After being struck by a vehicle, ValChoice Founder Dan Karr (pronounced as “car”) left the Intensive Care Unit with years of physical therapy ahead of him. Although Karr was fully insured and not at fault, insurance companies refused to cover his medical costs, totaling nearly $100,000. The strain of retrieving that money from the insurance companies while recovering inspired Dan to change the insurance industry by restoring power to consumers. His idea earned him many start-up awards, as well as attention from Forbes and The Associated Press.
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Where does the name ValChoice come from?
Dan: We thought about what this company wants to stand for—good value and helping consumers, giving them choices.
What do most consumers not know about their auto insurance? Where are the blind spots?
Most people don’t know if they [are getting] a good price, they don’t know if they have a company that will protect them if they have an accident, and they don’t know how to get that information. And surprisingly, most consumers don’t even know the actual name of the company they’re doing business with. Underneath [insurance] brand names there will be oftentimes twenty, or more, companies with very similar sounding names. And those companies are set up like that because they have different membership policies. They’re really selling a wide variety of products underneath a single brand name.
How many different criteria do you use in comparing the different auto insurance companies?
We look at over a million data points when we do our grading, but we break it down into three really simple things for people to understand: price, protection (claims payment history), and service. For a free report, we produce that all into a single score. People can see the difference.
How much can consumers save by using ValChoice to understand and update their insurance agency/policy?
On average, most families can save $350 a year on their car insurance [while] maintaining [the] level of protection they already have or even improving it.
It’s very difficult for startups to get covered by high profile publications like Forbes and the Associated Press news service. How is this possible for ValChoice?
We get excellent press coverage because there are large populations of people that feel an insurance company has wronged them. That makes us newsworthy. In the case of the AP, they contacted me a long time ago. [They said] we’re interested in doing a video story on this because finally, there’s somebody doing something to try and balance the power between consumers and these huge corporations that are exempt from all federal laws. I said, “You know, I’m not ready. This is a hard problem to solve. I need time.” We’ve been in touch for quite a while now, and they’re finally putting the story out.
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Here is the The Associated Press’s ValChoice video.
Stay tuned to Dan Karr’s progress in creating greater transparency for consumers in other insurance categories, including home and health.