generally, car insurance policies offered by digital-first insurers are less expensive than those offered by offline insurers. This is because the online insurers have a low operational cost and less or no dependency on intermediaries, thereby reducing the cost paid as commissions.

3. 2-minute Purchase

It is possible to buy a car insurance policy in two minutes via an app or a website. No paperwork. No money paid as commissions. No filling long forms. No submitting a bunch of documents. Online car insurance is quick, simple, and efficient.

4. Prompt Service

If you are stuck while buying the policy or while raising a claim or simply want to rectify an error in the policy document, the online insurer’s customer support team is at your service 24×7.

5. Hurdle-free Claim Settlement

Online car insurance eliminates hurdles to claim settlement such as heavy documentation, coordination problems, and money transfer. The online insurers offer instant claim settlement, Cashless Claims, and seamless coordination thanks to Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.

What is offline car insurance?

Offline car insurance simply refers to buying car insurance by personally visiting the insurance company or through an insurance agent. It involves submitting physical paperwork and signing documents. When you receive your car insurance policy, you must keep it safe as there is a chance that you might lose this document. If you lose it, you may have to pay traffic fines as you need to produce the document when asked to do so by traffic police. 

Things That Can Go Wrong When Buying Car Insurance Offline

On a technological front, India is progressing at a faster rate now as compared to a few decades ago. The Internet has a huge role to play in this growth. For example, buying car insurance online is way more convenient than buying the same policy offline. But If you are convinced that offline insurance is better, then let us help you with some of its downsides. Following is the list of 5 things that can go wrong while buying car insurance offline.

1. You could pay more 

There are a lot of operational costs involved when you buy a car insurance policy offline. Plus, if you take the help of an insurance agent, then the cost of your policy increases further. All this leads to an expensive policy. It is not guaranteed that you get value for money in exchange for the coverage you receive.

2. No option to compare car insurance plans

Your car insurance agent will provide a brochure from the insurance company. It contains various details of the plan, and the insurance agent will give a quote for your policy. But there is no easy option available for comparing plans from different insurance companies and knowing what other plans on the market are offering. Buying car insurance without comparing plans can lead to an over-priced policy with fewer benefits. 

3. You need to depend on an insurance agent

Some car owners may not be aware of the nitty-gritty of a car insurance policy, and the best bet here is hiring an insurance agent. But doing so increases your dependency on them. Is this a bad thing? Well, it depends on how good your insurance agent is. Some will guide you to get the best coverage, while others may insist on getting the coverage you may not require. 

For example

Mr. Kumar hired an insurance agent to buy his car insurance policy. The agent wanted a higher commission and talked Mr. Kumar into buying a coverage he did not require. It led to an expensive policy and coverage Mr. Kumar never used.  

4. No solid way of checking the insurer's reputation

While buying car insurance offline, you mostly depend on word-of-mouth to know how good (or bad) a car insurance company is. Unlike offline insurance, buying insurance online allows you to check reviews and star ratings from existing customers. Thus, you understand how good your future insurance company is.

5. Offline car insurance is a time-consuming process

Buying car insurance offline requires an investment of time along with your money. The process begins with you getting in touch with an insurance agent and setting up a meeting. Then you fill the proposal form and attach documents to apply for a policy. Next comes the approval, and finally, a policy is generated. Here you receive the physical copy of the document via mail. 

The entire process can easily take around 7 to 10 working days. If your previous policy expires between this period, you are left uninsured and exposed to financial losses if you decide to drive the car.

What is the solution to offline car insurance?

Buying car insurance through a digital insurance company is a solution to all the issues you face while buying a plan offline. Online car insurance policies are cheaper as the operational costs related to issuing a physical car insurance policy are eliminated. If you choose ACKO, you don’t have to bear the additional costs of hiring an insurance agent as well. Thus, you get a solid discount on your ACKO car insurance policy.

Which is Better?

The points mentioned in the previous sections state that online car insurance is better than offline car insurance. However, you must look at these options from your own perspective. Someone who is not tech-savvy, is too comfortable with the agent-based approach, and does not mind foregoing the online-based benefits might prefer the traditional way.

There is a way around this as well. If you feel the online process is daunting, simply ask a millennial relative to help. Better, you can try to insure your car online yourself, it is not difficult at all. The final call is yours. If you feel a method is stressful for you, skip it and pick the other one. But make sure to buy and renew car insurance as it is a legal requirement.

Why trust ACKO?

Take a look at the following to understand why placing your trust in ACKO for buying car insurance is a great idea.

  1. ACKO is an IRDA licensed general insurance company. Our registration number is 157.

  2. You get great discounts due to digital infrastructure.

  3. We offer an option for instant claim settlement for minor damages

  4. 6.2 crore people are our customers already

  5. We have a stellar rating of 5 stars on more than 95% of our reviews on Facebook and Google.

Also, read: Car warranty vs insurance. Which is better?

Frequently Asked Questions:

Here’s a section featuring common doubts concerning car insurance online vs agent..

Is buying insurance online from a new insurer safe?

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Buying insurance online from a new insurer is safe provided you have checked the credentials of the insurer. Browse the insurer’s website for its IRDAI certification/registration number to authenticate the insurer’s validity and buy the policy.

Is online insurance always cheaper than offline insurance?

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Mostly, online insurance is cheaper than offline because of several factors like the company’s low operational expenses, no commissions, tech-based strategy, etc.

Can I shift from online to offline and offline to online after a few years of the policy?

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Yes, you can shift from online to offline and offline to online while renewing the policy.

Is there a difference between an offline insurer also offering the policy online and a purely online insurer?

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The difference between the two is mostly related to the overall strategy. A digital-first insurer might be more tech-savvy and offer related advantages than a traditional insurer offering policies online.

Do online insurers also offer add-ons such as Roadside Assistance and Zero depreciation?

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Yes, online car insurers do offer popular add-ons.

Do online insurers inspect cars before insuring them?

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Online insurers do not inspect cars unless the car has been uninsured for a while.

What to do if I am unable to find my four-wheeler’s model on the insurance company’s website?

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You can contact the insurer’s customer care department if you are facing difficulties in searching for your vehicle’s model on their website.

I do not have an internet banking facility. Can I pay for the online car insurance policy via Debit Card?

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Yes, most insurers offer the facility to pay the premium via a Debit Card.

 Do I have to visit any government office like a registrar to renew my car’s insurance online?

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There is no need to visit any office while renewing your car insurance online.

I have never purchased insurance online. What if there is a problem while buying the online policy?

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Insuring your car online is not difficult at all. If you face any challenges, you can call the customer care number and seek help.

What do you mean by instant car insurance?

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When you buy car insurance online, you get the policy instantly delivered to your registered email address. You can download the virtual policy and store it on your device i.e. a smartphone. If you wish, you can also print the policy (multiple times) and keep it in the car. Simply show it to the traffic police when they ask you to.

I am new to online car insurance. How do I know if the insurance company is genuine and not fake?

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Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), is a government body that regulates the insurance industry of the country. All insurance companies must be registered with IRDAI to be able to sell insurance. 

When you wish to check the authenticity of an insurance company you must find their IRDAI registration number. Next, go to IRDAI’s website and open the list of the registered insurers to cross-check. If the insurer is genuine, their name will appear against the registration number on the list.

How often should I renew my car insurance policy?

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You must renew your car insurance policy each time upon expiry. Actually, it is advised to renew the policy at least a week in advance before the expiry date of the plan.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on industry experience and several secondary sources on the internet; and is subject to changes. Please go through the applicable policy wordings for updated ACKO-centric content and before making any insurance-related decisions.

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