State Commissioner for Insurance
A great source of information on the myriad of choices with insurers would be your state’s commission or department that governs the insurance. On the website of the agent, you can find not only a list of potential car insurance providers, but also detailed information about a company’s performance, from their premium shares to customer satisfaction.
A key element to look out for is the consumer complaint rate. This rate is a measure of the number of complaints filed against a company compared to the number of joint rewards offered over a given period of time. In most cases, the complaint rate is based on 1,000 insurance claims. It is not enough that a company is well established or has a big name in the market. While this usually results in good service, it doesn’t necessarily apply in every situation. One of the best guidelines that consumers can rely on in making their choice is the complaint rate.
It is understandable that in developing the business a consumer would first create a top list based on the cheapest deals. A smart consumer should also compile a comparative second list that gives the highest rating to the complaint rate companies. The company that ranks highest on both lists should logically be your first choice.
In some states, complaint rates may not be readily available for certain companies. However, you may be able to find metrics for a prospect in other government locations. In practice, a company’s performance may be different for each state, but it does not necessarily mean that the company’s practices are less than desirable in your state. Still, a company that is performing poorly in different states should generally be avoided.
In addition to complaint rates, commission websites may also offer basic comparative surveys of company insurance rates. Although the data provided may be less detailed compared to the rates obtained on online listing sites, this basic information can give consumers a general idea of how their financial situation compares to a company’s auto insurance rates.
Company financial ratings
A prospect’s financial strength ratings are another guideline that can guide your final decision. Online resources like AM Best provide information on this topic. These resources publish the financial strength ratings of a majority of insurers in the country. These ratings give consumers a basic picture of a company’s ability to pay out a claim. However, this is just a financial statistic and in no way measures a company’s overall performance.
For references from private companies, AM Best and Standard & Poor offer a rating system for financial strength for most providers. The highest rating is A ++ and the lowest is D. Companies with an E rating indicate that the company may be taking regulatory action to resolve certain issues. Those categorized in F are in 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 subject to regulatory measures.
In general, the best established and reported top auto insurance companies are GEICO, State Farm, and Good2go car insuranceto name a few, are the safest choices for most consumers. If you decide to go with a less popular insurer, a lot of time should be spent researching the company. In this case, looking for online references from government and private information providers should be considered.
Working with an Agent
The best auto insurance companies these days can also differ in how consumers buy and upgrade their policies. While this has traditionally been done through the agent, some established insurers allow direct purchase through telephone contact with a customer service representative or through online inquiries. However, a majority of the well-known insurers still work through a network of agents. Consumers should be aware that there are two general types of insurance agent. There are agents who directly represent a single insurance company. However, the independent agent type represents more than one company. In addition to being interested in selling insurance from a single company, independent brokers can offer consumers more options.
It is best to have the assistance of an insurance agent in choosing your policy. Most experts would recommend the help of an independent agent over direct vendors, as personal agents can help identify adverse conditions with a company’s policies. Maintaining a positive relationship with an independent agent can make a huge difference in choosing the right policy for your situation. While references from well-known acquaintances, friends, and family members can help you choose a reputable insurance agent, finding online resources for certified agents can also help you choose the best agent to work with.
If a consumer follows these suggestions and has been through the entire application process in the past, they may find that these guidelines can make a difference in smoothing out the police selection process.