Everyone is rushed. Each day people are constantly fighting the clock and dashing through their day, crossing chores off of their checklist and scrambling to get things done. The problem with the modern speed of life, is that every responsibility is not created equal. Consumers can sometimes equate purchasing insurance with signing up for cable service or making an appointment for the dog groomer. I call it the “One and Done” mindset.
Purchasing insurance, whether for personal use (auto, home, life, umbrella, flood) or business requires much more than filling out a simple application and clicking “YES”. It is not a “one size fits all” proposition.
In my 30 plus years in the industry, I have experienced consumers who have told me stories of bad decisions that they have made when it came to purchasing insurance. So I thought this might be a good opportunity to give you some advice from a longtime “seasoned” insurance advocate.
TO GET THE BEST COVERAGE YOU NEED TO MARKET TO VARIOUS CARRIERS – Not all insurance carriers are created equal. Many seek to specialize and target a select segment of society (senior citizens, affluent, business owners, high risk, etc). Various insurance companies assign risk differently to individual drivers. Going for “one or two quotes” and choosing between them is not wisest way to secure insurance. Insurance agencies generally have relationships with dozens of carriers and can gather many quotes for you to compare and rate.
BUYING INSURANCE ONLINE IS NOT THE WISEST CHOICE – There is something to be said for “experience” and “knowledge”. Getting quotes through an online service or a telemarketer will not give you the expertise that is often needed when gauging the proper coverage for insurance. A computer or a customer service rep may not have the insurance background or familiarity with what is available in the marketplace. A consultant with insurance insight and a grasp of the industry can help you make the wisest choice for YOUR needs.
NOT ALL CARRIERS ARE CREATED EQUAL – Insurance is a business. You want to make sure that the insurance company that you are trusting your premiums to is solvent, functional, will treat you with respect and help you when you have a claim or an issue with your policy. Each state has an Insurance Commission. It is wise idea that you do a bit of research through their website when looking for insurance. They can give you an idea of any/all complaints that have been filed against the company and their industry rating (A.M. Best Rating).
INSURANCE IS A ESSENTIALLY A CONTRACT … READ THE POLICY – How many people do you know that still believe that flooding is covered under homeowner’s insurance? Plenty, I would imagine. I see it all the time when consumers file insurance claims, suddenly they realize that what they assumed was covered, was an exemption to the policy. Take the time to sit, read and understanding exactly what you are buying. It will save you quite the hassle (and a bit of cash) if you have an accident.
CHOOSING CHEAP OVER “COMPLETE” – This follows the old adage, if something seems too good to be true it usually is. Sometimes that “low ball” price point is not giving you exactly what you need. Or as stated above, the company that is quoting you do not have a great track record. It is important to not necessary settle for the lowest price, if when you file a claim, you are denied coverage.
PLACING ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET CAN BE A GOOD THING – One added benefit of using an insurance agency is that often look to see if we can “bundle” your policies with the same insurance carrier, which can lead to a possible discount, easier identification of gaps, and the ability to deal with one company. 58 percent of consumers bundle their home and auto policies*.
CIRCLE A DATE ON YOUR CALENDAR, “TODAY I WILL REVIEW MY INSURANCE COVERAGE” – So you have your insurance policy secure, you head home, shove the policy in the drawer, forget about it and the year rolls on. But things change in your life every day and all these changes can effect your insurance policies. New drivers in the house, retired from your position, take a defensive driving course, new alarms installed …the list of changes is long and all of these can result in modifications to your insurance. So it is a great idea to do an annual review of your insurance. Your insurance agencies Customer Service Executives are always willing to sit with you, ask the proper questions and see if any alterations need to be made to your insurance plans.
* J.D. Power and Associates U.S. National Auto Insurance Study