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Bankrate Insurance Review

Written by <a href="https://rateretriever.com/about/alyssa-dicrasto/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Alyssa DiCrasto</span></a>
Written by Alyssa DiCrasto
Reviewed by <a href="https://rateretriever.com/about/katie-dee/"><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Katie Dee</span></a>
Reviewed by Katie Dee
Published on 2024-03-18

Bankrate Overview

Quality of results/rates shown:

Number of results:

4-7

Spam risk:

Option to sell you a policy:

How results are generated:

Ads from sponsors

 

 

Aids from sponsors, quotes from partners, verified rates

Our Criteria and Methodology

For each car insurance comparison website we review, we evaluate several factors including user experience, risk of spam, the variety and relevancy of results, and more. We tested and evaluated results for 3 different driver profiles. The opinions expressed below are based on this experience as well as our team’s knowledge of the insurance comparison industry. Our editorial team follows a rigorous editorial policy and works independently from our insurance partners. Read more.

Table of Contents

What is Bankrate?

Bankrate is an online personal finance publication with the stated mission “to empower people to make smarter financial decisions.”  

Bankrate is different from traditional insurance comparison sites like The Zebra, Gabi, and Insurify because car insurance comparison is not its primary offering. Instead, it offers its users advice and calculators for things like banking, credit cards, loans, mortgages, and more. In fact, “auto insurance” is the last category listed in the site’s main navigation.  

Because car insurance is just one part of their website, Bankrate’s offering is a little different. Rather than urging its readers to take a quiz, compare quotes, and then buy a policy, Bankrate’s car insurance pages include high-level reviews of top insurance companies with average rates, customer satisfaction scores, and other comparison criteria. Bankrate does allow its users to “find quotes” or “explore offers” through a quiz, which is powered by Coverage.com. 

Insurance Products:

  • Auto insurance 
  • Home insurance 
  • Life insurance

How does Bankrate work?

When it comes to their car insurance offering, Bankrate is best described as a quote aggregator or lead generation site. Bankrate also offers plenty of free information upfront including car insurance company reviews, average rates, customer satisfaction metrics, and more. 

If you’re researching car insurance companies and want to get a good idea of what companies you should consider, Bankrate can be a great resource since it matches you with car insurance companies and sites that you can explore further.  

If you do choose to input some information and take Bankrate’s car insurance comparison quiz, you’ll answer a moderate number of questions about you, where you live, and your vehicles. Based on your answers, Bankrate will match you with car insurance companies and insurance websites. From our testing, we found that Bankrate may be able to provide quotes from some of its insurance company partners, but this will depend heavily on where you live and when you are shopping.  

If you find a policy or website you would like to buy from, you will be redirected to that provider’s website or call center (if you choose to call). Bankrate will not sell you a policy itself, you will be redirected to the end-provider or an agent who can. 

How Bankrate makes money

Bankrate makes its money through advertising. Companies will pay Bankrate for displaying their offers and Bankrate may make a commission when one of its users clicks on one of these advertisements. Bankrate discloses that this may impact the order in which the companies appear on the site. 

It does not appear that Bankrate makes money by selling its users’ data, but be careful if you leave Bankrate’s site and input personal information into one of the sites it recommends. 

Pros & Cons of Comparing Car Insurance with Bankrate

Pros of Bankrate:

  • No phone number is required to use Bankrate’s tool 
  • When available, the rates Bankrate provides are useful 
  • When available, Bankrate seamlessly connects you with insurance companies

Cons of Bankrate:

  • Not all results were insurance companies, many results were other comparison sites 
  • Rates were not available for all profiles we tested 

Find the Right Car Insurance for You

Our experience with Bankrate

First impressions of Bankrate

When I first visited Bankrate’s site, I liked that it provided so much information for free before a quiz was needed.  

However, I felt that Bankrate didn’t do a good job of telling you why you would take their quiz. The only reason it gave was to “find quotes near you” or “explore offers from trusted carriers.” I also didn’t notice any mention of how they kept your information safe or any kind of no-spam promise, which made me wary of filling out their quiz. 

Ultimately, I did end up taking their quiz for more personalized rates for the sake of this review. However, I’m not sure if I would have if I were researching car insurance on my own. 

Quiz experience

The only entrance to the quiz I found was a zip code field with the language “Compare rates” or “Get quotes. Once I entered my zip code, a second tab opened in my browser with the quiz wizard. I noticed in this tab that the quiz is powered by Coverage.com which is Bankrate’s sister site owned by the same media company.  

The quiz took about 3 minutes for a profile with one driver, and about 5 when adding additional drivers or vehicles. I didn’t feel that any of the questions were too intrusive or difficult to answer. 

I like that the bottom of the quiz wizard showed you how many more questions you had to answer, and that there was an option to call a live agent if at any point you decided you’d prefer to speak to an expert. 

I also liked that as you went through the quiz, each question had supporting text to explain why the question was required or to give some suggestions in case you got stuck. 

When it came to my personal contact information, Bankrate only required my home address and email. I appreciated that when it asked for my email, it allowed me to uncheck the “subscribe” function.  

I tested the form a few times and found that there might be different variations of the quiz (I believe this to be based on the zip code, and may not be available in certain areas). 

For two of the zip codes I tested, there was an option to schedule a callback, which was a nice feature. However, for those same profiles there was an annoying pop-up that asked me to save time by calling. I prefer the less intrusive phone number in the corner of the page.

Only one quiz variation asked about discounts. 

After I submitted all my information, I was redirected to a results pages that showed me my insurance company matches were being calculated.  

Bankrate Results

After taking the quiz and watching the loading screen, I was pleased to have 7 results in my list! However, upon further inspection, I realized that none of the results included any kind of quotes or rate estimates, and I didn’t recognize any of the companies. 

In fact, all it said was “one more click to quote” and redirected me to a website which was either another comparison site or aggregator – some of them spammier than others. All required me to answer the same questions again. 

Screenshot 2024-03-19 at 8.38.55 AM

When I returned to Bankrate from the second tab, there were a few offers for me, presumably powered by the zip code I had entered and none of the other information, since I did not take the quiz in this browser tab. This was the only place I saw an offer with an actual insurance company for the first profile I tested (USAA, Gainsco, Progressive, depending on the zip code). 

As I mentioned before, I tested multiple profiles to get a better sense of the results Bankrate offers. The cost of car insurance is highly personalized, so I knew the way I answered the quiz questions should have a big impact on the results I got back. 

I finally got some results that included quotes with my last test profile: a 20 year old living in TX:  

This profile returned 5 insurance companies (Progressive, Elephant, Bristol West, National General, and Allstate) and two other comparison sites.  

The rates did look high, but when I clicked “View Policy” I had plenty of options of how to proceed: an option to continue online, call an available agent, or schedule a call back. When I went to the company’s website, there was a form pre-populated with my information. I just had to review the information and provide answers to any questions they had that I hadn’t answered before.   

For reference, here is a summary of the results I got back for each of the profiles I tested: 

  • 50-year-old in MA: 7 results – no end-providers, all other sites 
  • 35-year-old in NY: 4 results – no end-providers, all other sites  
  • 20-year-old in TX: 7 results – 5 carriers with 3 quotes, 2 other sites 

Lasting Impressions

The effectiveness of Bankrate seems highly dependent on your zip code. For zip codes where a lot of insurance carriers want new business, you will get a fair number of companies returned, and maybe even a few quotes. 

Of the profiles we tested, we found that for the zip codes that returned actual insurance companies with rates, the results were great: a good breakdown of a monthly and annual quote, and plenty of options for how to purchase a policy. However, even for profiles where quotes are available, less than half of the results included quotes. 

For the profiles where quotes were not available, we found the results frustrating, since they did not introduce any new companies or give any rates. The user experience for these profiles was also very poor, since your options were to take a completely new comparison quiz on a different site that might not be trustworthy or give up. 

So the question is: how do you know if your profile will get good results with Bankrate or poor results?  

Unfortunately, this question is near impossible to answer without testing it out (or an extensive knowledge of the insurance industry, but let’s face it, tools like Bankrate were not made for people with an extensive knowledge of the insurance industry).  

Overall, we felt that the results were incomplete or unsatisfying for most profiles.  

Is Bankrate worth it?

Based on our experience testing Bankrate, we think it can be a good source to jumpstart your insurance company research, especially if you’re interested in reading reviews of insurance companies. However, if you’re looking to truly compare rates and purchase a new policy, Bankrate is probably not worth it. Ultimately, we feel that there are better quote comparison sites out there. 

How Bankrate stacks up against other comparison sites

Bankrate vs. PolicyGenuis

  • 2-4 paragraphs
Option to sell you a policy Offers non-biased results
Gabi Yes No
Jerry x x

Bankrate vs Rate Retriever

Both Bankrate and Rate Retriever offer tools to compare car insurance companies. The primary difference between these tools is in the results users get after taking a short quiz. Rate Retriever returns rates for every profile, and more rates than we were ever able to get back from Bankrate’s experience for the same profiles.  

However, the experience of purchasing a policy from a company in the results list was very similar. On Rate Retriever, if there is a company you’d like to purchase a policy from, you may have the option to click, call, or get connected to an agent. This is similar to how Bankrate works when it has insurance companies in its results list. 

Rate Retriever does also have results that do not include rates; for these, you have to contact the provider for rates. This experience is also like Bankrate. However, Rate Retriever only shows results from end-provider insurance companies and won’t re-route you to other comparison sites where you have to put in all your information again. 

Rates for every profile Recommends other comparison sites or affiliates
Bankrate No Yes
Rate Retriever Yes No

Customer reviews of Bankrate

On Trustpilot, Bankrate has a rating of 2.4 stars. Because Bankrate offers more services beyond insurance comparison, the customer reviews were not all from people who had used the insurance services. However, among those who left reviews about insurance specifically, many were disappointed in the lack of options and said that they received a lot of spam from the services. 

Who should use Bankrate?

Bankrate is well suited for those starting to research their options, since it offers so much content and insurance company reviews. Bankrate does also give most profiles several results, so even if those are mostly for other comparison sites, you may get some ideas of where to go next.

Who shouldn't use Bankrate?

Bankrate is not well suited for people who are actively looking for a new car insurance policy and want to compare personalized rates and purchase a policy. While Bankrate offers this functionality for some profiles, we felt its coverage was too spotty to be useful to most users. 

Bankrate company details

Bankrate does not sell insurance. In fact, their insurance comparison site is powered by a different website, so there won’t be a Bankrate customer service line you can call for help with your insurance. The contact information provided on their website is mostly for advertising partners to get in touch, not for its users. 

Bankrate Insurance FAQs

Is Bankrate a good insurance company?  

Bankrate is not an insurance company. It is an online publication that specializes in topics around personal finance. It does provide reviews and recommendations for insurance companies, and it has a comparison tool powered by its sister site, Coverage.com. 

Is Bankrate legit?

Bankrate is legit in that it offers advice and reviews of insurance companies. It does not itself sell insurance. Bankrate discloses that its partnerships with advertisers do impact the information it shares and how and where recommendations and offers appear on the site.

Is Bankrate safe?  

Yes, Bankrate is reasonably safe to use. In its car insurance comparison quiz, it only collects your address and email, but allows you to opt out of promotional emails. However, Bankrate does recommend other comparison sites and quote aggregators in its results which are high risk of spam, so beware if you leave Bankrate’s site. 

Is Bankrate reliable? 

Sometimes. Bankrate does provide in-depth insight into insurance companies, but may allow its partnerships with advertisers to affect its recommendations. As far as its comparison tool goes, some users will get good results, but not every user. So, we would say Bankrate is only sometimes reliable.

Who owns Bankrate? 

Bankrate is owned by Red Ventures, a personal finance media company with publications like CNET, My Move, and more.

Methodology

For each car insurance comparison website we review, we evaluate several factors including: 

  • Risk of spam – based on contact and personal information required and the number of calls, texts, and/or emails we received after testing 
  • Quality of results – including the variety and relevancy of results, how many end-providers are listed, and if rates/quotes are included in the results 
  • Overall user experience – including the quiz length, unique features, ease of completing a policy purchase, and customer reviews   

We tested and evaluated results for 3 different driver profiles: 

  • A married 50-year-old male and female in 02125 (MA) with a Good credit score driving a 2023 RAV4 LE and a 2020 RAV4 LE 
  • A single 35-year-old male in 14215 (NY) with a Good credit score driving a 2023 RAV4 LE 
  • A single 20-year-old male in 76116 (TX) with a Good credit score driving a 2023 RAV4 LE  

The opinions expressed in our review are based on this experience. Our team also has previous knowledge of the insurance comparison industry that may influence how we review top insurance comparison sites.