Quotes aren’t free = the hidden tax

You’ve heard it, read it, been bombarded by it; Get your free auto insurance quote here…..

In case you were wondering, it isn’t free, you’re just not paying for it.  There is a difference.  Take a side track with me and think about the last golf outing you went to( I went on Thursday) or the last school function you went to(that was Friday), or various other non-obvious places that look and smell like “free.”

That free Ice Cream social is part of the book fair where I bought a book and then, kudos to them, rounded up my purchase to “donate” more to the cause.  I had already picked up Mums from the mum sale as well.

Was fortunate to be invited to a golf outing.  Nice people, had fun.  Also, as I registered, was offered to opportunities to buy things.  Later in the course was given another opportunity.

Now, neither of these opportunities are bad, they are just overlooked.

Just to get you to consider an insurance quote something had to happen.  That “something” was more than likely a whole lot of advertising that, you guessed it, is not free.  That human who is either behind the programming or answering the phone, you guessed it, not free.  And, the real truth is, you are paying with time and data.  Sure, no money is leaving your account but time is most certainly worth more and data is arguably worth more.

But would you pay for a quote with dollars?  It’s not an uncommon service for people to go to businesses to help them “save” money on various bills and as their fee, they collect a portion of the savings.  Would you do that?  Would you pay or donate say 10% of your savings to the person/company providing the quote?  It is a nominal fee considering it might be $20-$50 which is likely a month or so of your savings?

It can be argued, ineffectively but it can be, that we value what we pay for.  Maybe that is one way for an independent or even a captive agent to seem more valuable?

As it is, the acquisition cost of customers is causing more harm than it is given credit for.  Now, you cannot necessarily blame anyone for this since it is just the market responding.  But, it is.  This piece is easier to solve though, companies just have to redirect the attention to who they have and being more valuable to them.  This could likely increase the cost of paid quotes since there will be less of them.

At the same time, more agents can adopt a philosophy similar to ours ” We are not for everyone.” But, within that, comes a willingness to raise standards and not act like a transaction machine.


For future thought, a piece of the future of insurance will be agents and brokers shifting towards a members mindset instead of a customer one.  Being the provider of ancillary services and benefits that warrant a fee.  Could even mimic the Peer 2 Peer side of insurance.