If you don’t want to read the details, skip straight to the Recommendation
Before we start – We have no affiliation or relation with Sonnet Insurance. This is an independent review of their offerings and service.
Sonnet Insurance launched in 2016 to much acclaim for its online-only way of doing business. Offering home and auto insurance, Sonnet promised to make the user experience seamless with its customer-centric and customizable digital platform, not to mention lower quotes. In an industry that is begrudged by many for its high premiums, complex pricing structures, and lengthy claims processes, Sonnet looked to be a breath of fresh air. But since its launch, has the company lived up to the hype? Could an insurance company truly offer you a simple and painless experience from start to finish? My two years as a Sonnet customer may help answer that question.
In May 2016, Economical Insurance launched its direct business, Sonnet Insurance. Picking up on the trend of consumers increasingly wanting to conduct their business online, without the hassle of having to go somewhere in person or call to speak to a representative, Sonnet offered customized and data-driven quotes with the ability to make policy purchases and updates at the click of a mouse. With a focus on creating a user experience to rival the top tech giants, Sonnet delivered a platform for buying home and auto insurance that aimed to offer easy-to-understand policies, competitive coverage, and simple website language. Sonnet is federally regulated and now offers a range of personal lines of insurance, including auto, home, condo, tenant, and landlord.
My criteria for selecting an insurance provider for my new car were relatively straightforward.
- First off, I wanted to find the lowest premium that I could for the minimum insurance requirements. Cost was always my bottom line, and if I could find a low base to start with, it would allow me to consider adding on more additional coverage as needed. I had first heard about Sonnet from its advertisements on public transit. The company promised to factor in to my premiums things like my clean driving record and the winter tires I install on my car each year. However, while Sonnet did not offer me the significantly lower premium I was expecting (more on that later), it was indeed competitive with some of the other quotes I had received. Based on price alone, I was able to narrow down my list of possible insurers.
- My second requirement was a company that was reputable and had some level of financial history. A company that has been in business for a long time and has credibility and good financial strength will be more likely to pay my claims, if it ever came to that. Sonnet is still a baby in the insurance industry relatively speaking, but it is the direct arm of Economical Insurance, which was founded nearly 150 years ago. This reassured me that Sonnet would be able to pay what I need, when I needed it. From here, my list of possible insurers shrunk even further.
- The last factor I was looking for was an easy process not only for purchasing a policy, but also convenience for the entire length of our relationship. As someone who conducts the vast majority of their banking online, I eschew being forced to call or visit a brick and mortar in order to manage my affairs. Especially in today’s day and age, and with all of the technological capacities that we have at our fingertips, conducting business online should not be a nice-to-have, but rather a must-have for companies. I also wanted a company that spoke in plain and easy to understand language, without needing an insurance broker to decipher my policies for me. Sonnet’s website, with its simple language and one-stop shopping, ticked off both boxes. With this in mind, my list was whittled down even further.
In all, I spent almost as much time researching different auto insurance companies online as I did trying to find the right car for me. However, when assessing companies against my three criteria, Sonnet emerged as the clear winner. So, I decided to give it a try.
Signing up with Sonnet was as easy a process as I had been promised. The website, which was visually appealing with its crisp colours, intuitive design, and cute animations, guided me through a simple questionnaire. I was offered the chance to bundle both home and auto insurance for a discount, but home was not on my shopping list for now. First, I inputted basic details about my car, including its make, model, and purchase condition, as well as information on my driving habits, such as my daily commute and whether I used my car for business purposes. Next came the details about myself, including license number and marital status.
In just a few short minutes, I was given a quote. Having already shopped around for quotes, Sonnet’s seamed reasonable, so I accepted. A quick input of my credit card details and I was done. A new insurance policy was in my inbox and my pink slips were in the mail. The process was fast, easy, and I did not have to speak to a sales representative even once. As far as signing up goes, Sonnet could not have offered a smoother process.
Before choosing to go with Sonnet, I had read other customer reviews claiming that they were able to get rates more than 30% lower from Sonnet than from anyone else. Needless to say, when I applied for a quote I was expecting some miraculous number to appear. Unfortunately, I did not get the low rate I was hoping for. That being said, the rate I was quoted by Sonnet was competitive with the lowest rates I could find anywhere else. It was reasonable, just not what I was expecting given the hype and reviews.
Where Sonnet emerged as a winner, however, was in the ability to customize my policy straight from my computer. Wondering how much you would save if you removed collision insurance from your plan? Or how much it would cost to ensure your car only in cases of emergency, such as fire or lightening? Sonnet will tell you in one easy click. By logging into your online Sonnet account, you can play around with the different coverage elements of your policy. Subtract one feature, add another, and Sonnet will tell you what the cost difference would be every time.
Another added benefit is that each time you select a modification in your coverage, a handy tip from Sonnet will pop up, advising you about the consequences of making that specific change. It is a good reminder that opting for the lowest coverage may not always be the smartest move.
Sonnet’s premiums obviously vary by client, but its competitive rates make it worthwhile. However, it is the ability to customize your policy online and potentially save hundreds of dollars each year, that makes it a winner.
I receive emails from Sonnet every one to two months, on average. For someone who does not like to be bombarded with a lot of sales emails, I have found my Sonnet experience ideal. The emails I do get are also often quite interesting and relevant to me. For instance, in May I was contacted about Sonnet’s new pet insurance partner, Petsecure. As a dog owner, I was happy to read about the options for covering my pet in case of accident or illness. Best of all, that was the only email I ever got about it. They introduced a new service to me without going heavy on the sales.
Every now and then Sonnet will also email me with a surprising perk. Last year, for instance, a simple customer survey netted me a $10.00 Amazon Gift Card. As an official sponsor of Toronto Football Club, Sonnet also sometimes runs contests for free tickets to FC games. I also regularly receive incentives to bundle home and auto insurance together with Sonnet, including a $30 Starbucks Gift Card. None of these perks may be worth switching companies for, but it is definitely a nice benefit of being with Sonnet.
As a Sonnet client for two years, I can say that I am happy with the frequency and content of the email updates I receive. Not too little, not too much, and just enough for me to remain an informed consumer.
Sonnet’s Customer Care Centre is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm ET (9am to 5pm ET in Quebec). You can also send them a message online with a promised one-day turnaround time. I have never had to contact their customer service. However, I believe that is a result of being able to have so much control over my own account through the Sonnet website.
I am able to manage everything from my payment methods to adding additional drivers online. On several occasions, I have also wanted to make changes to my policy. Last year, for instance, I reduced coverage for income replacement in the case of an accident, as well as inflation protection. Whereas this might have required a phone call to customer service with many other insurance providers, with Sonnet, I was able to log in and make the changes myself in just a few minutes. I removed the coverage I no longer wanted, saw how much the change would save me on an annual basis, and accepted.
While I cannot speak to the quality of Sonnet’s customer service, the fact that I have not had to contact them speaks volume about the company to begin with.
Fortunately, I have never needed to file a claim, having maintained my clean driving record. However, Sonnet purports to have 600 claims professionals working 24/7 to help you in the case of an accident.
My renewal with Sonnet is coming up next week. I was reminded of this by an email from Sonnet more than one month before my renewal date. This gave me lots of time to review my policy, decide if my coverage is sufficient, or even reevaluate my insurance provider and look elsewhere, which is exactly what I did.
On being reminded of the impending renewal date, I logged into my Sonnet account and promptly started playing around with my coverage again, removing certain features and adding others, until I came to a level of coverage that I felt comfortable with. The premium was only slightly lower than what I am paying now, so I decided to look elsewhere for quotes and see how it compared.
I scoured the Internet trying to find the cheapest rate I could find. Most of the quotes came back the same or slightly to significantly higher than Sonnet. I did manage to find a cheaper rate with one of the big banks, only to be told I had to call them in order to secure the quote. Right then, I remembered why I had chosen Sonnet in the first place. I logged back into my Sonnet account, made my changes, and am now on track for a seamless renewal with almost the lowest rate I could find.
Sonnet Insurance is not for everyone. For those who like discussing their policy options with a real person, and having the option to go into a branch to discuss some more, Sonnet may seem like a risk. However, for those technological savvy drivers who are comfortable with the new digital direction of business, Sonnet offers as simple a process as you can hope for. With its deep customization, you have the ability to make your Sonnet experience whatever you want it to be. On top of that, its rates are competitive if not lower than the rest.
If I could make just one suggestion to Sonnet, it would be to consider a usage-based insurance plan. Especially given the company’s innovative and high-tech focus, it could easily incorporate a plan to record and transmit real-time driving data. This would reward safe drivers, while also building a tremendous amount of goodwill and loyalty for the company.
That being said, I will happily accept my auto insurance policy renewal with Sonnet next week. A company that puts more power in my hands is a company I want to keep around.
Are you a Sonnet Insurance customer? Let us know about your experience with them below!
*Disclaimer: Please conduct appropriate due diligence when picking an insurance provider. This article and experience is for informational purposes. This contributing editor’s experience may not reflect yours.