It is the goal of every home insurance shopper to receive a few quotes and pick the one that offers the most coverage for an affordable price. But choosing the right home insurance company can be difficult. Following are a few tips to help make this important decision:
First Things First – Can They Pay?
A home insurance company that may not have the means to pay your covered claim is like a trampoline with no springs. While predicting the future is impossible, increasing your odds of getting a covered claim paid does not have to be. This starts with checking the financial stability of the insurance companies competing for your business.
Before committing to a policy, ask your home insurance agent about the insurance company’s financial strength. This usually consists of a letter grade combined with a number (i.e., A 9). A company with higher grades and scores is strongly recommended. For more information about insurance company solvency, contact your state insurance department.
Don’t Skimp on Coverage!
Home insurance companies have different ways of competing for your business. Some offer discounts or world-class service, and some offer both. Others may find ways to limit, reduce or even eliminate important coverages for a more attractive premium.
When reviewing a policy quote be sure the coverage is adequate. Watch for limits that seem low, deductibles that seem high and an absence of a limit for important coverage(s), such a Medical Payments.
Ask About the Future
Make it clear to your insurance agent or home insurance company that your goal is a long-term relationship; ideally theirs will be the same. Ask the company or agent to explain to you any reason(s) that may interfere with this goal. Some may be obvious (i.e., losses piling up) and some not-so (i.e., the home insurance company no longer wants to sell insurance in your state).
Respond to Response
Remember, the home insurance company that you choose to insure your home is the same home insurance company you will rely on at the time of the claim. Don’t underestimate the importance of feeling comfortable with the people dealing with your policy at the time of purchase.
Think about all pre-purchase communications (i.e., returned phone calls, e-mails, etc.). Was the communication prompt? Did the home insurance company representative speak to you in terms you could understand? Did he or she make it clear who you would be dealing with if a claim were to occur? Negative marks in any of these areas may foreshadow a future communication problem—not something you want to encounter when filing a claim.
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