Consumers purchase insurance policies to protect themselves against a loss. Policies may be purchased to pay for damage to a home or car, for medical expenses, or for loss of life. Insurance agents provide insurance policy quotes to potential customers to disclose the costs and terms of purchasing an insurance policy from their respective company.
In most cases, the higher the risk of loss, the higher the cost of the insurance. Understanding an insurance quote definition will help you make the right choice when it comes time to review a prospective policy.
Read More: How to Understand an Insurance Policy Fee
Quotes vs. Policies
Insurance quotes are not the same as insurance policies. That's why it's important to know an insurance quote meaning. Quotes are non-binding estimates of what a policy (or coverage) might cost and what it would cover. This means that both parties, the insurance company and the consumer, are under no obligation to perform any duties as a result of having provided or received a quote. Quotes are for informational purposes only.
A quote can turn into an insurance contract when both parties agree to the terms of the policy. This requires a company agreeing to provide an insurance policy and the consumer agreeing to pay the necessary premiums to keep the policy active.
Read More: Basic Elements of Insurance
Types of Insurance Policies
The type of insurance policy a consumer needs will dictate the type of insurance quote he or she receives. Quotes are provided by insurance professionals who are licensed to sell property and casualty, life and health, and personal lines insurance policies.
Consumers purchase property and casualty insurance policies to protect assets such as an automobile or a home. To supplement medical expenses, health insurance coverage is available. Life insurance policies protect families financially in the event of a loved one's death.
Read More: Do I Need Insurance Before Buying a Car?
The Information-Gathering Phase
Insurance agents must gather important personal information about a potential customer to determine the level of risk they will be assuming by providing an insurance policy. In a homeowner's or auto insurance quote, it is necessary to obtain information regarding previous claims filed by the insured for incidents such as theft, auto accidents or fire.
Financial responsibility information such as credit and work history is being used more and more in insurance quotes. It may be necessary for an insurance agent to gather a client's date of birth and Social Security number to provide a quote.
Checking the Client History
A client's history is a major part of the quoting process and will help determine the price and terms of the insurance policy.
Driving history plays an important role in an auto insurance quote because it gives the agent an indication as to the type of driver a potential client is. The more risk a driver is willing to take, usually the higher the insurance premium will be.
Life insurance quotes require obtaining information regarding the client's medical history, current medical condition, lifestyle, occupation and any extra-curricular activities that are considered dangerous or life-threatening.
Underwriting a Policy
The underwriting process of an insurance quote takes into consideration factors that determine the amount of risk the insurance company will take on by offering a policy to a potential customer. Underwriters calculate the possibility of risk by assessing certain risk factors.
Some risk factors include the client's age, driving record, credit history, medical condition and previous insurance claims filed. Most insurance companies have strict underwriting guidelines to assume only the level of risk they are comfortable with.