There are thousands of insurance carriers in the United Sates. According to the Insurance Information Institute, “In 2019 there were 5,965 insurance companies in the U.S. (including territories), according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners with total…net premiums at $1.32 trillion.” With so many options, how do you know which insurance company will be beneficial for you and your family?
When you’re seeking the right insurance policy, whether it’s for a commercial business, your personal property, health or life, look beyond just the price. You should evaluate whether the company is reputable for serving your policy’s claims.
Better Business Bureau encourages consumers to consider the following tips when buying any kind of insurance.
- What do you need? Insurance needs vary from person to person and family to family, so you need to find the company and policy that are right for you. The first step is determining how much coverage you need for the type of insurance you are considering.
- Do Your Research. Ask friends and family for information on what insurance companies they use. Compare multiple companies to see what they offer and how much it costs. Check the insurance regulations of your State Insurance Commission Office to ensure the companies you are considering are licensed properly. To look up your State Insurance Commissioner go to National Association of Insurance Commissioners website. Check BBB.org to see the business profiles with complaints and reviews for the businesses you are considering. Find out which companies are accredited. There are also insurance ratings services you can consult to learn more about the history and strength of the companies.
- Narrow it down to a few from your research. Choose three businesses and get quotes from them. Some websites will let you compare rates side-by-side. Remember that the lowest price may not be the best deal. See how different deductibles affect the price and decide what works for you. Make sure the final cost reflects the chosen amount of coverage and benefits. You should also consider the agency’s accessibility and the process for filing claims when making a decision.
- Who will you buy from? Consumers can buy insurance directly from an insurance company or work with an agent. Agents can be captive or independent. Captive agents represent one specific insurance company. They will have an in-depth knowledge of that company’s products but cannot help you with any other company’s offerings. Independent agents or brokers represent multiple insurance companies. They may be better able to find you the best policy from a range of companies but may not have as much information on each product.
- Ask About Discounts. When looking for more than one type of insurance policy, ask if you can get a package to save money. Even when different types of insurance are sold together, make sure you understand all the details for each policy including premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and limits. You should also ask about discounts for good driving records, good health, good grades, or other factors related to the type of insurance you are buying.
- Read Carefully. An insurance policy is a legal document. Read it carefully. If there is anything confusing, have the agent or company explain it until you understand. Make sure there are no blanks left in the policy and save copies of all paperwork for future reference. After the insurance is purchased, review the policy annually to ensure everything is still accurate and the policy is continuing to provide the necessary coverage.
For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry, and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses and charities, visit BBB.org.