In the competitive environment of auto insurance, consumers are bombarded with clever ads and promises of competitive prices and excellent service. While these campaigns may catch our attention, the fundamental question remains: What should you expect from your auto insurance company?
Motorists have different needs, so you’ll have to do your homework. And if you’re patient, you’ll not only save money, but have the peace of mind that comes from having sufficient coverage.
Check The Company’s Licenses
As a rule, you should only purchase insurance from a provider that licensed to sell insurance in your location. This rule applies especially if you purchase auto insurance online. While this might seem a simple thing to overlook, it could create problems later on. For instance, if you have problems getting a claim fulfilled, the local governing body in your area will only intervene if the insurer is licensed locally.
Once you’ve identified the insurance providers in your region, your next step should be to shop around to get the best deal. Some consumers make price the most influential factor in their choice of providers. Since there are numerous factors that influence price, you need to outline what you need and ask 4-5 providers to submit quotes based on those specific needs. You can go to direct companies, independent agents, or use comparison sites like InsuranceTown.com to compare policies in one place.
Compare apples to apples when you request and compare quotes. This means that you should compare the same levels of coverage from all providers wherever possible. While a lower quote might seem more attractive, it might not have the same level of coverage as a more expensive quote.
The service the company provides is crucial especially if you ever need to file a claim. Your questions, concerns and claims must be handled efficiently, fairly and in the fastest possible time. But how do you know what type of service you’ll receive from the company before you become a paying customer? Pay close attention to the way they manage your questions and provide the quote in your initial discussions with them. The representatives should be forthcoming with information and respond to all your questions in a timely manner.
It’s not a good sign if the sales representative is more concerned with making the sale than educating you on the right coverage for your needs. Talk with other customers, look for complaints at the Better Business Bureau or similar company and read online reviews. The company should have a 24-hour hotline and be easy to reach when you have questions.
Finally, an insurance company is only as strong as its ability to pay on a filed claim. Use an independent agency to investigate the financial strength of the insurance company especially if you’re choosing a smaller agency. Don’t depend solely on what the insurer says about the financial ratings. Some companies will point publish the most favorable ratings only and leave out the ones that are not flattering.
Making Your Decision
Choosing an insurance provider is perhaps more complicated than you realized. But if you take your time and research your options, you’ll choose the right company with complete confidence that you’ll get the coverage you need to keep your family safe.