State Commissioner on Insurance
One great source of information, when faced with countless choices in insurance providers, would be your state’s commission or department regulating insurance. The commissioner’s site can provide not just a list of potential providers for car insurance but also detailed information on the performance of a company, from their shares of premiums to customer satisfaction scores.
One key element that you should be looking out for is the consumer complaint ratio. This rate is the measure of the number of complaints filed against a company compared to the number of shared premiums offered within a certain time period. In most cases, the complaint ratio is based on 1000 insurance claims. It is not enough that a company is well established or has a big name within the market. Though this usually translates to good service, it does not necessarily apply in every situation. One of the best guidelines that consumers can base their choice on is the complaint ratio.
In coming up with the company, it is understandable that a consumer first comes up with a top list based on the most affordable quotes. A smart consumer should also make a comparative second list that ranks the companies on the best score with the complaint ratio. The company that ranks highest in both lists should logically be your priority choice.
Complaint ratios may not be readily available in some states for certain companies. However, you may be able to find ratios for a prospective company in other state sites. In practice, a company’s performance can vary for each state but does not necessarily imply that the company’s practices within your state are less than desirable. Nevertheless, a company that shows poor performance in various states should generally be avoided.
Apart from the complaint ratios, commission websites may also offer basic comparison surveys on the insurance rates of companies. Though the data provided may be less detailed compared to the rates obtained from online quote sites, this basic information can provide consumers with a general idea of how their financial status fares against a company’s car insurance rates.
Company Financial Ratings
The financial strength ratings of a prospective company are another guideline that can determine your final choice. Online resources like A.M. Best provide information on this matter. These resources publish the financial strength ratings of a majority of the insurance providers within the country. These ratings give consumers a basic picture of a company’s ability to pay out a claim. However, this is merely a financial statistic and in no way measures the overall performance of a company.
For private company references, A.M. Best and Standard & Poor provide a rating system in financial strength for most providers. The highest rating is A++ and the lowest is D. Companies that have an E rating indicate that the company may be undergoing regulatory action to resolve certain issues. Those categorized in F are within liquidation while S stands for suspension. For Standard & Poor’s ratings, the best companies are those with an AAA rating. CC is the lowest rating while those in R are under regulatory action.
Generally, the well-established and reported best car insurance companies including GEICO, State Farm, and Good2go Auto Insurance, just to mention a few, are the safest choice for most consumers. If you choose to go for a less popular insurance provider, a hefty amount of time for research into the company should be undertaken. Looking up online references from state and private information providers should be taken into consideration in this case.
Working with an Agent
The best auto insurance companies these days may also vary in terms of how consumers purchase and update their policies. While it has traditionally been done through the representing agent, some established insurance providers allow for direct purchase through phone contact with a customer service representative or through online queries. However, a majority of the well-known insurance providers still work through a network of representing agents. Consumers should be aware that there are two general types of insurance agents. There are agents who directly represent a single insurance company. The independent type of agent, however, represents more than one company. Independent brokers are not just solely interested in selling insurance from a single company but can provide consumers with more options.
It is best to have the assistance of an insurance agent in choosing your policy. Most experts would recommend the aid of an independent agent over direct providers since personal agents can help to identify unfavorable conditions with a company’s policy. Keeping a positive working relationship with an independent agent can make a big difference in choosing the right policy for your situation. While references from known acquaintances, friends, and family can be helpful in choosing a reputable insurance agent, looking up online resources for certified agents may also help in choosing the best agent you can work with.
Not Having Insurance
You may be wondering why you need to have car insurance. It is in fact the law and necessary to hold some sort of motor insurance before you drive off in your car. This is so you are not financially ruined if you were to be involved in some form of road traffic accident. If the worst was to happen and you were to crash your car into someone then this will be extremely expensive, and you may never recover from it. Motor insurance is simply there to protect you and your wallet, so you may think it is an unnecessary expense each month but it won’t be when you need it. If you are involved in a crash and you or the other person decide to make a claim then you may also need the advice and assistance from a car accident lawyer. They will handle your claim and help you receive the best outcome. Make sure you check reviews before hiring a lawyer to work your case, the last thing you want is someone who isn’t good at their job.
By following these suggestions, a consumer troubled with the whole claims process in the past may find that these guidelines can make a difference in smoothing out the police selection process.