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Avoiding Disaster: Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Company
A great deal is at stake when choosing an auto insurancecarrier. In addition to the financial considerations,there are issues such as reliability, quality of service,and integrity. Luckily, there are certain steps you canfollow to ensure that you select an auto insurance companythat will meet your needs.
When choosing an insurance carrier, reputation carries agreat deal of weight. For instance, Allstate, Nationwide,and State Farm are well-known companies that have managedto hold onto some clients for years. For additionalguidance, you can consult your state's department ofinsurance website. The website might offer consumercomplaint ratios which indicate exactly how many complaintsan auto insurance company has received for every 1,000claims filed. This information can help you to betterevaluate companies so that you have some idea how theircustomer service rates. You can then compare the list ofcompanies with low complaint ratios with the list ofcompanies with low premiums and see if you can come up withany matches. Those companies that combine stellar customerservice with low rates offer you the best deal for yourmoney.
If for some reason you cannot locate complaint ratios foryour state, try looking at the complaint ratios for otherstates. While an insurance company's operations may varyfrom state to state, if a company posts a high complaintratio in a number of states, you should consider that to bea warning sign. It is best to simply cross off your listany insurance company with consistently high complaintratios.
Another technique you can use when evaluating insurancecarriers is to determine which insurers body shops in yourarea recommend. Because body shop managers must deal witha number of insurance adjusters, they can provide you withan inside look at insurance companies. The managers willknow, for instance, which companies offer the mostconvenient claims procedures. They'll also know whichcompanies are particularly slow in processing claims.
Another important source of information is J.D. Power andAssociates, which rates insurance companies in terms ofvariety of coverage, rates, claims processes, and customerservice. In recent years, Amica and Erie have posted thebest rankings with J.D. Power. These two companies haveearned raves for finding ways to cover claims, when at allpossible. You might also want to consider an insurer'sfinancial strength by checking out ratings from A.M. Bestand Standard and Poor's. These ratings determine aninsurance company's ability to pay claims. Still, youshould be aware of the fact that most well-known carriersare considered to be financially sound.
Finally, you might select your insurance company based uponthe professionalism of an individual agent. Since you willhave to work closely with your agent, it is important tofind one that you can trust. You might consider consultinga relative or friend to find out the names of someparticularly efficient agents.
In the end, you may not find out just how responsive yourinsurance company is—until you are faced with an accident. However, if you conduct extensive research before selectingan insurance company and agent…if you pay close attentionto complaint ratios…and you ask plenty of questions,chances are good you will find insurance coverage you willbe happy with.
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