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This Web site contains a compilation of more than a thousand consumer finance  columns written by Tony Novak from the 1980s through 2006, updated and reformatted for maximum usefulness today.  New material was added after 2010.

Content is the opinion of the author and does not represent the position of any other person or entity. Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed.

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Lowest price of insurance

originally posted: 11/22/2006  reposted: 2/18/2011 This post has not been recently reviewed or revised by the author and may be out of date. If you notice an error or are in doubt, please send a new question by email or ask for an update. Email

Q: How can so many insurance companies guarantee the lowest rates? They all can't have the lowest rates.

A: Insurance companies generally do not advertise this way. The advertisements you refer to are probably from insurance agencies or Web sites that provide insurance enrollment services. They make these claims based on the services of third party "market tracker" software. These programs take all of the insurance companies' rates into a database and simply sort them for the criteria. These are actually pretty reliable and so it is accurate for them to say that they can quote the lowest priced insurance. But there is a catch. Like any software program, the data output is only as good as the data input. In a large majority of cases - certainly more than 90% - the data input into a life or health insurance quote request is insufficient to produce accurate pricing. As a result, quote services notoriously under-price the cost of insurance. This only serves to annoy customers when the actual cost of insurance is shown later. Remember that when there are any complicating factors - like medical history or business ownership of insurance - skip the automatic quoting machines and work directly with a live person. Usually an agent (field underwriter) will work with a home office (insurance company) underwriter to produce far better results than you can find in the impersonal automated pricing and enrollment services.


More resources: life insurance services