In our continuing quest to bring consumers the very best experience in insurance shopping, we decided to send our friends and family members through other insurance sites and experiences to let us know what they thought.

First, a caveat: Yes, our friends and family know CoverHound and want it to succeed. But they’re also heavy Internet users and have a strong sense of the technologies available and what users can expect of them. At this point the consensus seems to be that when shopping for insurance, a consumer wants easy access to all the rates available, before being able to purchase the best policy right then and there.

With that in mind they made the rounds to some of the biggest sites in the space: CarInsurance.com, NetQuote, Progressive and USInsuranceOnline.com each has its advantages and major drawbacks. The notes are curated below.

NetQuote is a decent-looking site that takes me right to a form from the homepage. The form is long but I was willing to give my information. So you can understand why I was dismayed that all that info just sent me to back to what looks like a strict lead generation page. No rates.

After clicking on the Geico button, I land on the Geico site and then I pretty much have to start all over again filling out a long form. Frustrations. Here's a pic of the Geico site/form I'm sent to after giving all that information to NetQuote.”

NetQuote form

And from a different secret shopper.
CarInsurance.com is a somewhat aesthetically-challenged site, whose call to action is centered in the middle of the homepage. I entered my zip code, and right off the bat was given a choice whether I want to get a quote now or get something called “Online Quotes Online Purchase.” Getting a quote now apparently means getting sent to the homepage of the insurance carrier in question. The carriers are ordered 1-8 on the page but I am in the dark as to what merits a higher ranking on the list; I presume some sort of agreement between the two companies.

Lead gen form

Clicking “Online Quotes Online Purchase” takes me to a long form on the site. I know that you have to give a lot of information to get a car insurance rate; I just hope I can get an actual quote out of this.

Apparently the one form isn’t enough, because after getting a rate (an actual price, which was nice), I clicked on “continue with QBE” only to be taken to another form, this one co-branded. So now I have to re-enter a lot of information I submitted on the initial form. Finally, after tracking down my VIN number I am able to buy a policy.

I also called the phone number listed on the top of each page. Nice people. It’s a traditional insurance agency; you can get rates from 'companies they work with' and buy directly over the phone. Not bad.”

And another on Progressive:
"I had trouble finding other company’s rates on Progressive. I thought that’s what they did? Went through the form again and finally found it -- a link on policy page that says “Compare rates.” Then had to give a lot more info -- and then finally landed on a comparison page. There I was given three quotes from carriers not named Progressive. Not sure why these three were picked. Also there is no option to buy any of the polices. I assume because they compete with Progressive. Amazing how they get branded the comparison engine.”

Progressive form

And finally US insurance online:
Upon first encountering the site, I was struck by its simplicity; the call to action is clear as is the value proposition. Now the only question is whether they can provide actual rates, and if I could buy a policy if I wanted.

After giving my zip code I am sent to a page which allows me to click on a box bringing me to the carrier’s landing page where I have to re-enter almost all of my information. Why would anyone ever go to this site in the first place? What is this?”

US Insurance Form

-- While CoverHound isn't perfect either, we do have the customer experience missing from these sites. And it includes real rates from the top carriers that one can purchase immediately, wrapped within a pleasurable experience for the user.

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