In the old days, getting quotes from a dozen different auto insurance companies meant consulting with a dozen different insurance agents. There was simply no better, faster, or more convenient way to do it.

But today, insurance comparison services have sprung up all over the web. These services make it a snap to get many different auto insurance quotes and compare them instantly. But this conveniences comes at a high price: Your personal information. Getting an insurance quote through these often-shady services means forking over highly sensitive personal information to people who may not be willing or able to protect it.

Fortunately, there’s a solution. With Online Auto Insurance, you can get a car insurance estimate without giving personal information beyond the bare minimum. Get an insurance quote right now, if you like - or stick around for an explanation and we’ll walk you through the details. First, some background.

What kind of data do insurance agencies want?

Let’s back up for a moment and review how insurance agencies use your personal data. In a typical quote request, you’ll be asked for information that falls into three broad categories.

Personal information is perhaps the most sensitive data you’re asked to share. This includes your name, date of birth, address, driver’s license number, and social security number. That last item - your social security number - is unbelievably sensitive, and it’s frankly outrageous that you’d have to share it to get a simple car insurance quote.

Driving history includes any details about traffic tickets you’ve received in the past, along with information about previous accidents you’ve been involved in. If you already have car insurance, you’ll probably be asked for information about your current insurer and policy details.

Vehicle information is the third and final category. You’ll be asked for the make and model of your car, the year it was manufactured, its body style, and the VIN (Vehicle Information Number). You’ll also typically have to provide your car’s current mileage, the date on which you purchased it, and the name of its previous owner.

Now take a step back and review. That’s a lot of data. And again, there’s good news - it doesn’t have to be this way. We’ll explain shortly. But first, let’s tackle the why.

How is your data used?

To understand why insurance agencies request so much information, you need to know a little about how they think.

Insurance companies are businesses. They aim to collect as much money from you as possible (in the form of monthly premiums), while spending as little as possible to cover any collisions you’re involved in. But of course, no one knows how or when you’ll get in an accident, so the insurance company has to gamble. If they think you’re unlikely _to get in an accident, they can offer you a low, competitive rate and still bet on turning a profit. But if they think you’re _likely to get in an accident, they’ll ask for a lot of money to cover their risk.

So how do insurers decide your likelihood of getting involved in a car accident? That’s where your data comes in.

Insurance agencies use sophisticated mathematical algorithms to compare you to other drivers and make an educated guess about your accident risk. If you’re a young man, for instance, that statistically raises your risk level - because young men tend to be involved in more accidents. That means your monthly premiums will be higher than (for example) those of a middle-aged woman. But if you’re also married, that might push your premiums back down - because married people tend to get in fewer accidents than their unmarried counterparts.

Your vehicle details and driving history are used to assess your risk level in a similar way. Some cars are more accident-prone or breakdown-prone. Some neighborhoods have higher levels of theft and vandalism. Some drivers - i.e. those with a lot of past accidents - are more likely to be involved in collisions.

Insurers all use this information (albeit in slightly different ways) to make a statistical judgment about your long-term risk and appropriate monthly premiums. And they’re constantly updating their algorithms with the latest national safety data to make the smartest guesses possible.

Your personal information: The risks of losing control

Needless to say, handing over this highly-sensitive information to an online car insurance aggregator comes with serious risks.

First, if the service you’re using is shoddily run, your data may be dangerously mishandled. This is not a hypothetical risk. Almost every day, we hear about new security breaches in which countless individuals’ personal data is exposed. This recent article documents 18 of the largest breaches in recent memory, bringing the total number of people whose data was compromised into the billions.

Naturally, this kind of breach is a grave security threat which exposes the victims to possible identity theft, hacking, and other crimes. But even stopping short of negligent or criminal dangers, passing your sensitive data to an online insurance service can cause problems you might not anticipate.

To take just one example, in many states it’s perfectly legal for auto insurance companies to consider your credit score when making you a quote. The problem is that running your credit - depending on how it’s done - can actually have a negative impact on your credit score. (This is called a “hard inquiry.”) Note that this is not how insurance agencies should operate! They should always make a “soft inquiry” that doesn’t affect your credit score. But when you entrust them with your name, date of birth, and social security number, you’re simply hoping that they follow this best practice. It’s impossible to know until it’s too late.

The Solution: Online Auto Insurance

With Online Auto Insurance, you can get a car insurance quote without giving personal information beyond the bare minimum. We know and respect the fact that your personal data is sensitive. Fortunately, we’ve been able to build a smart, reliable, and trustworthy way for you to get amazing insurance quotes while only sharing what’s absolutely necessary. (Spoiler alert: We _don’t _ask for your social security number.) Go take a look!