Policygenius review: Compare quotes for car insurance, homeowners insurance, and more

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Policygenius Review 4x3

Should you use Policygenius?

You may like Policygenius if you … You may not like Policygenius if you …
  • Want to compare multiple insurance options
  • Prefer a free option to shop for insurance
  • Want to chat online or over the phone with a human representative
  • Would like to learn more in-depth about different types of insurance
  • Want a user-friendly interface
  • Want to buy insurance directly from the insurer
  • Are shopping for permanent life insurance or homeowners insurance, since these policies require extra consideration
  • Can find a lower rate from an insurer Policygenius doesn’t partner with
  • Prefer in-person communications
  • Want a mobile app

What is an online insurance marketplace provider?

Online insurance marketplace providers offer you quotes from several insurance companies, allowing you to compare policy prices in a similar way to how you can use Expedia to compare airline ticket prices.

Not all insurance marketplaces give you quotes for all types of insurance. Quotes can be real-time or estimated, and you’ll receive them after entering basic information about yourself and your financial situation, depending on the type of insurance you want.

Policygenius review

Policygenius is an online insurance marketplace that offers quotes for several types of insurance policies. The platform is free to use and makes its money by getting paid a commission from insurance companies for the policies they sell.

Depending on the type of insurance you’re looking for, you’ll have to put in a varying amount of information to get your quotes. For instance, applying for pet insurance will require you to fill out basic information about your furry friend, its previous medical history, and the coverage you’re looking for. Then the system will spit out the low and high coverage limits for your pet.

Some insurance types are better suited to using a marketplace. For example, renters and car insurance processes are relatively straightforward. On the other hand, for bigger investments like homeowners or life insurance, you’ll want to talk to experts like your accountant or financial advisor as you think through this decision more thoroughly. Insurance marketplaces can give you a good rough estimate of pricing, but should not be the last stop on your insurance journey.

Insurance companies submit their prices to state regulators and each insurance marketplace has to use those prices, so you won’t get a discount at Policygenius. On the bright side, this means you won’t find a lower rate for a certain insurance company on a different marketplace.

A standout feature of Policygenius is the number of articles it has dedicated to breaking down the different types of insurance options they offer. Before taking you to a page to get a quote, Policygenius will redirect you to a guide explaining the type of insurance you are about to apply for and key steps to get the best possible rate.

Policygenius also offers a referral program where you can earn Amazon gift cards if a friend or family member goes through the process. You’ll receive a $100 Amazon Gift Card after your referral gets a decision from an insurer on their life insurance application, or a $50 Amazon Gift Card after your referral gives the info needed to calculate their home and auto insurance quotes.

Currently, you can only access Policygenius on a web browser – it doesn’t have a mobile app on either the Apple or Google Play stores.

Call customer support Monday through Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET. You can also chat online with a representative 24/7, or shoot the service team an email at any time. Unfortunately, there is currently no option for face-to-face communication with an agent.

Insurance options through Policygenius

Homeowners insurance

With homeowners insurance, you are financially protected in the event something bad happens to your home, and many mortgage lenders will require that you have insurance for the life of your loan. Homeowners insurance might be the lengthiest process you’ll have to undergo to get a quote, but it’s with good reason – homeowners insurance is one of the most comprehensive coverage plans available on this list.

To start applying for homeowners insurance on Policygenius, you’ll need to enter information about your home, and if it’s new, when you plan to close on it. Then, you’ll fill out a bunch of specifics about your home, such as when it was built, the total square footage of your home, and your home’s primary heating system, among other questions.

You’ll answer miscellaneous questions about home renovations, additional natural disaster coverage, and what protective devices are installed in the home. Finally, you’ll enter basic personal information about your occupation, annual income, and credit score before inputting your contact information. In Insider’s test profile, Policygenius was unable to find a homeowners insurance option on its site, and instead directed us to a partner’s website.

Policygenius renters insurance

If you’re renting a place and your belongings are damaged or lost due to fire, theft, water damage, or other circumstances, renters insurance will pay to replace them.

When aiming for renters insurance, Policygenius will first ask you basic personal information about who you are and where you live, and then will follow up with questions about topics like current damage to the home and if you have or are planning on getting a dog within a year. Then you’ll answer a few more questions about the safety of your home and what other types of coverage you’d like baked into your renters insurance.

That’s all the information you need to enter – then you’ll choose how large of a policy you’d like to take out and Policygenius will give you an estimate for how much your coverage will cost per month.

Policygenius auto insurance

Auto insurance financially protects you and your car in case you get in an accident that injures someone or damages their property. Almost every state has a minimum amount of car insurance required.

To receive your auto insurance quote on Policygenius, you’ll enter information about yourself, your car, and your current policy, including answering questions about your Social Security number, when you got your license, and your employment status. Policygenius will provide you quotes within a couple of days of receiving your information and send you an email with your choices.

You can also get your quotes at the same time as your quotes for your homeowners insurance, should you select the option.

Policygenius life insurance

Life insurance provides a tax-free amount of money, called a death benefit, to a specified beneficiary, paid out after the policy holder’s death. It can offer financial stability to the family left behind after a loss. Term life insurance lasts for a certain period before you’ll need to renew it (often with a higher rate as you age), while permanent life insurance lasts forever and has a death benefit for your beneficiaries as well as a cash value that you can use during your lifetime.

Whichever type of life insurance you choose, it’s important to talk through the right life insurance policy for you with experts.

To find out your personal life insurance quotes, you’ll need to decide where you’re at in your life insurance process. Are you getting started, comparing quotes, or ready to apply? You’ll have to figure out if you match any specific criteria that can have an effect on finding the right policy, such as if you have kids or need coverage for a divorce. The next step in the process is to enter basic personal, medical, and contact information, and then you’re done.

After inputting your information, you won’t be presented with a list of quotes to evaluate. Instead, one of Policygenius’ licensed experts will call to review your quotes and verify your information over the phone. If you’re more comfortable handling insurance quotes over the internet, Policygenius’ life insurance quotes may not be for you. According to a Policygenius representative, the marketplace offers quotes for both term and permanent life insurance, and term policies can be converted to whole life later in their term.

Policygenius disability insurance

If you’re not able to work because of an injury or illness, long-term disability insurance (more than 30 days out of work) replaces your income. Disability insurance could be a good move to protect your income in the case of an emergency.

On Policygenius, you start off by entering basic information about yourself, your job, your education, and your income. Then, you select a monthly benefit amount, your waiting period (the amount of time between the start of your disability and when you begin to receive benefits), and how long you want your coverage to last. Finally, you’ll have to answer some questions about your medical history and acknowledge that you’ll have to take a medical exam.

After entering this data, you’ll receive a quoted price range.

Policygenius pet insurance

You may consider pet insurance to cover up to the entirety of your vet bill and protect you against large, unexpected costs.

Beginning the process to get a quote for pet insurance on Policygenius is simple – just enter the name of your furry companion. Then you’ll have to enter information about your pet’s breed, gender, age, and pre-existing conditions, as well as your zip code. Next, you’ll answer some questions about your eligibility for certain discounts and you’ll choose what coverage type you want. After that, you’re all set – Policygenius will give you the low and high limits for coverage options.

Policygenius health insurance

While you can’t get health insurance quotes directly on Policygenius’ website, the company breaks down the essentials about the topic for you with a lengthy informational guide about health insurance basics, types of health insurance, and common health insurance costs. It also provides a state-by-state list of where you can find each health insurance marketplace. Most redirect to healthcare.gov, the federal healthcare portal.

The open enrollment period for healthcare opens at the end of each year and is currently closed. However, you may qualify for a special enrollment period if you’ve experienced certain life events, like losing a job, getting married, or having a child.

Additional types of insurance available through Policygenius

In addition to the main types of insurance quotes Policygenius offers above, you can also get quotes on:

  • Vision insurance
  • Long-term care insurance
  • Jewelry insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Identity theft insurance.

Depending on the type of insurance you select, you may be directed to an external site or be presented with a list of trusted partners to select from.

Beyond insurance options, Policygenius also allows you to create a will or trust through its site, starting at $120.

Is Policygenius trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau gives Policygenius an A- in trustworthiness because the company has several complaints on the website. The BBB evaluates trustworthiness by judging a business’s response to consumer complaints, honesty in advertising, and clarity about business practices.

Policygenius does not have any recent scandals. As a result of its clean history and solid BBB rating, you may decide you’re comfortable using Policygenius as your insurance marketplace.

How Policygenius compares to other insurance marketplaces

We’ve compared Policygenius to two other insurance marketplaces with similar offerings and sign-up processes: The Zebra and Insurify.

Policygenius The Zebra Insurify
Types of insurance quotes offered Life, homeowners, renters, auto, disability, pet, health, vision, long-term care, jewelry, travel, identity theft Life, homeowners, renters, auto, boat, condo, travel trailer, RV, motorcycle, mobile home Life, homeowners, auto
How can you contact the company? Online chat, email, phone Email, phone Online chat, email, phone
Mobile app? No No No
Shop for insurance quotes Shop for insurance quotes Shop for insurance quotes

Policygenius review vs. The Zebra review

Policygenius and The Zebra both offer an expansive list of insurance types you can receive quotes for. You may like The Zebra if you’re looking to get a quote on a unique type of vehicle like a motorcycle or RV, while Policygenius might be better for a niche type of insurance like jewelry or identity theft.

If you prefer to get your questions answered quickly via an online chat with a human, Policygenius may be right for you, as The Zebra doesn’t have this option. You can contact both companies by email or phone, and neither offer in-person service.

The Zebra will give you your quotes shortly after you input basic information, while Policygenius may ask you to call them to receive your quotes, though the exact process depends on what type of insurance you want.

Your choice may come down to what quotes you are looking for and how quickly you want to get your quotes.

Policygenius review vs. Insurify review

You may prefer Insurify if you want a more streamlined process to get your quotes. For car insurance specifically, Policygenius will direct you to partner sites to get quotes while Insurify lists quotes from multiple companies immediately after you fill out your information.

Both marketplaces have resources to help you understand the ins and outs of different types of insurance, but only Policygenius directs you to these guides before sending you to find quotes. Policygenius’ guides are also more comprehensive than Insurify’s articles.

Insurify only offers quotes on life, homeowners, and auto insurance, so you may want to consider Policygenius if you’re looking for a more specialized type of insurance.

Ryan Wangman is a reviews fellow at Personal Finance Insider reporting on mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. In his past experience writing about personal finance, he has written about credit scores, financial literacy, and homeownership.

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I’ve followed the ‘30% rule’ since renting my first apartment, and 5 years later I’m seeing the impact

woman moving into apartment
I committed to the ‘30% rule’ in my early 20s and have lived by it ever since (author not pictured).

  • There’s a rule of thumb that Americans should spend no more than 30% of their income on housing costs.
  • I’ve followed this rule since renting my first apartment in New York City, and stuck to it when I moved to Los Angeles and ever since.
  • I’ve had to make some concessions along the way, like living with multiple roommates and taking the “worst” bedroom for a lower price.
  • By keeping my long-term fixed housing costs to less than 30% of my take-home pay, I can be way more flexible with the rest of my budget.
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It’s been just over five years since I went looking for my first post-college apartment in New York City.

I knew rent could be a wallet-buster in NYC, but I didn’t want to ask my parents for help even though I was earning a low hourly rate as an intern. It was time to flex my frugality muscle. 

I had some cash set aside from graduation gifts and decided part of it would go toward a security deposit and part would become my emergency fund. That meant monthly rent and utilities would come from my paychecks (as it does for most people). Rent in college was dirt cheap, so I had no idea how much I should be spending in the real world.

After some Googling, I found a rule of thumb recommended by financial experts and upheld by the US government: Aim to spend no more than 30% of your gross income on housing.

This concept was developed in the 1930s when the government began measuring housing affordability. It was originally lower, but by 1981, 30% became the standard. Americans who spend more than 30% of their pretax income on housing costs, including insurance and property taxes, are considered “burdened.” The calculation is based on the cost of other goods and services, like groceries, healthcare, and education.

Mortgage lenders can be even stricter – many don’t like to see a potential homeowner spend more than 28% of their income on housing.

I did some back-of-the-envelope math using my take-home pay instead of my gross income because I wanted to account for taxes. The 30% benchmark seemed to fit well with the rest of my budget. I’d have enough to cover my other expenses, like food, transportation, and some entertainment, plus stash a little bit in savings.

Right then I committed to the 30% rule, and I’ve lived by it ever since. 

How I followed the 30% rule in expensive cities

Apartment hunting sounds fun in theory. In practice it can be tedious and frustrating, especially if you’re on a strict budget. But a good enough apartment always crops up eventually, even if it doesn’t tick every box on your wish list. 

After about a year and a half living in New York, I moved to Los Angeles. I jumped from one increasingly expensive city to another.

To stick to the 30% rule, I had to make some concessions. In both places I lived with at least two other roommates and always took the worst room, which translated to the cheapest rent. In New York City, that meant a windowless bedroom in a railroad-style apartment in one of the outer boroughs. In my first apartment in Los Angeles, I took the most inconvenient parking spot and the only bedroom without an en suite bathroom (this is nothing to complain about, I know).

Rent isn’t the only housing expense, though. Internet has typically cost an extra $30 or so each month, but water and power can be more unpredictable. These costs are hard to control when you’re living with roommates, since you can’t police their energy usage or shower time. In fact, I’ve had minor crises in the past – a $500-plus electric bill just about floored me.

In these cases, I tapped my emergency fund to pick up the slack, which I’m convinced I have been able to maintain precisely because I’ve been so strict about keeping my fixed housing costs low.

Keeping my housing costs low has opened up room for savings

Each time I’ve moved apartments – a total of three times since that first New York City apartment – I’ve been at a higher income level. I do a new calculation every time to see what 30% of my post-tax income is, and won’t sign a lease unless what I’m agreeing to pay is below that amount.

Housing is not a very liquid expenditure. You can’t cut back on a dime because most leasing agreements last around 12 months. But you can quickly cut back how much you spend on shopping or lunch. I realized how important it is to be mindful of how much I spend on housing, since it’s usually a long-term commitment.

By controlling my housing costs, I’m able to be way more flexible with the rest of my budget. It’s worth noting that I didn’t have student loans to repay and have always avoided credit-card debt, so my expenses outside of housing were already pretty flexible.

As my income has gone up, I’ve put the money toward other categories of my budget, like upgrading my gym membership, traveling more comfortably and conveniently, and saving more money

I’m particularly focused on funneling as much money as I can into my 401(k) so that it has decades to grow before I retire. I also want to make sure I’m prepared for unexpected costs that arise now. Instead of moving into a nicer apartment in a nicer neighborhood each time I get a pay raise – therefore eating up my newfound cash with housing costs – I bump up my 401(k) deferral rate and add to my emergency fund.

The 30% rule won’t work for everyone

Like any other personal-finance rule of thumb, the 30% rule is more of a guideline than a mandate. You might have less choice than I did about exactly which city or neighborhood you live in and how many roommates you have, or you might prefer to spend more budget on your house and less on food and travel. 

For me, the 30% rule provided a good foundation for crafting a spending plan. Keeping my fixed, long-term costs low means I can be nimble with everything else.

Tanza Loudenback, CFP®, is the personal-finance correspondent at Business Insider. She writes most frequently about saving money, planning for retirement, taxes, debt management, and strategies for building wealth. Have a money question for Tanza? Fill out this anonymous form

Related Content Module: More Personal Finance Coverage

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