Step 1: Gather informationCheck with organizations that report on insurance companies
Good sources of information about insurance companies
Two types of organizations put information on their web sites to help people make good buying decisions. One type of organization reports on customer satisfaction; the other reports on financial stability.
Another good source of information is businesses that work with insurance companies on a regular basis.
Where to find info about customer satisfaction
Some websites rate insurance companies on customer satisfaction. They build ratings in one of two ways: (1) by contacting policy-holders and asking them questions or (2) by waiting for policy holders to contact them with questions or complaints.
On these websites, you can find information about:
- Customer service
- Speed of response
- Types of policies
- How they pay claims
- Company web sites
- Where the agent is licensed
If a site includes only information from the policy-holders that contact the organization, it doesn’t mean that mean that all or even many of a company’s policy-holders are unhappy. Even the best of insurance companies has some unhappy customers.
Here are links to websites that provide information about customer satisfaction:
Talk to businesses that work with insurance companies
There are businesses that work with insurance companies all the time. Ask them which insurance companies they recommend. Ask them, “Which insurance company insures your family?”
- Auto body shops: When a policy-holder is in an car accident, the auto body shop that repairs the car works with his insurance company. The insurance company tells the body shop what kind of labor and parts the policy will pay for.
- Restoration companies: When catastrophe hits a building, insurance companies call on restoration companies to repair the damage. Some restoration companies do it all — smoke and odor removal, painting, carpet cleaning, water extraction, graffiti removal, upholstery cleaning, etc. Other companies specialize in a service, such as carpet cleaning.
- Pharmacies: If you are shopping for health insurance, ask your pharmacist which insurance companies are good to work with.
Find the best insurance company and agent for you
Info about an insurance company’s financial stability
If an insurance company is not financially healthy, it will not be able to pay the claims its policies promise to pay.
Every time an insurance company is goes out of business, policyholders find themselves with very serious problems. They lose the money they have paid for their coverage. If they have a claim that has not yet been settled, their claim might not ever be settled. And now they have to find another insurance company.
There are organizations that keep track of the financial health of insurance companies. They rate companies on their financial strength. The stronger a company’s financial rating, the stronger its ability to keep its promises to its policy holders.
Most of these reports are about insurance companies, not about insurance agencies or agents. The web sites that list agencies usually charge agencies a fee to be included. If you cannot find an insurance agency you are looking for on a web site, it does not mean that it is not a good agency. It might mean only that the agency chooses not to pay for a listing.
Here are links to websites that provide information about insurance companies’ financial health: