Tips for Buying Insurance on the Internet

Last Updated: May 16, 2017

Printable version of publication: Tips for Buying Insurance on the Internet

Consumers should always use precaution when purchasing a product online. Listed below are helpful tips for consumers to protect themselves when buying insurance on the Internet.

  • Confirm the company and agent are licensed. Find the name of the insurance company or companies involved in the plan. In order to sell insurance in Wisconsin, companies and agents must be licensed. To confirm the credibility of a company or agent, check with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) to see if the company or agent is licensed. Licensing information about agents and companies can be found on OCI's Web site at oci.wi.gov or by calling 1-800-236-8517.
  • Be suspicious of plans appearing too good to be true; they usually are.
  • Be aware products marketed like insurance may not be insurance at all. Many companies promising cheap insurance are actually selling "discount plans." A discount plan is not insurance, but a plan where you pay a membership or enrollment fee up front to obtain access to networks of health care providers who have agreed to offer discounts for their services. Discount plans are not regulated by OCI.
  • Be careful when giving out personal information. A licensed insurance company should give you information about their plan up front without requiring any personal information like credit card numbers.
  • Make sure a Web site is secure before transmitting confidential information over the Internet. If you are about to send credit card or personal information, confirm your browser is secure by locating the Web site address beginning with https:// and the security symbol in the bottom right-hand or left-hand corner of your browser displays the proper security symbol, such as an unbroken key or a closed lock icon.
  • Be wary of scams. Scam artists may try to convince you to change coverage quickly without giving you the opportunity to do adequate research.
  • Keep detailed records. Get all rate quotes and key information in writing. Also, once you decide to purchase online, keep a copy of all paperwork you complete and sign, as well as any correspondence, special offers, and payment receipts. Remember auto and homeowner’s insurance companies are able to adjust the quoted premium within the first 60 days of your policy.
  • You should receive a copy—not a photocopy—of your new policy within 60 days of purchase. If you do not receive a copy, contact the insurance company immediately. Some insurers may offer electronic delivery of your policy. Note, you must consent to receive your policy electronically.
  • Take advantage of "free-look" periods. Health and life insurance policies usually include a 10- or 30-day free-look period. This means you can return the policy within the free-look time and get your entire premium back.

If you have a specific complaint about your insurance, refer it first to the insurance company or agent involved. If you do not receive satisfactory answers, contact OCI.

To file a complaint online or to print a complaint form:
OCI’s Web Site
oci.wi.gov

Phone
(608) 266-0103 (In Madison) or 1-800-236-8517 (Statewide)

Mailing Address
Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
P.O. Box 7873
Madison, WI 53707-7873

E-Mail
ocicomplaints@wisconsin.gov
Please indicate your name and phone number.

Deaf, hearing, or speech impaired callers may reach OCI through WI TRS