When you’re on the hunt for your first homeowners insurance policy or even if you’re switching coverages, you want to be sure you’re buying from a reputable company. But with so many home insurance companies out there, how do you know which to choose?
While independent insurance agents can easily set you up with a policy from a top-rated provider, there are some questions and research you can conduct on your own first. Time to dive all in on some more detail.
Questions to Ask about Home Insurance Companies
In order to get set up with coverage that not only meets your needs but also comes from a well-established and trustworthy home insurance company, there are a handful of questions you can consider. Feel free to bring these questions directly to your independent insurance agent while shopping for coverage, or conduct your own research prior to calling them up.
Ask these important questions about each insurance company when shopping for coverage:
- Have I heard of this company? The first (and perhaps most obvious) question to ask when comparing home insurance companies is if you’ve even heard of them. Big-name insurance companies that immediately come to mind don’t just spend more money on advertising, but likely have also been in business for longer and are successful. As an informed customer, you want a policy from a company who knows what they’re doing.
- How long have they been around? The longer an insurance company has been in business, the better news that is for customers. The law of staying power states that the longer a company has been around, the longer they have the potential to keep staying around. When you buy an insurance policy, you want to be sure the company you buy from isn’t in danger of going under any time soon.
- How big are they? This really refers to how many customers an insurance company is currently serving and how much revenue they generate as a result. The more money an insurance company has, the better. A higher net worth allows the company to provide better services to their customers, not to mention adds to their potential to stay in business much longer.
- How quickly do they respond to claims? The efficiency with which an insurance company responds to claims varies greatly between carriers. By doing a bit of hunting through ratings, you can find customer and official reviews of how responsive various home insurance companies are to claims. Certain companies are faster with processing, while others offer more cordial customer service and perhaps not as much speed.
- Does this company cater to the wealthy? Certain home insurance companies focus on the wealthy as their target customer base. While different businesses cater to target audiences, in the case of insurance, you want to go with a company that most closely caters to your personal class. This increases your chances of having the best possible customer service and responsiveness to any claims you may file.
- Will this company cater to your unique living situation? Whether you live in a busy city, a rural area, in a single-family home or a houseboat, you want to make sure that the insurance company you choose will cater to your needs. If you’re unable to determine if a specific home insurance company will deliver a policy that covers your living situation, your independent insurance agent can help find out.
Your independent insurance agent can provide you with insight into the quality of service and customer satisfaction levels from various home insurance companies. Still, it’s helpful to consider the above questions when starting your insurance hunt to broaden your personal understanding.
How to Check Official Reviews and Consumer Reports
While your independent agent can easily inform you on official and customer ratings for many different home insurance companies, you still might prefer to conduct some research yourself. In such a case, there are a handful of sources you can check on your own to get started:
- AM Best Company: A quick account creation is all it takes to check official ratings on AM Best. Their official website states, “AM Best is the only global credit rating agency with a unique focus on the insurance industry,” and that their reviews “are a recognized indicator of insurer financial strength and creditworthiness.” Once you sign up, you’ll be able to type in any insurance company’s name and find their official grade rating, financial size category, long-term outlook, and more classifications about them. You can even see how long the company has been in business.
- Better Business Bureau: A quick visit to the Better Business Bureau (BBB)’s accredited insurance companies page provides you with a list of insurance companies with the BBB’s grade rating for them displayed right in line with the company’s name. Clicking on an insurance company’s page allows you to see more information such as how long they’ve been in business, customer reviews and complaints, and more.
- NAIC Consumer Reports: The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) assigns numbers to each insurance company. Their website provides information about complaints received for many different insurance companies, as well as how the complaints were resolved. You can also view financial information about each company, including the current total value of direct premiums written, assets, and liabilities.
Having a handful of official sources to conduct your own research on home insurance companies before selecting one to buy your policy from can eliminate a lot of stress. Walking away with a policy from a reputable home insurance company that caters to your needs is crucial.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be alone in finding the insurance company that’s right for you. Independent insurance agents are experienced in matching customers to reputable insurance companies that provide the right coverage for them. Even better, they can actually match you with several companies and then narrow your options down to what works best for you.
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TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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