I was recently contacted by CheapAutosInsurance.com (CAI) to write a review of their site/service.
Before I begin, I should mention 02restoration.com isn't my day job. My real day job is advertising, design, marketing, and social media consulting. In fact, reviewing website content and usability is one of the services my company offers. As such, I'm being compensated for my time to write this. My only condition was I would write a completely unbiased review -- positive or negative I would spill it all -- otherwise, it wouldn't benefit you. And without hesitation, they agreed. So without clicking a single link, you can already tell they're confident in the insurance services and information they offer.
As you can imagine, this review is going to go a bit deeper than a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down. So I'll apologize in advance if I start using web geek terminology.
Now that's out of the way, onto the review.
How do you spell that again?
As it took about a week before I had time to review the site, the first thing I did was go to CheapAutoInsurance.com. Interestingly enough, that wasn't their site, so don't go there. Instead, I was presented with some sort of "Made for Adsense" site. You've seen them, a page filled with links disguised as content. In reality, they're links to other sites. If you click on a link, you're redirected to another website and the site owner gets paid for the click-through.
The mistake was that my memory said, â€œAutoâ€, but the site name is "Autos" â€“ CheapAutosInsurance.com. When I realized the mistake I went back to the original email and clicked on the link. Ironically, when I bookmarked the site, the bookmark says, "Cheap Auto Insurance". Hmmm?
Bookmark Worthy Content
I thought I knew quite a bit about auto insurance until I reviewed information on this site. Wow, between the definitions of terms, explanations of all the different auto insurance coverage and the great tips, I certainly learned a lot. I think you will too.
On the downside, I couldn't find any car insurance information specific to classic or antique cars like my 1972 BMW 2002. I did find a link for "50â€™s car insurance" but that was for people 50 years of age and older.
I'm going to skip ahead a tad to let you know once you get through the process of filling out the pages for getting an auto insurance quote, they give you four great PDF's with loads of great information -- all for free!
The PDFs covered Auto, Health, Home, and Life Insurance and contain questions, terminology, worksheets and a checklist for each. Very useful stuff.
First thing I expected was that I'd fill out some sort of form and get an instant quote. That's not how it works. And, unfortunately, they don't tell you otherwise.
Before you go through the process, let me explain some stuff they don't (and really should).
- Before you start their cheap car insurance quote process, make sure you have a copy of your current insurance policy. You'll need it (at least I did) in order to enter specific coverage information. That way you can get an apples-to-apples quote.
- The process is a bit long -- at least it really felt long because there wasn't a visual indicator to let me know how long or how many steps were in the process. Just be prepared to spend 10 minutes or so.
- You're not going to get an instant auto insurance quote.
The purpose of the site is to match you with insurance companies (I have no idea what criteria they use). When you complete the request process, a list of insurance companies will be displayed that you've been matched with. Those companies will then contact you by phone or email (you have a choice) with their quote.
Actual Insurance Quotes
Of the two companies I was matched with, both contacted me. Although I only ended up speaking with one of the two companies, both were very professional. The second left a very professional voice message.
Although the agent I spoke with was very helpful, there was an initial bit of confusion when he told me the quote came through "InsureMe". Huh?
I think CAI must work as a partner or affiliate of InsureMe -- perhaps getting paid for the leads they generate. Not that it really makes a difference, but would be helpful if this was explained in advance in order to avoid confusion.
I would have to say that as much information and tips that CheapAutosInsurance.com offers they really should rework the site to be more user-friendly. I went to the site looking for expert guidance and ease in accomplishing my task, so I would like the process kept simple.
For instance, the site needs to help take the customer effortlessly from terms & definitions, to FAQ's, to basic tips, and finally to the quote stage without having to search around the site for each bit of information you might need. This is even more important if you don't know what you need.
Even though the information is divided into sections, I don't really want to read through all the details. I just want guidance and the highlights. If I need more information or explanation, then I will read more or just do a search. Unfortunately, the site doesn't have a search function.
The site might also consider giving their customers some idea of the amount of steps involved in getting a quote and the information they will need in front of them before they start. They should also mention the great PDF's you'll get after completing the quote process. In fact, if they mentioned this upfront they'd probably get more people to complete the quote request process.
Also, they should tell you (in advance) that you will not get an instant car insurance quote. Instead, the various insurance companies you're matched with will provide quotes.
The site may also consider having a separate page that provides a summary of basic terms, coverage's and tips as reference for the customer to refer to while going through the quote process. I, for one, was confused about a specific question. In the end, I found out the question was asking about my deductible and not the actual coverage. That said, the agent I spoke with quickly updated the quote with the correct information.
CAI should also include a warning that some people may not be considered for insurance and why, before they start the quote process. According to the agent, this comes into play if you have a lapse in auto insurance coverage.
From a readability standpoint, I found the text size to be quite small and difficult to read. And when you factor in the yellow colored subheadings, it gets really hard on the eyes. Not really surprising considering most sites these days are designed by young people with great eyesight and tend to think small font sizes look good. So go ahead and make your visit more comfortable by manually increasing the font size in your web browser.
Along with the font size, the line length is way too long -- makes me feel like the sentences will never end. They could make the main column shorter (recommended width should be no more than 520px), but they have this huge "Get a free quote" banner in the middle of the text. Which, by the way, is a really bad placement and greatly reduces click-through's. Not only because where it's placed, but because too many people will ignore it thinking it's an advertisement.
Okay, enough with all the techy stuff, onto the bottom-line summary.
I feel that CheapAutosInsurance.com provided me with the knowledge and tips I needed to get the best available deal on auto insurance and some great PDF's to boot -- even though it did take more time than I really wanted to spend.
Check out their site now. Can't guarantee you'll save money on your auto insurance, but you won't be disappointed with their content.
Please let me know if this review was helpful to you. If so, I'll keep it on the radar to review more sites and services in the future.