Researching Insurance Companies
The best way to research insurance companies and agents is to use the Internet by checking out sites like InsureMe.com. You can also read up on insurance company policies at their websites. Once you obtain some preliminary information from either InsureMe.com or the insurer’s website, decide what is important to you and what you want to cover in case the unthinkable happens. If you use InsureMe.com, you can get a lot of information before you have to call the company and speak to a representative. It makes your life a little simpler without having to deal with agents until you’re ready.
How to Evaluate Insurance Companies
There are several insurance websites online that make it fast and easy to evaluate the financial stability of an insurance company and to compare policies from various companies at a glance.
Again, my personal favorite company to use to evaluate insurance companies and their prices is InsureMe.com. What I like about them is that you can get all the information you need without having to deal with an agent until you’re ready, and the companies that participate in the InsureMe.com concept are highly rated, top insurance companies. That really makes a big difference.
- A. M. Best: Evaluate and compare insurance companies’ relative financial strength based on several criteria at www.ambest.com.
- EHealthInsurance.com: Compare and buy health insurance policies at ehealthinsurance.
- Insureme.com: Compare and buy auto, life, health, and homeowner’s policies at insureme.
Researching Insurance Agents
After you’ve used InsureMe.com or another Internet site to get the best possible apples-to-apples quotes, it’s time to check out the agents. The best way to research insurance agents is to consult the directory on the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America website (www.iiaba.net). To evaluate an existing or potential agent, interview the agent over the phone or in person to determine his or her qualifications. Be sure to gather information about:
- Experience: The agent should be licensed and have at least five years of experience selling insurance. Nothing can take the place of experience.
- Past employers: Previous employers should include reputable nationwide insurance companies. Many agents “hop around” to different employers until they find one that they like and respect.
- Specialties: If you need a specific type of insurance, make sure the agent specializes in it, or at least has relevant experience.
- Claim involvement: The agent should be available to assist you during the claims process, not just when buying your policies. Make sure the agent doesn’t sell and move on.
If an agent “doesn’t have time,” to speak with you on these issues, move on. They probably won’t “have the time” to help you make future decisions or help you in the event of a claim.
Insurance is designed to protect yourself or your property from financial obligations that result from damage, injury, loss of life, and so on. Make sure you’re getting the best agent, the best policy, the best company and the best price you can afford.