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How To Find A Reliable Auto Insurance Company
When you think about shopping for car insurance, you probably think about looking for companies that offer the exact coverage you need at affordable rates.
Getting cheap car insurance, however, is not everything. One important factor you should consider when choosing a car insurance company is that company's reliability. As much as you need a reliable car, you also need reliable car insurance.
It is important to be confident that the company from whom you purchase your car insurance policy will be able to provide the services you pay for.
Look for Licensed Car Insurance Companies
In order to sell auto insurance in your state, a company must be licensed in your state.
It's quick and easy to find out which car insurance providers are licensed in your state. Just visit your state’s department of insurance website to find a list. You can also find your state's minimum insurance requirements.
Research Each Car Insurance Provider's Ratings
Several consumer reporting groups and business rating organizations provide detailed ratings of various auto insurance companies.
As you research insurance providers, note their ratings for the following factors:
- Coverage options.
- Claims processes.
- Overall customer experiences and satisfaction.
- Financial strength.
The higher a company is rated for the above factors, the more likely they will be highly reliable.
Good sources for information regarding insurance companies include:
Find Out What Others Say About the Companies
While researching how independent companies rate a particular car insurance provider is helpful, you may also find it helpful to learn what individuals say about the company.
To get a sense of the company's reputation, start by:
- Talking to trusted people around you:
- Talking to people who've done other types of business with the company, such as auto body shop managers.
- Reading individual reviews online.
Talking to people you trust and reading reviews will go a long way towards ensuring you find a reliable car insurance company.
Review Valid Consumer Complaint Ratios
At its most basic definition a valid consumer complaint ratio is the number of valid complaints about an insurance company submitted to the state in relation to how many policies that company has written in that state.
Most state departments of insurance make available reports that feature car insurance companies' complaint ratios for the previous year to help consumers find reliable auto insurance. Companies with higher complaint ratios tend to be less reliable than companies with very low complaint ratios.
Evaluate Your Own Experience
Of course, you are one of your best resources. If you already have a policy with an insurance company, you probably already have a lot of information about that company's reliability.
Consider your experience with the following:
- How upfront the company was regarding discounts for which you were eligible.
- How the company handled any auto insurance claims you filed or claims that were filed against you.
- How your agent or a company representative treated you during any visits or phone calls.
It's best to do this evaluation about a month or so before it's time to renew your auto insurance policy―giving yourself that window of time helps make sure you'll be able to switch car insurance providers without any lapses in coverage if you find you're not happy with the one you chose.
Remember, if you have been with the same car insurance company for a few years, now is a good time to do some shopping. Get multiple car insurance quotes and you may find that another reliable car insurance company will offer you better car insurance rates.