TurboCoverage, a new Internet service, makes it easier for car dealers to offer auto insurance to car buyers.
It is offered to uninsured car buyers or customers who have a risky driving record. TurboCoverage is based in Fremont, Calif. It has 12 participating dealers and intends to expand coverage to standard drivers in the second quarter of this year.
Dealers traditionally arrange insurance coverage for car buyers at the point of sale, but that can take a few hours. The dealership has to contact an insurance agent, wait for the agent to arrive at the showroom and turn the customer over to the agent to write a policy.
The TurboCoverage process takes about 10 minutes. Car buyers complete an online application for auto insurance at the dealership and receive coverage after paying for the insurance online using a credit card or electronic checking. Customers also can pay cash to the dealership, and the dealership will reimburse TurboCoverage with a check.
The fast insurance transaction appeals to dealers because most of their customers want to speed up the car purchase, said Greg Berardi, a spokesman for TurboCoverage.
'Seventy-five percent of the people who sit down at the TurboCoverage workstation in the dealership actually complete the process and are provided insurance - both physical damage and liability,' Berardi said.
The premiums are competitive because the paperless process reduces operating costs, and the saving is passed on to consumers, he said.
TurboCoverage charges the customer a $150 transaction fee. The dealer receives half of that fee for referring the customer.
TurboCoverage was launched in January and offers insurance through Republic Indemnity of Birmingham, Ala.; Workmen's Auto Insurance Co. of Los Angeles; and Interstate Insurance Group of Chicago. Six more carriers will join the site in March.