Progressive is an extraordinary car insurance company providing low rates and exemplary service. They are very easy to do business with and provide several different ways to purchase a policy. Customers can buy a policy online or over the phone to deal directly with the company, or through an independent insurance agent to receive advice and additional service from them. These attributes are well-known by most consumers.
What is not so well-known is that the price for a policy varies depending on how it is purchased. Each specific risk will have a different price when an independent agent is used compared to buying directly from Progressive. It is a common misconception that a policy will always cost more when an agent is used.
Claims data from prior policies is a primary component insurance companies use when determining rates for new policies going forward. Progressive separates their data for policies purchased directly from them and those through independent agents. Also, costs associated with acquiring and servicing policies is separately determined. Assigning costs to the method by which a policy is purchased enables Progressive to “fine tune” their rates, providing them a competitive advantage.
The misconception that polices are always higher when purchased through an independent agent comes about because a sales commission is paid to the agent. Naturally, this expense increases the cost of a policy. However, the functions performed by the independent agent replaces the work required by company personnel which has a decreasing effect on a policy. Advertising, a very large expense, is also taken into account separately. Independent agents incur the expense of promoting themselves, while the company uses their resources to promote itself. It is easy to see how the company spends a bundle to have Flo, the Progressive girl, appear on television over and over again.
The car insurance market place is very competitive, motivating Progressive to change rates frequently to keep rates as low as possible. Calculating rates according to how the consumer buys a policy helps keep rates lower overall for a Progressive policy. For consumers, it is sensible to compare a rate received directly from Progressive with one available through an independent agent. A policyholder receives the same great service from Progressive no matter how they purchase a policy.
When receiving a quote from an independent agent, the consumer gains an advantage from the ability to compare rates and choose from a variety of companies offered by that agent. Also, this advantage remains available at each renewal interval, providing the opportunity to save money again and again. One thing independent agents are not able to do is provide the rate that is available directly from Progressive. To ensure the lowest available rate from Progressive, shoppers need to receive one quote directly from the Company and compare that with a Progressive quote offered by an independent agent.
Initially, Progressive offered their products exclusively through independent agents. When the Company began offering policies directly, rates remained the same for each distribution channel. At one time, they re-branded themselves for the independents with the name “Drive Insurance”. This was short-lived in favor of leveraging the one well-known name, Progressive. Experiencing these changes as an independent agent, I believe the current business model (same name, different rates) provides for the lowest overall rates with the least confusion.
With a little knowledge and a lot of shopping, consumers can significantly lower their cost for car insurance. Progressive is just one excellent company among many to purchase from. Receiving quotes from a variety of companies and through a variety of purchasing methods is the best way to attain a low-cost car insurance policy.