Credit Karma CEO talks to Moneyish about a new tool that shows what others like you are really paying for car insurance, plus the future of fintech.
These rates will drive you crazy.
Americans overpay for auto insurance by astronomical sums, multiple studies show. Good drivers could save an average of $417 per year by shopping around for new insurance, according to NerdWallet; and J.D. Power found that auto insurance customers could slash $356 from their annual bill by comparison shopping. All told, Americans overspend on auto insurance by nearly $21 billion per year, according to data released this week from financial site Credit Karma.
The biggest reason: We don’t bargain hunt. More than one in three Americans haven’t compared costs or checked the price of their policy in at least three years, according to NerdWallet. That’s probably because it’s annoying to do so. Indeed, only half of shoppers called around to different agents to get different quotes, according to the Insurance Information Institute — a process that can take hours.
Enter Credit Karma’s free new auto insurance tool, which launched this week in Texas and California with the remaining states coming out in the next few months. It automatically pulls driver and car information from the DMV, public insurance filings and other sources (thus saving you from having to enter all of that manually as you do on other auto insurance comparison sites) and then spits out information on the rates that people like you are actually paying at the insurance companies in your state. The tool also lets you see how a moving violation or change in your credit score might change the rate you pay. Credit Karma’s CEO Ken Lin told Moneyish that he was inspired to create the tool after shopping around for his own car insurance, and finding that rates differed by $1,600 per year.
The interface of the new Credit Karma car insurance tool.
Lin demoed the new tool for Moneyish. The pros: It’s easy to use and time-efficient, as Credit Karma automatically pulls member’s vehicle and other information, rather than you having to manually enter that. The cons: You still have to contact the company you want to go with to get the insurance (Lin says he hopes to make the process more automated down the road), and there’s no guarantee that the insurance company will give you the rate you were shown on Credit Karma (although it certainly can help you know what you should likely be paying). Credit Karma, which is best known for offering free credit scores and showcasing deals on loans and credit cards, makes money when you take one of the offers for a financial product served up by the site.
Of course, there are other ways to compare car insurance rates. Both NerdWallet.com and Insurance.com have tools where you manually enter your vehicle and personal information and get myriad rates customized to you, for example. Both give you highly customized quotes, but filling out the information still takes time.
Whatever tool you choose, one thing is clear: You’re likely to see insurance and loan shopping become increasingly automated and simpler, Lin tells Moneyish. Already in the first half of 2018, insurance-tech firms (firms that use technology to create savings and efficiency with insurance products and services) raised $1.3 billion, according to research firm Willis Towers Watson — up 39% from the last half of 2017.
“There have been a lot of innovations in FinTech, mostly about payments … making money easier to spend,” says Lin. Now, he says, innovations will likely be around making “saving money easier and lowering the cost of borrowing — and doing this in a way that is not anxiety ridden [for consumers].”
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