September 28, 2010

How To Tell If An Auto Insurance Website Is Biased

Finding a dependable car insurance provider can be tough, and many drivers decide to look at as many insurance websites as possible before selecting a policy. However, occasionally a driver will stumble onto an unfairly biased auto insurance website.

Every auto insurance website will have some type of bias, as all of the factors that insurance companies use to figure rates are technically biases. Things like driver history, vehicle choice, and zip code are frequently used when figuring rates, and an auto insurance website will usually ask about these things before issuing a quote. Auto insurance websites will even ask about gender, and will assign rates differently to men and women. This is because, statistically speaking, women tend to be better drivers until age 65 or so. This may seem like an unfair bias, but every dependable car insurance company uses gender as one of the factors that determines its rates.

However, there are some forms of bias that are illegal and unacceptable. No auto insurance website is allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, or handicap status. Laws in most states and at the federal level prevent these forms of bias, and insurance companies can't use any of these factors when they create car insurance quotes. A dependable car insurance website won't ask about handicap or race at all, and you should be immediately wary if you're prompted for this information. If you believe that an auto insurance website is showing an unacceptable bias for or against certain customers, you'll need to take action to have the website reported to your state's insurance commission.

State insurance commissions are specifically set up to protect drivers from bad auto insurance companies that use poor methods or unacceptable business practices. You can usually find the insurance commission for your state by doing a quick Internet search. Once you find the state insurance commission, contact them and inform them of the biased auto insurance website. You should have a print or a screen capture of the offensive page to show them. They may ask you to fill out an official complaint, or your state's insurance commissioner may pursue the biased website without any further input from you. Biased websites will incur heavy fines, and may have their licenses stripped. This prevents them from doing business in your state. An insurance commissioner may even inform other states of the biased auto insurance company, or if the bias is significant enough, charges may be pursued at the federal level to prevent the auto insurance website from continuing to operate.