Buying home insurance is like buying anything else. Shopping around, talking to friends, and learning more can help you get the best product. Here are some important steps you can take to find the company and deal that are right for you:
- Talk to people you trust: Find out who has had good (and bad) experiences with their insurance companies and agents. It's a good sign if someone is very happy with their insurance agent. You may want to use that agent as well. But keep in mind that your situation may be different.
You can also read the opinions of folks online. Get the ratings of home insurance companies from J.D. Power.
- Get online quotes and comparison shop: There are a number of services on the Internet that act as "insurance marketplaces" and some only take a few minutes to give you quotes. Here's how they work:
There are a number of websites that offer this service. Get recommendations.
- You fill out information about your home and property.
- They take this information and analyze it with their insurance company partners.
- They give you a list of their partner companies that will offer you the best deals.
- Go with a company you already know and trust: If you don't want to take the time to compare prices from different companies, you may want to just go with a company you already know and trust. Large companies are a good place to start because their visibility helps ensure that they are stable and provide reasonable customer service. Get recommendations.
- Remember that price is important but so is security: If your insurance company runs out of money, you're out of luck. So make sure whatever company you choose is trustworthy and in good financial shape. You can learn how secure they are by checking their Standard & Poor Rating (to be safe, you probably only want to go with a company that is rated "A," "AA," or "AAA").
- Learn even more: The more you know about home insurance, the better prepared you will be to make the right decisions. So while the Beehive is a great place to start, there are other sites that can offer you additional information.
The Insurance Information Institute has lots of great information on everything from the basics of home insurance to saving money to how to make your home safer.
You can get legal information on issues like what to do if an insurance company won't pay your claim or what to do if you're sued, from FreeAdvice.com, which has lots of useful legal information around insurance issues.
If you live in what is considered a "high risk" area (like a flood zone), have a poor credit record or a history of making a lot of claims, you may have a hard time finding an insurance company that will sell you home insurance. Get more information.