Home insurance is a necessity for everyone, regardless of your income. Canadian law requires that everyone purchase a Homeowner’s insurance, even if the cover is only basic.
So where do you start looking for the right Insurance Company? Here are a few tips:
1. Word of Mouth: You may have already heard of a few from friends and family members of good Insurers they’re engaged with. Often this is one of the easiest and quickest ways to get inside information about an insurance company.
Find out if your friend or relative has made any claims, what they thought of the company’s claims service, what rates and discounts they can offer, and whether there are referral discounts to be gained.
2. Direct to company: There is always an advantage if you purchase your insurance directly from an Insurance company rather than through an insurance agent. Since the agent takes a commission from your premiums to get you a good insurance package, you pay more for relatively the same package. Eliminating the middleman, will help you lower your costs.
3. Insurer Ratings: all insurance providers carry a rating from Insurance regulators in each state. Any complaints about service are also tracked and displayed online at the state regulator’s website or the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ searchable database. You can also find out a lot by talking to your local insurance regulation service. In some cases, example, when you live in a hurricane zone or another high risk area, there will be only one state sponsored insurer. Nonetheless, check again in a year or two, and you’re sure to find one or more Home Insurers lined up.
The Financial stability or health of the Insurance company is also of great importance. You can find this information from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investor Service or the Weiss Rating. Each gives different rating for the insurance company. However, financial stability alone does not indicate great service, so look at service offerings and the benefits you gain with each company before purchasing.
4. Check the lesser known: Some insurance companies never spend on advertising. This implies that they use other means to reach customers such as phone, email or social media. So check your email and pay attention to the next telemarketing phone call you receive. Such companies pass their savings on to you by not including the cost of advertising in your insurance premiums.
On the other hand you can go ahead and find these lesser known companies by searching online at free websites such as Insure.com or your local state insurance regulator for good insurance companies in your area.
5. Making the choice: Ultimately, ensure that you choose an Insurer that offers great value and great service. One that cannot offer you both is not a great choice. But if you have to choose between value and service quality, opt for service quality, since you wouldn’t want to be left out in the cold when you do need a claim to come through. Hence, check the Insurer’s claims turn-around time.
By Anas Jafri