Finding affordable car insurance can be a frustrating process. You want to get the best coverage at the lowest price, but comparing options from dozens of insurance companies is time-consuming. This is where auto insurance marketplaces like Otto Insurance come in. These companies promise to match you with the cheapest car insurance for your needs. But Is Otto Insurance Legit?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore what Otto Insurance is, how it works, the pros and cons of using this service, and whether or not Otto is ultimately worth your time. Read on to learn everything you need to know to decide if Otto car insurance is right for you.
What is Otto Insurance?
Otto Insurance is an online insurance marketplace, not an insurance provider. The company operates as a lead generation service, collecting information from potential customers and matching them with insurance companies and agents.
Headquartered in Miami Beach, Florida, Otto Insurance was founded in 2015. Otto works with a network of national, regional, and local insurance carriers to provide car insurance quotes. However, the company itself does not underwrite or sell insurance policies directly.
On the Otto Insurance website, you can get matched with quotes for auto, homeowners, renters, life, and pet insurance. The process is free, only takes a few minutes, and requires minimal personal information.
How Does Otto Insurance Work?
Otto Insurance uses a matching algorithm to pair you with insurance companies and agents that may offer the best rate based on your information. Here are the basics of how it works:
- Visit the Otto website. Select the type of insurance you want a quote for.
- Enter your zip code. This allows Otto to pull insurers that operate in your location.
- Fill out the questionnaire. Questions include basic personal info, vehicle details, driving history, credit score, etc.
- Get matched. Within seconds, Otto will show you insurance companies that may provide cheap rates.
- Contact matches. Otto redirects you to their websites to get actual quotes and purchase a policy.
- Receive solicitations. Your info is shared with matches, so you may get calls/emails.
The key things to understand are that Otto Insurance does not actually provide quotes. They simply match you with potential insurers based on your details. You have to follow up with those insurers directly to get rates.
Pros of Using Otto Insurance
Otto Insurance does offer some benefits for drivers shopping for car insurance:
Quick and Easy Process
The quote process through Otto only takes a few minutes. The questions are basic and easy to complete. Otto’s streamlined website makes getting matched with insurers fast and simple.
Access to Multiple Carriers
Otto partners with over 100 national, regional, and local insurance companies. This gives you access to a wide range of insurers, from big names like Geico and State Farm to small regional carriers. More choices increase your chances of finding the lowest rate.
Free to Use
There’s no cost to get matched with insurance companies through Otto. You don’t have to provide any financial information or commit to a policy. Submitting your details is 100% free.
Live Customer Support
If you have any questions while using Otto Insurance, you can contact a customer service agent over the phone. This provides extra assistance for consumers who want it.
Cons of Using Otto Insurance
However, there are also some downsides to using Otto Insurance you should be aware of:
No Actual Quotes Provided
The main complaint about Otto is that they do not actually provide insurance quotes. You have to contact each insurance company individually to get rate comparisons. This eliminates the main value of a marketplace.
Since Otto shares your info with insurance companies, you’ll likely get a lot of calls, emails, and texts from agents trying to sell you a policy. It can be annoying and invasive.
Minimal Information on Rates
Without generating actual quotes, Otto can’t provide details about the policy costs, coverage options, or discounts you may qualify for. All you get is a list of companies.
Otto Insurance has very bad reviews from past customers online. They are not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and have a 1-star rating on consumer sites.
Limited Customer Service
While Otto offers phone support, they do not have licensed insurance agents on staff. Customer service reps likely have minimal insurance expertise.
Is Otto Insurance Worth It?
Whether Otto Insurance is ultimately worth using depends on your personal preferences as a car insurance shopper. Here are the drivers Otto is best suited for:
Drivers Seeking Multiple Quotes
If you know you want to compare rates from many different insurers, Otto delivers that. You can get access to national, regional, and local companies quickly.
Drivers Unsure Where to Start
For those unfamiliar with car insurance and not sure which companies operate in their area, Otto matches you with options to investigate.
Drivers Wanting Minimal Commitment
Since Otto doesn’t require any financial info or obligation to buy a policy, it allows you to dip your toe in and explore companies risk-free.
However, Otto Insurance may not be the best solution if:
- You want real insurance quotes upfront before contacting companies.
- You don’t want to deal with getting solicited by insurance agents.
- You prefer to do your own research on insurance companies.
- You want advice from licensed insurance professionals.
Otto Insurance Coverage Options
Because Otto is a marketplace connecting you with insurers, the specific coverage options available depend on which insurance company you ultimately choose. Here are some of the typical auto insurance coverages Otto can help you find:
The minimum coverage required by law. Pays for injury or damage that you cause to others. Split into bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
Pays to repair damage to your vehicle from non-collision events like theft, vandalism, weather, or fire.
Covers repairs to your vehicle after an accident that you cause.
Protects you if you’re hit by a driver with no insurance or insufficient coverage.
Covers medical treatment for injuries to you or your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault.
Personal Injury Protection
Pays for medical expenses, lost wages from missed work, and other accident-related costs. Required in no-fault states.
The amount of coverage and your deductibles will impact your total premium. Otto can potentially match you with insurers that offer the precise options you want.
How Otto Car Insurance Works at Claim Time
One downside of using a marketplace like Otto is that you don’t have a direct relationship with an insurance company. If you need to file a claim after an accident, here’s how it works:
- Report accident to insurer. Contact the insurance company that underwrites your policy directly.
- File claim. Work with adjuster from your insurance company, not Otto, to file the claim.
- Get claim processed. The insurer will investigate, assess damages, and handle repairs/payout.
- Receive payment. If claim is approved, your insurance company will pay out for losses/damages covered under your policy.
The claim process, speed of payouts, and level of customer service will depend on the specific insurance provider, not Otto. Otto will have no involvement in handling your claim after connecting you with the insurer.
What Insurance Discounts Does Otto Offer?
Otto itself does not offer any discounts on car insurance since it is not a provider. However, many of the insurance companies accessible through Otto do offer common discounts that can lower your rates, including:
- Good driver discount
- Good student discount
- Multi-policy discount
- Multi-car discount
- Defensive driving discount
- Low mileage discount
- Automatic payment discount
- Affinity group discounts
The amount of savings from discounts ranges widely by insurers. Having Otto match you with companies allows you to find ones offering discounts you qualify for. Make sure to ask potential insurers what discounts they offer.
How Much Does Otto Car Insurance Cost?
Otto Insurance does not actually provide insurance quotes with exact rates. However, the company claims you can find rates starting around $19 per month for minimum coverage through their marketplace.
Realistically, most drivers end up paying somewhere between $100 and $200 per month for full auto insurance coverage. The average cost of car insurance in the US is about $140 per month, or $1,674 per year. However, rates vary significantly based on:
- Your age
- Driving and credit history
- Type of vehicle
- Coverage limits
- Location/ZIP code
Since Otto partners with national insurers like Geico and Allstate as well as smaller regional carriers, it opens up affordable options. But you’ll need to put in work contacting matches to find real rates.
How Do Otto Insurance Rates Compare?
It’s difficult to compare how Otto insurance rates stack up against competitors since you must get actual quotes from individual insurers. However, here’s how Otto generally compares:
Otto vs. Direct Insurance Carriers
Going directly through Geico, State Farm, etc. will get you precise rate quotes upfront without having to provide your personal information multiple times. But Otto could match you with carriers you weren’t aware of.
Otto vs. Insurance Marketplaces
Other marketplaces, like The Zebra, allow you to compare accurate quotes from multiple companies instantly. Otto merely provides a list of possible matches.
Otto vs. Independent Insurance Agents
Local independent insurance agents shop multiple carriers for you and provide informed recommendations. Otto doesn’t offer guidance.
While Otto provides a starting point for finding insurers, other options get you real rates to compare right away, saving you time and hassle.
Is Otto Insurance Legit?
Yes, Otto Insurance is a legitimate business. However, they have generated many consumer complaints stemming from how the service works.
Otto functions like an insurance lead generation service, not a marketplace that provides actual quotes like policy shopping sites. You have to do extra work to get rates after Otto matches you.
Some customers feel this process is misleading and doesn’t deliver on what was promised. It’s important to understand how Otto operates before using it.
Otto Insurance Reviews
Unfortunately, Otto Insurance reviews from past customers are overwhelmingly negative. On most consumer review platforms, they average around 1 to 2 stars out of 5.
Here are excerpts from a few Otto Insurance reviews:
“Otto Insurance is a total waste of time. You put in your information thinking you’ll get insurance quotes, but instead they just sell your data to agents, and you get spammed constantly.”
“I did not like that Otto Insurance failed to disclose upfront that they do not actually provide any quotes or rates. Very shady business practices.”
“Otto Insurance connected me with one single quote after I spent 15 minutes submitting all my personal information… Ridiculous.”
While Otto Insurance is not an outright scam, many individuals feel misled by how the service works and what it actually provides.
To Recap: Is Otto Insurance Worth It?
Otto Insurance aims to simplify the process of finding affordable car insurance by instantly matching drivers with potential insurance companies and agents. However, Otto has some significant limitations:
No upfront quotes – You must contact each match individually to get rate comparisons, which is inconvenient.
Annoying solicitations – Otto shares your data with matches, so you’ll get spammed constantly.
Poor reviews – Negative feedback from past users indicates the service doesn’t deliver.
Minimal guidance – Otto can’t provide advice or recommendations on the best coverage.
While Otto Insurance offers a fast and free way to find insurers in your area, the tradeoff is that you have to do all the legwork contacting each company to get actual policies and pricing. We recommend comparison sites like The Zebra that allow you to instantly compare accurate car insurance quotes across multiple insurers. This saves you time and money.
Frequently Asked Questions About Otto Insurance
Is Otto car insurance affordable?
Otto Insurance claims you can find rates starting around $19 per month. However, to get actual pricing and find affordable coverage, you will need to contact the insurance companies you are matched with directly.
How long does Otto Insurance take?
It only takes about 2-3 minutes to get matched with potential insurers through Otto. However, you then have to reach out to each company individually to get rate quotes, which adds more time.
Does Otto Insurance run a credit check?
No, submitting your personal details through Otto Insurance does not involve a credit check or require your financial information. However, insurance companies you contact later for quotes may run your credit.
Can Otto Insurance match me with local companies?
Yes, Otto partners with national, regional, and local insurance carriers. So based on your location, Otto should be able to match you with smaller insurers that operate in your immediate area.
Are the rates higher going through Otto Insurance?
There is no indication that rates are higher. Since Otto functions as a lead generation service, the pricing will ultimately depend on the specific insurance companies that you get quotes from.
Is Otto car insurance available nationwide?
Otto Insurance provides matches with insurance companies in all 50 states. As long as you have coverage in your area, Otto will match you with national and local insurers that can provide quotes.
Comparing accurate car insurance quotes is vital to finding affordable rates. While Otto Insurance offers a fast matching process, you lose time having to contact each company individually for pricing. We recommend using quote comparison sites like The Zebra to instantly see precise rates from multiple insurers. This simplifies the process of getting the cheapest car insurance quote.
In another related article, The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies of 2024