Increasingly, insurance companies are encouraging their customers to go “paperless” and manage their accounts online, especially to make online payments. Of course, being green and eco-conscious plays a role in this decision, but there is also a financial motive, because it saves them money on printing and paper, plus it helps to ensure more timely payments, quicker response times, and provides documentation.
Although some people prefer to receive paper statements as a physical reminder of when bills are due, and they like to keep a physical copy of their policies to keep the information handy, there are many benefits to managing your account online. Not only is the information available to you anywhere you have an Internet connection, which is especially useful to smartphone users who can also access their account through the carrier’s website and apps, but it’s also convenient.
You can set reminders for yourself or set-up automatic payments to help avoid late or missed payments and the fees that accompany them. Some companies even offer incentives for those who enroll in their automatic bill payment options, since it ensures that they will receive payments on-time and it will save them the hassle of having to send follow-up reminders.
It’s usually easy to set-up an online account; you generally will just need an email address and your paper statement with the following information:
- insurance company website
- policy number
- contact information on your account
You will be asked to sign-up and create a personal login with screen name (often your email address) and password, which will help you securely access your information online. Most websites will also have you choose and set-up security questions to verify your identity, so you may want to record this information and keep it stored in a secure location so you can refer to it later. If you happen to forget your login information, there may be a retrieval process which involves sending that information to the personal email account or by providing a link to reset your password, so it’s important to always keep your email address updated. Your online account should provide you access to all your policy information, and give you the option to print any documents that you normally receive in the mail.
Another benefit to online account management is that it stores the last few months of statements, making it easy to refer to. You should also be able to review and renew your policy online with an electronic signature or acknowledgement of the Terms and Conditions, ensuring that there’s no lapse in coverage.
If you’re interested in making online payments, you will need to specify and input your banking information, including account number and routing number, or using a credit card and providing the credit card number, expiration date, and the CSV or security number (normally found on the back of the card).
Once your payment information is set-up, you will be able to login to your account and make manual one-time payments or schedule automatic payments. Anytime you make an online payment, you should receive an email confirmation as well as a confirmation number; be sure to keep a record of these just in case there’s a discrepancy with your carrier. Your payment history should also be available online and provide you further documentation, if need be.
If you’re considering making the switch to managing your insurance online, it can be more convenient, fast, and accessible than your current paper bills; just be sure that you’re checking your emails regularly and that you keep any contact and payment information up-to-date.
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