What should I look for in an insurance company?
There are thousands of insurance companies. They are all happy to sell you insurance. Make sure the one you choose:
Get ratings on different insurance companies
- Has a good rating from a ratings agency like A.M. Best or Standard & Poors
- Has a good reputation among your family and friends
- Has been in business for a long time
- Pays out claims quickly and fairly
- Is customer service-oriented
How do I protect myself from getting cheated?
Some companies may be more difficult to deal with than others, especially when you're trying to collect on a claim. Here are some steps you can take to make you aren't a victim of insurance fraud:
- Do not buy the first policy you find. With most things you buy, you shop around and compare prices and features. Do the same with insurance. Get tips on shopping around for insurance.
- Deal only with licensed insurance companies and agents.
- Go somewhere else if the agent can't or won't answer your questions.
- Do not sign blank applications or claim forms.
- Fill out your application or claim form carefully. Incorrect, incomplete or false information on your application can jeopardize your insurance coverage. And, it is a crime to supply false information on an insurance application or claim.
- Never pay premiums in cash. Always pay for insurance premiums by check or money order. This way you can be sure that the money is going to the insurance company and you have proof that you paid.
- Get a copy of your policy from your agent and read through it immediately to insure that you are getting the coverage you discussed with your agent.
- Keep copies of all insurance records, including copies of all premium payments, in a safe place. Store extra copies in a safe-deposit box, waterproof and fireproof container or with a friend or attorney.
What information will I need to give an agent when I buy insurance?
When you apply for insurance you'll need to give the agent this information:
- Makes and models of cars including identification numbers and odometer reading
- Car loan or lease information
- Ages and driver's license numbers of all drivers
- Some agents require you to bring in a copy of your driving record
- Where and how far you intend to drive
- Social security numbers of all drivers
- Get a list you can print out to take with you when you meet an agent.