Okay, I confess: I was dorking around on YouTube and clicked on Buzzquote's video. I watched the video and decided to click on buzzquote.me... To confirm there is validity to buzzquotes comment about conspiracy theory at work here would be a gross understatement.... I understand buzzquote's concept of being a conscience consumer. Who doesn't want to be put their money where its going to count most? Consumers have to realize where they click, spend and give their time is directly related to politics and finances.
DO NOT WASTE TIME. Time is money. Buzzquote cuts out the middle man and connects car and rental insurance agencies directly to the consumer.
Educate yourself. Know your policy, rates, coverage and have fun negotiating!
-- Kate B. | Awh, California | July 31 2014.
P.S. Thank you, buzzquote, as you saved me a lot of personal time in gathering the key competitors and putting them in contact with me. I am now switching insurance carriers and saving $60 a year with the EXACT same coverage I was paying more for. Plus I'm getting emergency road side assistance and my new carrier has a loyalty discount program so I will continue to save money throughout the years. And FYI: the agent said every 6 years or so insurance company discounts tend to expire which is when good drivers should, again, shop around.
It's time to get your Buzzquote. Get it by putting info about your car into our online form. You could quickly find yourself saving $100 or even $400 or $1,000. You can get it on a mobile device or tablet but it will be fastest on a regular old PC or Mac with a keyboard. The details like the make, model, and year of your car are important, so make sure you enter them correctly. Click here to get your free Buzzquote now from our online form.
Yes: we're suggesting you actually read something long and detailed on the internet. Please note that there will be no games to play; no pictures of cute animals will appear and then disappear on your screen, and you will encounter no celebrities in these pages. We will not be presenting any infotainment nuggets or idiotic slideshows. This may require some modicum of attention: If you are currently watching an inane reality television program while you're reading this, you may wish to discontinue watching said program. We're going to be covering a bit of ground.
First, let's set the stage: Wintertime. Anonymous exit off of interstate highway, in the northern Midwest. Parking lot, partially iced over, overlooked by a ten-floor glass and steel structure -- an office building, two-thirds empty, but one-third in utilization by a multi-floor office with actuaries, statisticians, financiers, charts and graphs; serious men and women in grey suits gazing out of wall-sized reflective windows on to the dim, desolate roadways below; crusty coffee machines, filing cabinets, interdepartmental memos, big, heavy handset phones, endless rows of cubicles. Glass and steel. Fluorescent lighting. Out-of-date computers whirring away at ancient, closed-source spreadsheet software. Macros acting up, HR, the faint scent of cigarette smoke brought inadvertently through office air ducts. This is reality. Cave men, lizards, and other stupid stuff -- this is not reality. This is a waste of your time. The big insurance companies want to simplify the complex and politically charged issue of mandatory insurance down to just a few catch phrases and branding elements, so that you'll be confused enough to believe that there is actually a difference between different brands of auto insurance.
Time for the thesis statement: The distinctions , typically made via mass advertising, that big insurance brands attempt to draw between each other, are baldfaced lies. Insurance is a commodity. Other examples of commodities are: grain, gold, oil, silver, electricity, copper, aspirin. Anything where the end product is the same no matter which company you buy it from. Insurance has become commoditized because the marketplace for it is so heavily regulated by state governments, that insurance companies have very, very little leeway in the kinds of services they can actually provide. Each and every detail of the entire auto insurance dance -- from the price of the premiums to the legal responsibilities of drivers who are involved in an accident -- are codified in state law, and if these laws change at all, they do so only at a glacial legislative pace. Even if an insurance company wanted to do something radically different, it would be literally impossible. Again: All auto insurance is the same. Dark, half-filled parking lots. Black ice. The occasional minivan nosing cautiously onto the access road. The handful of companies who have bribed or negotiated their way into position to be able to legally offer you insurance are just trying to maximize revenues while minimizing expenses. Let's translate this: They want to charge you the most that they can for your insurance, while paying out the minimum that they can in the case of an accident. What gets these companies up in the morning is not actually the business of insurance. That business is about as dynamic as a continental shelf. What actually matters is something called market share: what percentage of the population is using their insurance, as opposed to insurance from another company. And market share is created through the expenditure of billions of dollars, converted from money in the bank (your bank, actually) into billboards, radio spots, tv advertising, sponsorship of the construction of private pools for charming but otherwise untalented residents of Manhattan and Southern California. This money is taken out of your bank account. About $5.9 billion dollars per year, at last count. And so far, you're not doing a damn thing about it. But here's your chance. Fill out the online form, right now. It'll take about two minutes.
Every year, tens of millions of Americans, after years of nonconsensual exposure to endless advertising messages from the biggest insurers, end up doing exactly what they are told to do: In a zombie stupor, lifting their engorged bodies from couches, momentarily taking their eyes off of televisions to pick up the phone or go on the internet, these people go to get only one direct quote from a heavily advertised insurer. Placing themselves carefully into the barrel of capitalism's enormous cannon, in a soft voice, they meekly request for someone to light the fuse. And, not to abuse metaphors, it's a vicious cycle, too, because the more people who are infected with this idiocy -- that a certain brand of insurance is better than another certain brand -- the more direct customers the big companies get, and the more of these customer's money the big companies can turn around to invest in more advertising. It's waste, pure and simple. Sure, a lot of other industries are dependent on advertising to create a market -- nobody, for example, would pay Coca-Cola $2.49 for a liter of sugar water if they hadn't been brainwashed from birth to believe that this was a worthwhile investment. But here is the key difference: Coca-Cola is optional. You don't have to buy it. But auto insurance is not optional, if you want to drive a car. And this is what is so inherently wrong and unfair about the current system: Consumers are being forced to pay not only for auto insurance, but also forced to pay for the marketing and advertising of auto insurance. It can only be compared to communist country, where everyone has their earnings confiscated by the government, and that money is turned directly around in the form of propaganda to be used on and against the populace. It's disgraceful that this is going on here in the United States.
I discovered this situation myself while looking for insurance a few months ago, and it pissed me off to a not inconsiderable degree. And that's what inspired me to put on a bow tie and bring my somewhat pretentious message to the masses. Already the response to my hilarious (or hilariously bad?) videos has been tremendous. My flagship video on YouTube, the one which features pictures of car crashes and other assorted internet stupidity -- has already exceeded six million views, and by the time you read this, it will probably be more. Not everyone likes what we have to say. It's controversial. But this website, and our message, is important. We have both a very boring point to make, that it's simply not fair that auto insurance exists as a broad-based tax across all automobile drivers in the United States, and that such a huge proportion of this tax is taken out either as profit or turned around into more marketing; and also a less boring point: that the politics and aesthetics of insurance advertising are all wrong. The lizards and the cave men and then women in the white rooms are all bullshit. (I think I can say "bullshit", here, right?) We all know what the reality is. The carry-on luggage. The powerpoint presentations, briefcases, the sound of business footwear in day-old slush, the cold but real exigencies of commercial leases. Meetings. Cost vs. Benefit. ROI. We're not radicals. We do believe that some kind of system like auto insurance will be necessary. Driving can be dangerous, and in the case of serious accident, there must be compensation, and few people have the private means to effectively self-insure, such that a person could handle an accident's liability without outside help. But on the other hand, the fact that even the safest drivers -- those who might have been driving for decades without a serious accident -- must pay for the poor driving skills and bad risk assessment of other individuals -- this can't be right.
We want to next address this issue: Where is the appropriate place to get an auto insurance quote? Perhaps this isn't a topic that you discuss around the water cooler or dinner table, but that doesn't mean that it's not important. Certainly it's a question that gets quite a lot of attention in advertising. A large number of lizards and cave men have been inconvenienced during the discussion of this very issue. Let's back up on this. Only a very small number of companies can legally provide you with auto insurance. This varies from state to state, but in most states, there may only be four or five companies which can actually insure your vehicle. Here at Buzzquote, being conspiracy theorists who wear tin-foil hats and only use Linux, we believe that this limited selection is directly related to the huge level of campaign contributions that insurance companies graciously provide to state politicians every year. Like in many heavily regulated industries, we believe there is some sort of pay-to-play in progress. Possibly one that complies with the law, but not one that complies with the spirit of our democracy. And everyone inside the system, the politicians and established insurers, have very strong incentives to prevent new entrants into the system. But setting this aside, let's admit that it's also reasonably believable that insurance is complex enough that there's no way for a small company to even come to the table: Concrete and steel, car services, nearly empty regional airports. Board meetings, followed by informal sit-downs and compliance check-ups. Regional conferences of mid-level staff. Not just any company can actually still get Windows 95 up and running. It's not terrifically easy to be a successful startup in an industry where rewards are only possible after a seventeen-year licensing process. An insurance company is not a skateboard shop or a maker of Android apps. It's hard to start one while you're also spending half the day paddleboarding out of Marina Del Rey. An insurance company to some extent is a big investment company. They are taking money, every month, from poor suckers such as ourselves, throwing a lot back into idiotic marketing, but then investing the rest, and looking for a good return on that investment. Think of an insurance company like a bank that occasionally has re-fill a bank account that gets inadvertently emptied. Their primary investment is in motorists, who they generally hope will not get in an accident, so they can keep those premiums and not have to pay them out.
But suffice to say, only a very few companies can even offer you insurance in your state. So how do you go about getting quotes from these companies? An enormous quantity of money is currently being pumped into media campaigns, the thrust of which is very simple: Go to our website and get a quote directly from us. Look at this picture of a lizard, doesn't it make you want to go to our website and let us take advantage of you? And this is not only preposterously stupid, it's also quite insane and illogical. Why would you randomly select only one company for an auto insurance quote, especially a company which is clearly being incredibly profligate with their marketing money, handing it all to media companies as advertising fees? (Sorry, I should say profligate with our money, the people who are paying these companies for insurance.) For me, I would decide on where to get my auto insurance quotes by trying to determine which company was spending the least on advertising. Since all of these companies are doing the same thing, that is, trying to charge you as much as possible for as minimal a service set as possible, I'd at least not want to directly finance whichever company was wasting the most money.
We are advocating the exact reverse strategy from that put forward by the big insurance companies. They are trying to create something called "brand awareness", such that, since you've been forcibly exposed to their lizards and cave men on TV, radio, billboards, magazines, internet, and a zillion other places where advertising messages are shoehorned into our minds, when the time comes that you are looking for insurance, you will naturally think of these brands first. Actually, the research on branding is quite startling. We can't talk directly about the insurers here, because they will undoubtedly make life difficult for us if we do, but Coke and Pepsi can serve as a proxy in this discussion. Did you know that a recent survey found that, in a blind taste test, people preferred Pepsi to Coke, however, what they liked the most was actually Pepsi served in a Coke can. It's incredible, but true. People like the Coke branding (because it's been most forcibly inserted into their consciousness via advertising,) but also preferred the taste of Pepsi (higher sugar content), so the magical combination is Coke, served in a Pepsi bottle. Insane, but true. This is a digression, but is related to this reverse strategy we are proposing: Get your quotes in exactly the opposite order of brand awareness. Whichever brand comes first to mind, this is the one you should trust the least.
And that's why we've created Buzzquote, and why we've partnered with a couple of America's leading insurance quote aggregators. You go to the online form, and you enter your info -- about yourself, where you live, your automobile(s), etc., and you'll be put in touch with any possible insurer who comes to the table. It'll take about two minutes, and you could save a LOT of money.
Let's be honest and say that many of these insurers will be the same brands that are also trying to brainwash you, trying to convince you to get only one quote directly from them. There's nothing we can really do about this because, as we've discussed, in a given state there are usually only four or five companies who can legally insure your vehicle. But at least with Buzzquote, you are getting these companies to come to you, instead of offering yourself up to them directly, and accepting whatever quote they happen to give you. Auto insurance is a competitive marketplace (well, as above, it's not as competitive as it should be, or could be,) and the best you can do is put yourself right smack in the middle of that competition, simultaneously reach out to as many brokers and insurers as possible, and see what they can do for you. This is really is the promise of the internet, and extends across a number of industries: to disintermediate between products and consumers, and to add transparency to transactions. In an ideal world, there would be one, totally transparent system (or 'exchange') whereby individuals could input their automobile details and every possible insurer would simply provide a data feed with the lowest available rates. Actually, at the time of writing, such a system is in development for health insurance, nationwide. Yes, we're referring here to Obamacare, the national healthcare exchange, which right now is obviously not functioning as planned. To actually create one centralized exchange that works one hundred percent of the time -- this is hard to do. It's hard to get your mind fully around the complexity of a system like this. Things can go wrong. But the endpoint should be a much more fair and equitable system for Americans, such that a lot less of healthcare expenditure is siphoned off in the form of profits and waste, and instead is put back into care. You can watch the videos on our youtube channel about "The European", which are obviously a farce. In reality, the Europeans have it right. I'm sorry to have to break it to you here. There are industries which work best when centered around profit, but healthcare is not one of them.
But back to auto insurance: A centralized exchange for auto insurance should be a lot easier to implement than health insurance, since the set of variables at play is so much smaller. In the case of medical insurance, you have tens of thousands of data points for each 'user', but with auto insurance it's just lot more simple. How many makes of car can there possibly be? We're looking forward to the evolution of such a system and want to get involved with bringing it to the masses. But for now, your best bet is to spread yourself as widely as possible, and get as many quotes as possible. Get a Buzzquote. To do anything less, to get only one quote from a big insurerer, is not a good idea. Time to bring this essay to a close. Thanks for actually reading what we've written here. It's important to us that we can discuss this subject on an adult level, instead of resorting to cartoons, marketing-speak, or nonsense skits involving lizards. When you see that crap, please ignore it. Here at Buzzquote we're trying to entertain, but also educate, and bring a bit of life into this dusty and obscure subject. We're driving our hippy van onto the frozen parking lots of the insurance industry. We'll be setting up here for a while, selling vegetarian burritos and only such drugs that are also available in the state of California by prescription. Unfortunately, we can't say the same thing about the big insurers: They've got nothing interesting to say, at all. They want to obfuscate the real issues. They want you to think that auto insurance is a comedy sketch or a cartoon or a lizard or a caveman so you don't ask too many questions. Here at Buzzquote, we welcome questions, and want to stimulate debate. If you have any questions for us, please don't hesitate to contact us using the email link below. And please take two minutes right now to use the online form and see how much money you can save with Buzzquote.