6 things to look for in an insurance carrier

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6 things to look for in an insurance carrier

Thanks to the internet, buying insurance is easier than ever. You can hop online and compare policies in your pajamas. You no longer have to make an appointment with an agent or speak to a human if you don’t want to. You can file claims online, too.

But with all the convenience the web has created, it’s also ushered in a scenario where there is almost too much choice. An insurance agent in the 1980s might have showed you a few policies or maybe just one. These days, you might have dozens of insurers competing for your business.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your insurance options, it helps to have some criteria to weed out the bad from the good. Here are six factors to look for in any firm you’re considering:

1. Solid ratings

Insurance companies are rated on the quality of their offerings, their financial strength, customer service and other factors. Before you buy an insurance policy from any company, you should see how they’re rated across the board.

J.D. Power insurance ratings are a trusted source for this information. Visit their website to see how companies compare before you buy a policy, whether it’s auto insurance, health insurance, homeowners insurance or life insurance.

2. Quality of customer service

Insurance companies may be online these days, but they should still have quality customer service. You should be able to pick up the phone and talk to a human being if you have a problem. It also helps to find a firm with a chat feature or an interactive customer service portal.

Depending on the type of insurance you’re buying, you may want to purchase from a company that offers a brick-and-mortar office in your area.

Before you purchase an insurance policy, read reviews that detail common customer service inquiries and check whether the company has the type of customer service you expect.

3. Mostly good reviews

One of the best ways to gauge the quality of an insurance company is to read reviews written by customers. These reviews usually offer a taste of the experiences customers have had, good or bad.

Ideally, you’ll buy insurance from a company that has mostly good reviews. A few bad reviews shouldn’t scare you off, but a company with mostly bad reviews should set off alarm bells.

4. Affordable premiums

You’ll want to look for an insurance company that offers affordable premiums. You want a quality insurance policy, but you don’t want to overpay.

The best way to make sure you’re getting a good price is to shop around with multiple insurers online. With Policygenius, for example, you can enter your information once and get quotes from different companies all in one spot. This helps you avoid filling out applications with multiple companies and helps save you time.

5. Multi-policy discounts

If you have more than one type of insurance to buy, you might want to look for a company that offers multi-policy discounts. By bundling your auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance and other policies with one insurer, you may score a discount.

When you bundle, however, you should be aware of certain pitfalls. You don’t want bundling to result in buying policies you don’t need or policies that don’t carry policy limits tailored to your needs. You also want to avoid a situation where bundling prevents you from shopping around in the future because having all your policies in one place is too convenient.

Make sure you’re only bundling because it benefits you. (See when you should and shouldn’t bundle your insurance here.)

6. Convenience

Buying insurance online is convenient, but does your insurance company make owning a policy an easy proposition? Insurance companies should make insuring your home, auto or life easy and convenient.

While there are lots of ways to make insurance more convenient, you should look for things like online chat features with customer service, online bill pay and emailed monthly statements, as well as a simple way to file claims online.

The bottom line

The internet has made buying insurance much easier. You can buy insurance in your birthday suit while eating ice cream and no one will know.

Still, more competition in the insurance space can be overwhelming. Before you buy a policy, make sure to learn all you can about a company’s background, insurance offerings and reputation with its current customers.

A little research can go a long way to help you gain peace of mind.

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