It’s a tale as old as time: You never have an umbrella when you need one. It sits in the back of the closet while you're getting soaked in a downpour.
Luckily, an umbrella insurance policy is always there to protect you from liability and property disasters—you know, metaphorical downpours. Even better, you don't have to be an insurance expert to know how to land a winner.
We’ve put together a few absolutely key factors to look for when you’re shopping companies and policies. And whenever you’re ready, our independent insurance agents can help you seal the deal.
How Insurance Carriers Work
Simply put, insurance carriers create insurance products and plans to help you when you need it most. And when it comes to buying your very own insurance policy, you can either do so through the carrier’s agent, or an independent insurance agent.
In the case of independent insurance agents, since they aren’t tied to any one carrier, they can search and sift through a ton more options. Not only that, they also follow along and keep track of info like carrier stability and reputation, so they can help you feel good about the choice you make.
So let’s talk about the things an independent insurance agent wants you to keep in mind to help land the policy that’s perfect for you.
Umbrella coverage operates with a pretty simple formula: The more you pay, the more coverage (in millions of dollars) you get. And that makes comparing price between quotes a heck of a lot easier.
What to look for: Make sure you clearly understand how much you'll be paying and how much the company will cover if you need to make a claim. Also check for extra requirements they may add to your auto or home insurance policies. Many umbrella insurance companies require minimum coverage on other policies before the umbrella coverage will kick in.
These days, most carriers’ basic customer service includes 24/7 claims reporting and extended business hours. Other options vary widely depending on the type and amount of umbrella coverage you need.
What to look for: An easy-to-use website is an absolute blessing in an emergency. Double-check the website before buying and make sure their hours and contact information are clearly displayed, so you don't have to waste time hunting them down in an emergency.
Speed of Service
Here’s where paying extra in premiums can actually pay back. Expensive companies often have more staff, which typically means they respond faster. All the better to help put unexpected incidents behind you and get back to your best life.
What to look for: This one’s hard to judge from the outside. Word of mouth, from insurance agents and other customers, can give you the best picture. A good reputation and fast service go hand in hand—like a handshake.
Do you prefer the friendly smiling service of a small mom ‘n’ pop shop or the always-on efficiency of a massive corporation? Both have their benefits, and some mid-size companies offer a sweet little blend of both. There’s no right or wrong answer to this one—it’s all personal.
What to look for: If you’d prefer to know your insurance company as names and faces instead of as representative #19754-A, pick a smaller company. If you're into high-tech features and longer, easily accessible hours, bigger companies may be a better bet.
You pay premiums for a reason. If disaster strikes, your insurance company should be ready to leap into action to make things right. But they can’t do that if they’re broke.
Luckily, insurance companies are heavily regulated and rarely go under. There are clear warning signs for the bad eggs, too, and our independent agents know how to spot them.
What to look for: A.M. Best provides industry-standard ratings for financial stability and has a super-easy search engine that will show you what you need about a carrier. Many insurance carriers also prominently display their ratings on their websites. Anything A- and above is okay. Lower than that, buyer beware.
Company Age and History
With insurance, longer typically is better. That’s why older companies are usually more trustworthy than the new kids on the block. That said, upstart new companies are offering higher-tech solutions, intriguing discounts and exciting customer service. It all depends on what’s important to you—besides the licorice.
What to look for: Older companies will usually state their age clearly on their websites—they know it’s a selling point. Younger ones might try to hide it. If a snazzy new start-up—let’s say, one from 2010 or later—catches your eye, be sure to triple-check their stability before signing on.
Connections to Your Community
Insurance companies usually have niches. That niche specialty could be that they only serve retired police officers, or that they’re really into insuring family farms. A niche company supports a community you love, and the community holds the insurance company accountable.
What to look for: If a community-based company is important to you, ask around. Search “umbrella insurance” + “your hometown” online. If you’re a veteran, many insurance companies cater just to you and may offer discounts.
The Awesome Benefits of an Independent Insurance Agent
Your time is valuable. So why put all the hard work on yourself? Our independent insurance agents stay on top of trends in the industry so you don’t have to. That means they’ll help you find the right coverage for you at the right price.
They’re not just there at the beginning, either. If you get in a jam and need to make a claim, they’ll help you meet deadlines and ensure you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to. And hey, now you’ll always have that umbrella with you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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