Protecting What Matters: 7 Tips for Choosing the Insurance Company That’s Right for You
Choosing the right insurance company can be overwhelming and even confusing. Many people end up procrastinating about it because of just how daunting it can be. You don’t want to be caught without insurance, however. Imagine losing everything you own in a home fire. Now in addition to all the grief, you are dealing with, the loss of sentimental items you can’t replace, you also have financial stress. You are forced to deal with getting money for shelter, clothing and food, the very basics. When you have the proper coverage, you can be left to only worry about the personal impact a loss has and not the financial setback.
You would be surprised at just how many people do not know who their insurance agent or company is. While this may not seem like a problem, it is strongly encouraged that you know who is in charge of helping you should your life be upended with a tragedy. Keep a card in your wallet, a magnet on your fridge and something in your car. If you are in the market for a new insurance company that better suits your needs, there are several things to consider. The following offers seven tips for selecting the right insurance company.
Research the Company Reputation and History
You want to take the time to learn more about prospective insurance companies. You don’t want to spend money on coverage you don’t need or work with a company that has a reputation for treating their clients poorly. You want to check out their website and see which states carry their products, how long they’ve been in business and what kind of vision or values they have. Look for the company leaders, check out their social media profiles and see if they are involved with their community. Look for the types of products they’re selling and if there is financial strength in the individuals and the team. You will likely run across a negative review or two, every company that’s been in business for a while has them. Keep in mind the overall picture when shopping for the right company for your needs.
Are You Working with a Company or an Individual?
It isn’t unusual for people do not know if they are working with an individual or a company. If you are working with an independent insurance agent, they are looking to make sure they match you with the right company to fit your coverage needs. While your insurance company is who makes sure you have a copy of your policy and determines your premium by reviewing what an independent agent recommends based off several competing company bids. Your insurance company will handle your payments and make any changes you need to your policy based on lifestyle changes. The insurance company will also offer you some strategies to help prevent loss or damage because they are the ones paying the claims when they happen. If you want to learn more about your coverage, speak to both your company and agent, if you have their contacts.
What Coverage Are You Looking For?
You will want to discuss in detail the sort of coverage you are looking for. Are you primarily interested in home coverage? What does this provide you with? Is flooding damage covered? Fire damages? Are you also in the market for auto insurance? There are many companies that provide discounts for safe practices, multiple types of coverages and multiple family member discounts, so be sure to ask about these.
What Price is in Your Budget
You are likely going to have to come to a compromise between the coverage you think you need, what you actually need, and what you can afford. This is a good time to carefully go over your budget, so you have a sound understanding of where the money is coming from and how much you can cover.
Know Your Insurance Company or Agent’s Financial Strength
The last thing you want to do is come up against a tough claim situation only to find out your insurance company can’t cover the cost of your claim because of a bad financial status. There are many insurance companies that make it a practice to work with independent rating agencies to provide accurate reviews on financial strength. These cover many factors and then assign a score or grade. You can learn more about how these agencies work by a little internet research. Make sure to search for your companies on these rating systems and decide for yourself how sound they look.
How Easy are They to Work With?
You want to be able to get in contact with your insurance company should something go wrong. If you have a hard time getting a callback, email response or someone to chat with online when you are asking questions about coverage, it will likely be just as difficult should you go through a claim. You want a company that is responsive and has an active online presence. This will make it that much easier to get a claim processed should the time arrive. Take the time to consider how you are treated by staff members as well. Is the receptionist always on a personal phone call when you come in? When you ask questions are you getting clipped answers or a responsive agent who is ready to find the information you need? It may seem like small details, but when you are anxious because you have had a loss, you need someone who is eager to help you, not someone who feels putt-off by your questions and need for details.
Another thing that is good to take into consideration when looking into insurance companies is the availability of discounts and promotions that are offered. If one company is equal to another as far as coverage and pricing go but offers bonuses for referrals and discounts for safe driving, or multi-car family discounts, choose the company that offers more. Some possible discounts different companies may offer are those for financial stability, anti-lock brakes in your vehicle, home protection devices, newer homes, and even good student discounts.