Compare.com insurance comparison: is it a legitimate site?
Compare.com does exactly what its name would indicate: allows users to compare car insurance quotes from a number of auto insurance carriers. Unlike some other insurance comparison sites — with renters and homeowners insurance offerings — Compare.com hasn’t branched out into other types of insurance. Still, while it may be somewhat limited compared to other insurance comparison sites, those looking for car insurance quotes from multiple insurers may find that it meets their needs.
Read on for our complete Compare.com review, including a rundown of the quote-gathering process and how Compare.com stacks up with The Zebra and other leading competitors.
- Compare.com at a glance:
- Compare.com allows users to compare multiple insurance quotes at once.
- Depending on your location, results can be quite limited, especially for more robust policies.
- Compare.com may pass your information to a number of lead generation sites, potentially leading to unwanted emails and phone calls.
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How does Compare.com work?
Compare.com works with a number of auto insurance companies in an effort to help users find car insurance. The Virginia-based company utilizes user-submitted information to fetch quotes from auto insurance companies, in much the same way as platforms such as The Zebra and Insurify.
The Compare.com homepage
Compare.com has a clean, easy-to-navigate homepage. For those wanting to get into the insurance quote experience right away, getting started is easy. Submitting a ZIP code via the prominent field takes the user directly to the quote comparison tool.
Users may navigate to a number of other pages from the homepage, including guides to different types of auto insurance, how to insure different vehicles, and the insurance requirements in different states.
The Compare.com insurance quote comparison process
After entering a ZIP code, a user builds their profile by entering pertinent information such as their driving history and their vehicle information. Users input the make and model of their vehicle, how long they’ve had it, and whether they own, finance, or lease it. Compare.com also asks if the user employs safety features such as OnStar, automatic disabling, or a vehicle recovery device.
At this point, Compare.com asks users to agree to its terms and conditions. These are listed clearly, ensuring there are no surprises.
At this point, users must input personal details, including marital status, employment status, education level, and renter or homeowner status. Each of these is a factor that can determine insurance costs. Users are given the option to list their military status, which could open up opportunities for discounts or reduced rates through companies such as USAA.
Next comes driving history. At this point, users are prompted to enter their driver's license status. Users are asked about previous incidents, tickets, and claims, and given an opportunity to go into greater detail on any relevant incidents with clearly labeled icons and an easy-to-use interface.
Throughout the process, Compare.com provides helpful information boxes to explain insurance terminology that might not be common knowledge, such as SR-22. Compare.com also explains the reasons for asking specific questions, like marriage status and gender (why are there only two?). After submitting their phone number and email, the user is finally taken to the quotes page.
Why do comparison sites ask for personal information?
All insurance companies and insurance comparison sites — like The Zebra and Compare.com — require personal information in order to generate a quote. This is because your quotes will differ depending on many different factors.
Insurance companies use a number of metrics to gauge the amount of risk that a driver poses. This can include your age, gender, marital status, address, driving history and — at least in most states — your credit score. The more personal information that you can provide to a comparison site, the more accurate your quote will be.
The Compare.com results page
Compare.com provides four separate levels of insurance coverage from which to choose:
- State Minimum
- Basic Coverage
- Plus Coverage (which they indicated was my best match)
- Premium Coverage
I selected Plus coverage, which would place bodily injury and property damage liability rates at 50/100/50. Other than these four coverage tiers, Compare.com doesn't offer many coverage variations or options, though there seems to be more flexibility when you follow the links to carrier websites.
Getting the quotes after submitting personal info took 30 seconds, which was counted down on the screen. The site returned quotes from six insurance carriers, ranging from $237/month to $457/month. Compare.com also returned a wide variety of down payments: anywhere from $243 down to $616 down.
The quotes were clearly labeled and easy to read. A click on the information icon in the top left corner of each quote broke down the individual coverage that could be expected, including limits and deductibles.
There were a few different options for sorting quotes, including by the down payment required and the price when paid in full. It should be noted that some were six-month policies, and some 12-month, making the paid-in-full price considerably more expensive. When I changed the limits to basic, I received substantially more quotes (17 total). A premium tier request fetched six carriers.
Buying insurance coverage through Compare.com
The number of quotes I was given was surprisingly low considering my location — Austin, Texas. This is especially true for the more robust coverage options of Plus and Premium. Not every result included a quote, requiring me to click through to the carrier sites to get my price and purchase a policy. Only one quote — from Kemper — required that I call in to speak with an advisor. In this case, Compare.com generated a quote reference number.
Clicking on the cheapest quote (Elephant) led me to Elephant’s website. The quote matched what Compare.com displayed. Elephant showed the discounts for which our user was eligible, along with add-ons that could be included in a policy.
Overall, the process of getting quotes was relatively easy and took less than 10 minutes.
How does Compare.com handle your personal information?
This alone doesn’t sound any major alarm bells: the nature of Compare.com’s business model — and its value proposition to users — dictates user information is passed to insurance companies who ultimately fulfill the insurance policy. However, by entering your email and phone number, you essentially allow Compare.com to pass your information to a number of companies. Later in the process, the company lays out exactly how user information may be distributed to third parties:
The companies listed include a number of lead-generation sites. Once they have your info, they could contact you with offers via email and phone calls, and these offers could come regularly. Unlike some auto insurance quote comparison sites, I was able to get to the Compare.com quotes page without entering my phone number, though the site did ask for it.
Unlike The Zebra, which has a strict no-spam rule and doesn’t even ask for your phone number, Compare.com doesn’t clearly indicate that it isn’t required.
Compare.com customer reviews
Overall, customers seem relatively happy with their experiences with Compare.com. The following ratings are taken from a few prominent customer review sites.
Compare.com vs. The Zebra
On the surface, Compare.com and The Zebra may seem similar. Indeed, Compare.com can get you a few quotes and may help you find a policy. However, look a little closer and you will see that there are some pretty significant differences.
Compare.com works by taking the personal information that you provide and sending it to partner companies. Insurance companies pay Compare.com for each "lead" that is sent to their site. The Zebra, on the other hand, generates real-time insurance quotes based on the information that you provide. Our in-house agency can help you bind your policy or even help find cheaper and more suitable coverage.
Furthermore, Compare.com passes your information on to lead-generation sites, meaning that you may receive unwanted emails and phone calls. The Zebra makes a point to protect your private information. We have a strict "no-spam" policy, meaning you can rest assured that your information is safe.
Which auto insurance quote comparison site is best?
If you’re looking for the best price on a new car insurance policy, it pays to do some comparison shopping. While there’s no shortage of comparison websites claiming to provide the best insurance quotes, if you want attention to detail and a great customer service experience, The Zebra is a great choice.
With an easy-to-use website and licensed in-house insurance agents, The Zebra makes finding the best insurance rates easy. That expertise, paired with a commitment to keeping your personal information secure, means that you can be confident The Zebra will help you find a policy to suit your needs.
- What does Compare.com do?
Compare.com is a car insurance comparison site that provides customers with a number of insurance quotes based on their driver profile. Just like The Zebra, Compare.com works with companies to show users a number of side-by-side insurance quotes to help them find the most affordable insurance policy. Policies can be purchased online or by providing a quote reference number over the phone. Compare.com does not charge for its services. Customers looking for homeowners or other types of insurance may need to look elsewhere.
- How is The Zebra different from Compare.com?
While both companies can be used to find real, reliable auto insurance quotes, The Zebra treats your personal information with the utmost care, promising that you will not be spammed or have your information sold to third parties. The Zebra is also the largest direct quotes insurance comparison site, leveraging close relationships with a number of the top insurance companies in the United States.
Another way in which The Zebra stands out is its in-house insurance agency, which can sell policies directly to customers. Knowledgeable agents can spend time working to find you the right insurance policy, be it for auto coverage or homeowners insurance.
- What are the pros and cons of using Compare.com?
Pros of Compare.com
Compare.com has an easy-to-navigate website. A thorough questioning process builds a driver profile that should allow for relatively accurate quotes with a number of top insurance carriers. Moreover, the site makes the process of getting quotes intuitive and informative, giving a number of helpful definitions as users progress through the quote comparison process.
Cons of Compare.com
The biggest problem most consumers will have with Compare.com is that the company shares personal information with a number of lead generation sites. Those who don’t like to be hounded may want to tread lightly. Furthermore, those looking for forms of insurance other than auto may be disappointed, as auto insurance is the only product Compare.com offers at this time.
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We used a profile of a single, 30-year-old male who was employed full-time. The user drives a 2015 Toyota Camry and has one at-fault accident on their record within the past three years.