If you’ve ever been into a Wal-mart, you probably know that they sell just about everything. Jason Hartman is frequently overwhelmed by this one stop shop for fresh produce, an oil change, a new suit jacket, and some home décor. It’s a bit busy even for the most tenured shopper amongst us. The store offers just about everything a person could want or need, minus auto insurance.
But even that is about to change. Wal-Mart recently announced a partnership with AutoInsurance.com that will allow the retail giant to offer auto insurance to their customers. Technically, Wal-Mart will not be selling auto insurance, but customers will be able to access said insurance through a link on Walmart.com. From there, they’ll be able to select a policy and price that is best for their individual needs.
Currently, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas offer the program. In the next few months, it is expected to be available to all customers in the United States.
Wal-Mart expects that the service will save customers money, citing a pilot program survey in which customers averaged a savings of $1,168 on their policies. Wal-Mart’s senior vice president of services Daniel Eckert insists that the site is meant to be simple and will auto fill current policy information. It should also increase transparency, and offer everyday low prices.
The service originates from Wal-Mart/Tranzutary Insurance Solutions (a New Jersey insurance broker) and marks the latest Wal-Mart move into financial services. They’ve joined forces with Western Union and MoneyGram to offer money transfers from Wal-Mart stores around the country at a significant cost reduction. You can also cash a check or purchase a prepaid card at Wal-Mart stores, or join Bluebird, American Express’s checking and debit alternative service (which doesn’t require any balance and has zero fees).
Wal-Mart’s financial services tend to focus on those that don’t have access to bank accounts due to high banking fees or minimum balance requirements.