- Free to use
- Simple quote form
- Partners with reputable insurers
- No real quotes
- Sells information to third parties
- Lots of spam complaints
Otto is an insurance comparison site, but it doesn’t actually generate quotes. Instead, Otto directs you to its partners, various insurance companies, and other insurance comparison sites after completing its quote form.
While this certainly gives you a wide range of possibilities, you’ll likely have better luck getting quotes elsewhere.
Otto Insurance operates as a lead-generation website, connecting users with insurance agencies, companies, and comparison sites. In addition to car insurance policies, you can use Otto to search for home, pet, and life insurance. But keep in mind that it will direct you elsewhere to actually get your quote.
If you’re wondering how that works, Otto collaborates with a network of insurance agencies and insurers. When you enter your information, the site determines which of its partners will best be able to serve you. So you may be connected with a specific insurer, another comparison site, or an agency that offers coverage in your area.
But if you don’t like getting the run-around or receiving calls, texts, or even mail from numerous companies, you may want to consider alternatives.
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Otto Insurance: What You Need to Know
Otto Insurance — not to be confused with Otto Insurance Group, an agency based in Ohio — was founded by Joshua Keller and is currently a subsidiary of Global Agora, a venture capital firm. But, as of this writing, there’s limited information about the history of the company and its team. Headquartered in Miami, Otto isn’t yet rated for its financial strength by AM Best and doesn’t currently have a mobile app (though the website is mobile-friendly).
Most customers use the site to get car insurance quotes. While it can be done online, there’s also a phone number — 1 (888) 904-1907 — that you can use to get quotes. I noticed that several of the positive reviews on the Otto Insurance website talked about calling in to get a quote, which may be easier for some users.
Keep in mind that Otto shares your information with its partners, so you can expect to receive emails and phone calls from third parties (but you can contact the company directly to have your information removed).
How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes with Otto
To start the quote process, I went to Otto’s homepage. The first thing it advertises is a free quiz, which was a little confusing. But when I clicked “See my rates,” it took me to the first page of the quote form.
But I could also use any of the buttons found in the screenshot below to get the quote I wanted.
Once in the quote form, I entered my ZIP code and clicked “Check rates.”
The next few questions were about my vehicle, starting with the model year.
The form shows 11 of the most popular vehicle makes, and there is a drop-down window with a complete list of manufacturers.
Next, I selected my model (a Honda Accord).
Finally, I selected the trim (LX).
Next, the site prompted me to add a second vehicle, advertising that I could save an additional 20%, which is a little misleading because the actual savings that insurers offer vary.
Next, it asked if I’m currently insured (I am).
The form also asked for my current insurance company. I assume this is so it knows if I’ve had any lapses in coverage (and to prevent it from sending me to my current insurer’s website).
It also asked my gender (female), which insurance companies use to determine premium costs.
I also gave my credit score. In most states, insurers can use your credit history to determine rates. Luckily, it’s prohibited in California (where I’m getting my quote), along with a handful of other states.
Next, I entered whether I was a homeowner or not (I rent).
I entered my birthdate next. Age is one of the most influential factors in determining car insurance rates, so this was an important piece.
Next, the site confirmed that I’m the only driver on the policy, but it never asked about my driving record. Considering that’s one of the most important factors affecting car insurance rates, I found that a bit strange.
Then, it asked for my name and email address.
And the final step asked for my street address and phone number.
I hit “Get Your Free Quote” and received just one result — EverQuote, another quote-generation site. Notice as well that the site, for some reason, reverted to my current location (Massachusetts), not the address I gave when filling out the quote form.
I clicked “Access Your Quote” to see what would happen. Unfortunately, I received the below error message indicating that “no online rates were available at this time.”
I didn’t get any quotes. I tried again to get quotes for California but continued to get information for Massachusetts. I suppose you can’t get quotes from Otto when you’re out of town or using a VPN. Disappointing.
Otto Insurance Reviews: What Real Customers Are Saying
Otto’s auto insurance reviews are underwhelming, to say the least. I couldn’t find a single positive review outside of the company website.
Why so many negative reviews? There seem to be two common themes: the company doesn’t produce quotes, and it triggers a ton of spam calls and emails. The reviewer below never received a quote but was bombarded with calls and emails after sending in their form.
The following reviewer even calls submitting their form a “big mistake” because of the number of calls they received.
The complaint below, filed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), highlights the difficulty of getting off their lists even after the company has supposedly removed you. After filing their complaint, Otto responds by letting them know they’ve been unsubscribed.
However, in four follow-ups (I’ve included two of them below), the customer complains that they’re still getting contacted.
Unfortunately, another complaint on BBB is nearly identical: the company says the customer is unsubscribed, but the customer continues to get solicitations.
It’s also worth noting that Otto sold my information, too. A few weeks after initially receiving a quote from Otto, I received a letter in the mail from an unnamed third-party organization claiming that my car’s warranty had expired and offering to sell me an extended warranty.
So, if you want to avoid endless spam calls, emails, and mail, you may want to avoid Otto entirely. We’ll go over some better alternatives in the coming sections.
Otto vs. Compare.com
The main difference between Otto and Compare.com is that Otto is a lead generator — it only sells your “lead” to other websites. On the other hand, Compare generates real quotes with real prices.
When I used Compare.com, I got quotes from three different insurance companies, plus the option to compare quotes with Jerry, another insurance–comparison website. Some users will find more real quotes — it just depends on your profile and where you’re located. It’s also worth noting that Compare.com works with more than 75 of the nation’s top insurance companies, so users can rest assured they’re finding the best deal.
Compare.com’s quote form was more complete than what I experienced with Otto. It asked for my driving history and additional information that would provide me with much more accurate pricing. Overall, Compare.com was just as easy to use as Otto but gave me significantly better results.
Finally, unlike Otto, Compare doesn’t sell personal information, so I didn’t get any spammy follow-ups after generating my quotes.
Here’s an overview of my experience with both sites.
|Number of real quotes||0||3|
|BBB rating||B- (not accredited)||A+ (accredited since 2015)|
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Otto vs. Insurify
Insurify is another insurance-comparison site. Where Otto could only direct me to partners, Insurify generated four actual quotes for me. It also worked with other comparison marketplaces.
To generate my quotes, I filled out an online form on Insurify’s website. The form was more extensive than Otto’s since it asked questions about my driving record. Insurify also appears to have a more extensive network of nationwide insurers.
Overall, Insurify made it easy to go to the insurer’s website and complete my purchase. Alternatively, I could buy my policy through Insurify since the company also has an in-house agency.
Finally, like Compare.com, Insurify doesn’t sell personal information. All in all, the site felt much less spammy than Otto.
Otto vs. The Zebra
The Zebra is yet another insurance-comparison website that produces real quotes for users. Unlike Otto, it doesn’t sell its users’ personal information. The site also uses a more complete quoting form, where you can enter information about your driving record (and likely get a more accurate quote).
When I used The Zebra to get quotes, I only got two results — despite the fact that the website advertises it generates quotes from “every major insurance company.”
Similar to Insurify, The Zebra is able to act as an insurance agent, so you can buy a policy directly through the site. Overall, I found The Zebra easy to use and more effective than Otto.
Is Otto Insurance a Spammy Site?
Though Otto gives you a way to take your name off their list (only after the fact), it can at least be considered somewhat spammy. I received junk mail from the post office from “Auto Protect USA” about “extremely urgent and time-sensitive” information regarding my car’s extended warranty — a definite red flag.
While there was no mention of it coming from Otto, it was addressed to the name I’d assigned to Otto in order to track where junk mail or spam comes from. I also received phone calls from partners almost as soon as I sent in my first form.
The company is fairly up-front about how it sells information to third parties. It even lists how to be removed from the list at the bottom of its home page. Overall, I would say that Otto is a fairly spammy website, and customer reviews seem to agree. At the end of the day, your experience may vary.
Otto Insurance FAQs
Here are some quick answers to the most commonly asked questions about Otto Insurance.
Is Otto Insurance easy to use?
Yes, Otto has a user-friendly website. It takes just two minutes to fill out the form and get “results.” However, those results only directed me to other websites where I ultimately didn’t get a quote. Customer reviews tell a similar story about not receiving quotes (but they did receive plenty of spam).
Is Otto Insurance a trustworthy site?
In some ways, Otto is trustworthy. The site is up-front about the fact that it sells information to other websites. But there are some glaring issues: it advertises discounts as if they’re guaranteed (they’re not) and makes itself look like a quote-comparison website even though it’s a lead-generation site.
Does Otto sell your information?
Yes, Otto sells information to third parties. Though the site doesn’t have a statement as to how it makes money (something other comparison websites do), it’s likely that selling information is an important part of its business. If you use the service, expect a lot of phone calls, as well as texts, emails, and direct mail.
Does it cost money to use Otto Insurance?
No, Otto is completely free to use and doesn’t ask for any payment information. However, you will need to pay the insurance company if you decide to buy a policy from one of your results. But, again, there is no fee to use Otto.
How do you stop Otto and its partners from contacting you?
Email [email protected] and include your contact information (phone number and email address) to have them removed from Otto’s system. It takes 24 to 48 hours to process your request.
- Trustpilot, “Ottoinsurance,” Accessed October 9, 2023.
- Quora, “What is your review of Otto insurance (car insurance)? Is it a scam?,” Accessed October 9, 2023.
- Shopper Approved, “Compare.com Reviews,” Accessed October 9, 2023.
- BBB, “Otto insurance,” Accessed October 9, 2023.