We’re all used to reading customer reviews for the restaurants we visit, smartphones we purchase, or the hotels we stay in. We rely on the opinions of people we know, and also on those of strangers who are sharing their experiences online. In most cases, that seems to work well; online reviews have become an inseparable part of our life, be it Amazon, Yelp, Google reviews or other, more specialized review platforms.
InsurEye, the largest Canadian online platform for reviews for mortgages, credit cards and insurance products, knows that if reviews for restaurants or hotels play a substantial role in our lives, then consumer reviews for financial and insurance products should be even more important. Mistakes with these types of products are costly for consumers. Apart from the cost, there are several other reasons why consumer reviews for financial products matter, and we’ve summarized five of the most important ones for you.
Two heads are better than one. Thousands are even better
When you use consumer reviews, you benefit from experiences shared by hundreds and thousands of Canadians. It means having access to experiences about numerous products.
For example, with mortgages, experiences include: setting up a new mortgage, making additional contributions or porting your existing mortgage to another property. It means gaining insights from insurance brokers/agents when buying a new insurance policy, making a claim or dealing with rate changes from year to year.
At InsurEye’s platform of over 4,000 consumer reviews, you get information about the diverse experiences of Canadian consumers. The most recent additions to InsurEye’s platform are mortgage reviews and credit card reviews.
Some product/service features are not experienced right away
Many mortgage products or credit cards look the same at first glance, but differences surface once you have purchased these products.
Mortgage aspects, such as switching mortgages, paying off mortgages ahead of time, getting an additional home equity line of credit, or transferring an existing mortgage to other properties, can hide unpleasant surprises.
Here are a couple examples of some customer experiences:
- “Having difficulty removing a person from the mortgage. I wish the process was easier. I wasn’t fully informed from the beginning that the process was harder than expected.”
- “Financial planner had opened an online application on their system with erroneous data that indicated that my property was not a primary residence but, in fact, it was my primary residence. He was not able to correct the application and I was held back from receiving a home line of credit.”
The same relates to the credit cards; you will find out how the rewards program works, if travel insurance is reliable and if an extended warranty does what it promises after applying for and receiving your new credit card. Here are a few examples of the consumer experiences you’d prefer to know about in advance:
- “Not happy as the company changed the type of credit card on me without speaking to me, plus they have raised my limit without talking to me as well.”
- “With respect to the reward program, in some cases one must attempt to book flights a year in advance and even then, it is very difficult to get what you need. Very frustrating.”
Comparing prices and rates is not everything
Most consumers make financial decisions based purely on numbers, and in many cases, that makes sense. At the same time, it is important to inform yourself about qualitative aspects of the products you are buying because knowing fees, rates and premiums is not everything.
For example, the most important aspect of insurance is how it handles your claims. Saving an extra $20 per month in home insurance premiums is nothing compared to a situation when a home insurance company suddenly rejects your enormous home insurance claim for a serious issue, such as flooding. These reviews are prime examples of why customer service is so important.
- “Two weeks after submitting our claim, no adjuster has visited our home post flood in Sunnyside, Calgary to assess the damage. I have called several times and there have been no clear answers. After another hour on the phone today, I found out that no adjuster has been assigned to our claim yet and they have no timeline when our home might be inspected. Simply a customer service nightmare being passed around from one administrator to the next with no clear answers or insight.”
On the other side, it is great to know when an insurance company delivers on its promises; there are many positive reviews, too.
- “We had water damage in our basement and with all the bad publicity many insurance companies get, weren’t sure if we could get it satisfactorily resolved. We found, to our delight, that our insurer was more than fair. Way to go! The adjuster who showed up at our door within one hour of our call and had our claim resolved within 24 hours! Please note that our original contact was with another agent who went on vacation but handed the file to this adjuster who did a great job for us.”
Reviews help consumers discover solutions
In some cases, consumer reviews offer not only feedback, but also solutions for various situations, adding even more value for review readers. For example: some consumers list the names of the insurance companies to go with if you have a health pre-condition or a bad driving history. Other tips may expand on the things you need to do when submitting a claim to make sure that you have a fair payout. This means you get free, quality advice before you make a decision about your insurance needs.
Consumer reviews force financial services and insurers to improve
Today, online reviews offer a unique tool for consumers who want to put pressure on their insurance and financial services providers by sharing their first-hand experiences. Once the word is out there, everybody can read it. That positively impacts companies that genuinely try to offer the best customer service, and it puts a negative light on companies that care more for their bottom line than for their customers.
Insurance companies and banks are discovering that their online reputation and consumer reviews affect their business, and they are willing to work harder for you so negative reviews don’t affect their brand.
We hope that you will also discover consumer reviews as a trusted tool to inform your personal financial decisions and help you save on insurance and financial products.
This perspective has been shared by InsurEye, the leading Canadian platform for consumer reviews for insurance and financial products. Along with consumer reviews, InsurEye also helps Canadians to compare insurance rates by getting insurance quotes for home, auto, life and business insurance.