Online Car Insurance in Australia Is it a distant dream
Getting Online Car Insurance in Australia is nowhere near what it is in the UK and US markets. Over there you have all the major insurance companies and underwriters allowing online aggregators to act like a broker between them and consumer. But where are the car insurance comparison websites in Australia? Currently they only offer 1 underwriter and that is comparing apples with apples.
Over the last 5 years in Australia, competition through comparison websites has come online for a range of products including travel insurance, health insurance, gas/electricity prices, home loans and credit cards. So why hasnt the car comparison market opened up! The answer is because none of the general insurance heavy weights want to jump on board and support car insurance comparison websites.
All the quotes I have received online from a comparison site show policies from a Budget owned and underwritten policy. You are getting the same policy features and the same underwriter. In fact the only difference in most of the policies is the price and the brand name the consumer sees. The underwriter determines the risk profile of a driver and a retailer takes an arranging fee or commission. So it is important to have several underwriters when comparing. That is the true test of comparison.
Each underwriter has its own formula for pricing a policy and they can vary massively. I got online quote using the same profile and found a company could be $2000 more expensive for a particular individual but be $80 cheaper for another. These swings make it vital for more than 1 underwriter when comparing.
What needs to happen is one of the larger car insurance providers such as Allianz, Suncorp, CGU, Vero, GIO, QBE, AIG need to participate and join Budget offering comparison online. At the moment the big boy companies go through brokers to sell their product and if they went online it could kill the retail broker industry. Budget however, is a South African based company and in comparison is relatively new to the market. Unlike the others, it has used the internet and website owners to get their products to market much like Suncorp, AIG and Allianz use brokers.
Unless one of the big 5 insurance companies want to join Budget and do business with online car insurance aggregators, then it may be a while until the Australian people join the US and UK and see real online competition.
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