What to Look for in a Homeowners Insurance Company

| December 16, 2008

When you insure your home, don’t let premium be the one and only determining factor when choosing an insurance company. There are other important factors to consider. While any one of the factors below may not be enough to make you to leave one homeowners insurance company for another, they are things that can help you to make a decision when considering two very similar insurance quotes.

State Licensing

Is the insurance company licensed to do business in your state? This is not so much of a problem for homeowners who use the local broker down the street. It does become a concern when homeowners search for insurance over the internet.

Most insurance companies offer online quotes which make it much easier for customers to shop, but it adds another layer of homework. YoFinancial Stabilityu must check with your state’s Insurance Department to ensure the insurance company is legally licensed to do business in your home’s state.

Financial Stability

Check the insurance company’s financial stability. Rating agencies such as Moody’s and AM Best track and rate the economic stability of financial institutions such banks and insurance companies. When seeking homeowners insurance, ask the insurance agent for the Moody’s or AM Best rating. This will help you to determine if the insurance company will be around to pay your claim if one should arise.

Level of Insurance Comfort

Determine whether you’re more comfortable with a call center type of service with automated responses or person to person service. Going to a small local insurance agent will provide the one on one personal service that some homeowners look for when buying insurance. Others are satisfied with the less personal call center or digital voice numbering system whereby selecting a number will provide the necessary automated services.

Closely related to phone comfort is your comfort level with getting information and answers via the internet. Most insurance companies now offer online services for things such as ordering certificates of insurance, renewing
homeowner insurancecoverage, paying premiums, reporting claims or making modification to coverage. While most insurance companies try to walk users through the website and attempt to provide an intuitive user interface, sometimes the insurance company’s website does not accomplish the “ease of use” task. This is something to keep in mind when choosing an insurance company.

Processing Insurance Claims

Ask about claims adjustor availability. Most policyholders don’t think about the claims process when shopping for homeowners insurance, but an important aspect to insurance is being able to report, process and close claims fairly and quickly. One of the items to question is whether or not the insurance company uses in-house or independent claims adjustors.

While a qualified adjustor can adjust any claim, when a grey area arises, an in-house adjustor may be better able to resolve the issue on the spot because they are more familiar with the inner workings of their own insurance company. This is not a major factor when deciding which company to select, but it is something to consider.

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Category: Homeowners

About the Author ()

Felicia A. Williams is a wife, mother, freelance writer and owner of Tidbits and Stuff.

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