Buying auto insurance is one of the most important decisions you can make. Generally, consumers seek car insurance that is comprehensive and low-cost. But you have to make sure that the auto insurance is offered from a reliable company. A reliable company has several qualities including, exceptional customer service, deals with claims expeditiously, and has a good credit rating. These are some steps you can take in choosing the right insurance company:
Research the State’s Department of Insurance Web site
Most consumers are not familiar that their state has a department of insurance. These departments have websites, and make public ‘consumer complaint ratios’ for all insurance companies that sell policies in the state.
It is advisable that consumers use complaint ratios to screen prospective auto insurance companies.
Call various insurance
companies to get a list of the most competitive premium quotes. The next step is to write down the quotes and the complaint ratios in adjacent columns corresponding to each insurance company. A low consumer complaint ratio means that the insurer has a complaint share that is less than their market share. Herein, compare the lists, the insurance companies that rank best on both lists merit the closest scrutiny.
If you are unable to locate the complaint ratios for your state, you can seek out the ratios in other states. For example, Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation in their Annual Report publishes the consumer complaint ratios. Heller recommends examining the complaint ratios published by other states. But keep in mind that an insurance company’s performance can vary from state to state, hence pay attention to general trends.
Also, insurance department websites offer basic rate comparison surveys. Herein, this can give you a close approximation of auto quote rates without you going to each car insurance company’s site and typing in all of your personal information to get a quote.
J.D. Power Evaluations
J.D. Power collects data from auto policyholders nationally and rates them according to price, claims handling, coverage options, satisfaction with company representatives and the overall experience. The rating company is known for their objective analysis of data in helping consumers make more informed decisions.
Review Financial Strength Ratings
Consider in your decision, the ratings of rating agencies such as, A.M. Best, Moody’s, or Standard & Poor's. These companies rate the financial strength of insurance companies which determines an insurers’ ability to pay out a claim.
The major insurance carriers should be a safe bet; for you, viewing the ratings is an exercise in formality, if you are considering only a big carrier.
Some Popular Auto Insurance Companies:
- GMAC Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm
- The General
- The Hartford
- 21st Centur
Today’s consumers have a wealth of information available to them which can help discern the merits of services and products. The above insights will guide you in deciding the right insurance company to help meet your auto insurance needs.