To be clear, it's not hard at all to do the bare minimum. You could certainly choose the first car insurance carrier you found on Google, fill out an application and get coverage within a few minutes. But as we all know, that's rolling the dice. Auto insurance rates can vary wildly between providers, and so that few minutes' worth of searching turns into an hour or so. And even though you'll only come away with insurance from one company, every provider you submitted information to now has your email address - and they have no qualms about staying in touch (by which we mean spamming you with solicitations).
This whole operation is already mandatory. Why does it have to be a hassle to boot? That's the question that The Zebra has been asking, and they may have come up with an answer.
If you're not a consumer affairs reporter, you're probably not familiar with The Zebra, but that might change soon. Since 2012, they've been compiling research on American driving habits in general and the car insurance industry in particular.
They also leverage that data in a way that can help just about anybody. Enter a ZIP code and a few short pages on info into The Zebra's comparison site, and you'll instantly be able to see estimates on rates from numerous providers in your area. The best part is, it does all this without feeding your personal data to those companies. That means no additional emails and no additional hassle.
If this sounds familiar, it basically does for car insurance what sites like Expedia do for plane tickets. The Zebra is encouraging healthy competition between the more than 200 carriers it keeps data on, and that's going to better in the long run for anybody with a set of wheels.
Want to see how it works for yourself? Find out what the rates are like in your area with a look at The Zebra.