E-mail may be adding more fuel to the already fiery debate concerning consumers’ preference of shopping for auto policies online versus with an agent. A recent survey of 264 respondents who visited AutoInsuranceQuotes.com while shopping for insurance, revealed that 94% of surveyed drivers prefer shopping for auto insurance via e-mail.

E-mail beat out all other shopping methods including online, in-person with a local agent or over the phone.

Similarly, the J.D. Power and Associates “2008 Insurance New Buyer Study” found that last year, 21% of new customer insurance sales were processed entirely on the Web.

On the other hand, however, only 2% of AutoInsuranceQuotes.com survey respondents preferred shopping strictly online.

"Shopping online without agent interaction may be too impersonal for some auto insurance shoppers, as they are sometimes apprehensive about binding themselves into a policy without consultation," says Mike Pesackis, licensed agent for AutoInsuranceQuotes.com.

Purchasing via e-mail allows customers to utilize the Internet for convenience, yet it also requires that they will be working with a live agent to purchase their insurance policy. E-mail shoppers seem to appreciate the convenience of Web-based shopping, but also seem to find value in working with a licensed agent.

"Customers who work with a licensed agent before purchasing their auto insurance policy have a better chance of finding the right coverage and qualifying for all available discounts," says Jana Bell, director of business operations at HomeInsurance.com. "State and lender requirements vary per customer and a licensed consultant is there to ensure you get the most appropriate coverage for your needs."

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