“Did you read about how Geico is paying everyone a dollar to forward their on emails?”

“I read about a man who insured some cigars for millions and then smoked them to get the insurance money…and he did!”

The phrase “don’t believe everything you read” has never more been true. With the popularization of the internet, swarming rumors, false truths and blatant lies cloud the judgment of people who should know better. This is particular true when it comes to understanding car insurance or insurance in general.

You do not have to fall trap to the misleading information found on the internet. Here is how you can evaluate which online resources are worth using when evaluating insurance.

  • Check the source. With the ease of the internet, anyone can create and edit a website. Always, always check the source. If the site is not well known, it might not be somewhere you would want to follow “cheap insurance” advice from. Well-known and very busy websites tend to be more trustworthy. (Note: this is not to say that popular websites can’t make mistakes. It is still a good rule of thumb to go by.) People who know better regularly spout off information on gossip blogs and cite information from Wikipedia. No offense to Wikipedia, but anyone can edit and contribute content making it a less reliable source.
  • Watch out for a bias. Is an “insurance” site introducing a new study about how having more insurance reduces stress? Red flag. Research should be unbiased on principle, and if you notice a bias, be cautious. Now all writers will have some sort of bias (as we all do), so the best way to check for unbiased writing is to see if both sides of a story are reflected. Does the article interview a doctor in the story also? That shows real distinct effort to show both sides. However, if a story is narrowly one sided, it has an agenda. Take everything with a grain of salt.
  • Too good to be true. This happens on the Internet a lot. Sign up and you will get a free laptop. Or get car insurance for $1 a month. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Look for the fine print and read it. And beware of scams that will ask for your personal information. Trust me, the chance of winning a $25 Olive Garden gift card does not outweigh the pain of identity theft.
  • Timeliness. Good websites are updated constantly. If you read an article on a site that is a year old, assume that it is outdated. If the story or site links to bad or outdated sources, be cautious about the validity of the information.
  • Look at who created the content. In a newspaper there are a few different sections. One section is usually devoted to the editorial staff and will include opinions. Do not take opinions as fact; they are just that: someone’s opinion. Feel free to agree but don’t treat it like it is written in stone.
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