Some insurance companies have hilarious commercials, but should you really base your decisions on that? Choosing an insurance company is nobody’s idea of a good time, but taking the path of least resistance is rarely the right choice.
You need to know what you’re looking for, ask the right questions, and not settle for less. After all, if you end up needing those policy benefits, you’ll wish you’d spent a little more time finding a perfect match.
No matter what type of insurance you’re looking for, do some comparison shopping. The exact same policy might be available through a different company or agent for a lower rate. Yes, comparison shopping takes more time but you might save a bundle in the process.
Here are seven more ways to decide which insurance company is right for you.
1. Call, email, and chat
If you get into an accident, your house is burglarized, or you have to file a life insurance claim, you need to be able to get hold of a knowledgeable, helpful representative immediately. Even if you’d prefer to fill out the application online, call the 800 number and/or local office.
If it’s a maze to get to a real person, you deserve better service than that. Also check response times with email, social media messaging, or online chat.
2. Understand the reality of coverage limits
A lot of things are standardized, such as home insurance liability coverage. For example, $100,000 might seem like a lot if a friend gets hurt on your property, but what if someone has a fatal fall? What if you fall asleep behind the wheel (or handle bars) and are charged with manslaughter?
Suddenly that $100,000 is just a drop in the bucket of the millions you could owe. Opting for add-on coverage is smart and very affordable.
3. “But I thought it was covered … “
Compensation amounts aren’t the only coverage you need to check. For example, most homeowner and renter policies don’t include earthquake or flood damage. However, many people live on a fault line, such as the West Coast, where a major earthquake is nearly guaranteed to happen in the next 50 years. Never assume you’re covered; always ask.
4. How would you like to pay?
A good insurance company will give you options when it comes to payments. Maybe you’d like to pay monthly or annually. Maybe you prefer to write old-fashioned checks, or make payments directly on their website. No matter what, insurance companies should make it easy for you to pay your premiums.
5. An agent around the corner
Even if you don’t want to meet an agent initially to sign up for a policy, there should be one close by in case disaster strikes. There may come a time when an in-person meeting is just easier than playing phone tag. Know where their offices are located and the local phone number.
6. Ask for discounts
There are many possible discounts available, so make sure you comb through them all to save money. You might get a deal for bundling policies, being a student, a safe driver discount, or even owning an electric car. Your agent might miss a discount, so always check this fine print yourself. Why pay more?
7. Get organized
Use a spreadsheet to produce a list of pros and cons for each insurance agency you check out. This lets you scan quickly to see which company is best for your needs.
Make a list of everything you require in an insurance company along with the rates. Rank accessibility, friendliness, coverage, and anything else you deem a must. Seeing the facts in black and white can make your decision faster and easier.