Buying auto insurance can be surprisingly painful – survey

Imagine the pain of slamming your hand in a car door.

It hurts just to think about it, right?

But that’s what one in five drivers say they would rather do than shop for auto insurance, according to a recent survey by insurer Esurance.

It shows that buying auto insurance can be a surprisingly painful process.

Frustrated insurance shopper
Shopping for auto insurance is painful, survey finds.

“Slamming your hand in a car door is pretty extreme, and undeniably painful,” said Jonathan Adkisson of Esurance in discussing the results of the survey, which comprised 2,000 respondents. “No one should ever prefer that experience to shopping for insurance, which should be easy, efficient, and ultimately leave you feeling confident you and your family are properly protected.”

But the study confirms there’s a lot of work to be done in the industry to address consumers’ major pain points, the company said, which include making shopping simple, transparent and affordable.

Following are a few of the survey findings:


“Insurance is inherently complicated and needs to be simplified,” said Esurance. “Between all the jargon, coverage options and fine print, it can be a frustrating process for many consumers to get through. And, while comparing rates and reviewing coverage options is an important part of shopping for insurance … this is an area customers really don’t enjoy – to say the least.”

  • More than 75 percent of customers multitask while dealing with insurance companies, including watching TV (45 percent), browsing social media (38 percent) and shopping online (30 percent).
  • One in three shoppers of drinking age would rather have a cocktail than a calculator in hand when researching coverage options, “a sign some people may be more concerned with just getting through the process rather than getting it right.”


“There’s a clear need for more transparency around coverages so people feel confident they’re properly protected,” the insurer said. “Coverage terms are confusing, and customers don’t always understand what they’re buying since policies can feel like reading gobbledygook.”

  • Nearly a third of consumers surveyed by Esurance said they would rather take a physics test than a test of their insurance knowledge.
  • A majority of consumers (57 percent) turn to sources such as a spouse, their parents, friends or co-workers to help them understand something about their insurance.


“Price is typically the top concern when it comes to purchasing insurance. Insurance is so essential some coverages are required by law, yet many don’t feel it’s valuable and want to be paying less.”

  • More than one-third of consumers don’t necessarily believe they get what they paid for – rating the value of insurance six out of 10 or lower on a 0-10 scale.
  • Nearly 40 percent of consumers expressed dissatisfaction with their current rates or prices, rating their satisfaction at five out of 10 or lower on the 0-10 scale.
  • Nearly 80 percent of those surveyed said not having coverage they need in an accident would be more terrifying than accidentally sending a snarky text to the person they were talking about.

“We’ve been talking to a lot of customers and people shopping for insurance,” Esurance says in a report on its website. “Here’s what we’ve heard loud and clear: No one likes dealing with insurance. It can feel complex, confusing and expensive. In other words, a real pain.”

More Like This

September 28, 2012

Getting a firm grip on the future at Santander Consumer USA

Who’s behind the wheel? Young car buyers, apparently. And the rest of us better be ready to ride along. That was the point of a recent column, “Young consumers lead the drive to online financing,” by Jim Henry in Automotive…