In a previous blog, we discussed how to find the right insurance agent, but this time we decided to discuss insurance companies and how to know if they are reputable.
There are thousands of insurance carriers in the United Sates -some big, some small- how do you know which company is the best for carrying your claim, and at what cost? With these things in mind, we put together a recipe for due diligence to help you feel secure in your decision towards an insurance policy.
When you’re seeking the right insurance policy, whether it’s for commercial business, or for your personal home, auto, life and health, don’t just look at price. Look at the insurance company and evaluate whether the company is reputable for serving your policy’s claims
Here’s a checklist for things you must consider in an insurance company:
#1: Check the insurance company’s financial strength
You can look up any insurance company using A.M. Best, which requires a free membership login to access the information. This will give you the insurance carrier’s industry rating based on its size and give you an idea of the the company’s financial health.
Keep in mind that the biggest company isn’t always the best company. Understand a company’s payability and financial strength.
#2: Check for proper state licensing, claims and complaints
Check with the South Carolina Department of Insurance (DOI) website to verify whether or not the company is licensed here in South Carolina. This is just another way to check the validity of the company and how long they’ve been in business.
You can also check the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) or JD Power and Associates for any complaints that might have been made against the company, as well as their claims payments history, and overall customer satisfaction in communication and service.
#3: Consider a company’s claims process
Check with JD Power and Associates for overall customer satisfaction in a company’s claims process. But also contact the company and ask them the process for filing claims and the steps involved in resolving a claim.
Don’t be afraid to ask how they manage a claim and how they arrive at an award for a claim. It may be a lengthy and tedious process, but if you have complex coverage needs for your unique situation, these questions will help you choose which carrier will ultimately help you at the time of need.
#4: Work with an independent agent who has relatable experiences with various carriers
When you work with a captive agent (an agent who works for an insurance company), you’ll only get the perspective of one company. A good insurance advisor is one who openly looks out for your best interest, and uses their experience and their knowledge of their relationships with various companies to help guide you through the decision-making process.
Keep in mind that big insurance carriers who offer a big, strong brand, don’t necessarily mean they are the best insurance carrier for your unique needs. -Then again, they may very well be the best. The point is, go the extra mile and do your due diligence to find the policy that works for you, and don’t hesitate to discuss your specific needs with your independent insurance agent who can help you weed out what’s absolutely necessary to fit your lifestyle, budget, or business needs.