Shopping for homeowners insurance can be an overwhelming prospect. There are many companies to choose from and each one offers various incentives to gain your business. It’s important to remember that although your bank may require you to purchase insurance for your home, you are not required to purchase it from them or from your mortgage lender. Shopping around enables you to obtain the best price and the best service for this vital purchase.
The first variable to consider as you are comparing insurance companies is the licensing status of a particular provider. Not all companies that you find online will be licensed to operate in your state; you should always check with your state insurance department before spending time and effort on researching a particular company.
The second step in your research process is to make a list detailing the coverage you will need. This ensures that when you get quotes from various companies, they will be based on equivalent information enabling you to make accurate comparisons. Consider all variables that could affect your premium such as deductibles, home security measures and additions or custom features that may have been added to your home. A home inventory could be valuable in this process as well, especially if you have many high value items such as jewelry or other assets.
Once you have your list, you are ready to begin getting price quotes. You should research at least three companies in order to gain a perspective on what is available before you choose a company to look at in depth. Check with the company to determine whether they offer special discounts for new homes, customer loyalty, or updated plumbing and electrical systems. Prices and discounts can vary widely from provider to provider and you should look into various companies, agencies, and internet options before making a decision. Remember that the monthly premium is not the only factor to consider. Check into how much coverage you are receiving for that monthly premium as well.
The next consideration in the process is the financial well-being of the company. Independent rating agencies can tell you whether the company is on solid financial ground and whether it is likely to be stable over time. This could protect you from unnecessary problems down the road. Ideally, you should choose a company that has a proven track record and sound financial projections for the future.
Finally, as you make your decision on a homeowners insurance provider, you should consider service and customer satisfaction. Look online for customer reviews and testimonials regarding the company and talk to people you know who have purchased insurance there. You’ll want to determine the company’s promptness and helpfulness when filing a claim, how easy they are to contact, and their efficiency and fair handling of issues. Choose a company that responds quickly to inquiries and claims information and that seems reasonable and trustworthy to work with. Online resources can also help you discover background information regarding the company’s overall reputation. If anything you discover raises a concern, check with the state insurance department to find out how many customer complaints have been filed against the company. Sometimes you may need to go with your instincts at this stage. If you feel comfortable with how the company treats you and communicates with you, then you may have found the best provider for your policy. However, feelings of frustration or confusion at the end of the phone call may be a sign to look elsewhere. Most claims are filed during times of crisis when you already have your hands full; you don’t need an insurance company that causes you additional stress as you go through the claims process.
Choosing a homeowners insurance provider may seem like an overwhelming process, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you spend some initial time in preparation before you begin calling around, you’ll make the process quicker and easier for you as well as providing the company with the information they need to give you an accurate quote. Don’t assume that your bank provides you with the best policy. There are many companies out there vying for your business and you should take advantage of the competition in order to find the company that works best for you.