Selling Insurance on the Internet – Can a Small Insurance Agency Website Compete?

You’ve seen TV commercials promoting car insurance online at great discounts. Progressive and Geico spend millions of dollars on advertising their auto insurance websites. It is up for debate whether it is beneficial to allow the uninformed public to purchase car insurance online without consulting an agent. This article will examine whether independent, small insurance agencies are able to compete with “big boys” when buying online insurance.

What the public doesn’t know can cost them

There are two options available to the public when they surf the internet for insurance savings. They can go to a well-known brand like Safeco, Geico or Progressive to get a quote. They can also search their preferred search engine to find a local agency. Although they may be able to save big, many people prefer working with an agent to help them make their purchasing decision. Most consumers don’t know much about insurance, how it works and what coverages are available. This is why they are willing to pay more for the help of an agent. What most people don’t realize is that buying insurance through an independent agent can often save them more money than purchasing online.

Independent Means Choices

Independent insurance agencies work with several insurance companies, including Progressive and Safeco. These companies sell insurance online via their websites as well as through independent agencies. Consumers can get insurance at a lower price and get advice from an agent. Many times, the premium paid through an agency is actually lower than that purchased online for the same coverage. Many insurance buyers mistakenly believe that independent agents will charge more because they are paid commission.

Location. Location. Optimization.

Local agencies are better than large national corporations that spend millions advertising their websites and marketing insurance online. This advantage can be attributed to targeted website optimization. A consumer is more likely to use a location-based search when searching for insurance. These search terms are essential for website optimization of insurance agencies. Your independent agency could reap the benefits of “organic” search results for free, while the “big boys” spend millions on search engine marketing through paid advertisements.

My Momma Always Told Organic Was the Best

The organic results are those results that Google, Yahoo, and MSN display in the main search list. Website designers refer to a website’s ranking in search engines. This is the position of the site in the organic search results. The higher your ranking is, the greater the chances of a visitor visiting your site. You have a better chance of getting your website onto the first pages of search engines if you focus on location-based optimization.

A Good Example of Good Insurance Website Design

Here’s an example. The website for my Nebraska insurance agency is optimized for Nebraska. It returns over 86,000,000 results when I search Google for “auto insurance”. My agency website won’t rank high for this search. I don’t want to rank at the top because it would be difficult for me to get insurance from other states. My insurance agency website should rank for relevant searches within MY state and not in a state that I am not licensed to sell.

My agency is in rural areas, so we write a lot farm and crop insurance. My agency website ranks 18th among 14.4 million results if I narrow my search for “nebraska” insurance. This is quite good considering that the search term was rather broad. Let’s reduce the search term even more and find a specific type of insurance. My agency website for Nebraska farm insurance was ranked 4th among over 2,000,000 results. We are getting there. There are also insurance lines like “Nebraska Auto Insurance”, 21 of the 2.2 million. “Home insurance in Nebraska”, 24th of more than 12 million.

It’s amazing that no national auto insurance company ranks higher than my agency website on any major search engine for the terms I want. They may show up in the ads links at the top of the browser, but they could also be found on my site if I paid $10 per click.


I hope you’ve seen that small insurance agencies can be ranked higher in search engines with some marketing and a little bit of work. It is possible to not only compete but also beat the Progressive’s and Geico’s online. While onpage optimization is not the only way to rank your site higher, it is a great start. You can start selling insurance online by building links to your site through online directories, DMOZ listing, or even articles like the one you are reading.