Whether it is for health, vehicles, home, or business, insurance services seems to be a vital necessity for many American consumers. With its frequency of use, it’s not hard to believe that “insurance” falls at #9 on our top 10 list of types of businesses receiving local complaints in 2010. To head off trouble at the pass, your BBB is happy to provide several tips to navigate the tricky waters of finding a good insurance service or provider for your needs. Of course, we always recommend checking out a BBB Business Reliability Report first, but other tips to keep in mind, are as follows:
- Decide what type of insurance and how much coverage you need: Are you only driving a few miles or many a day to work? Will you need home, health or other coverage too? How many people should be covered by this policy? Often multiple insurance policies purchased with the same carrier result in discounts, when combined. Also, the amount of your premiums often relate to the amount of coverage you buy, so consider your options carefully. Cheapest is not always best!
- Ask for a policy quote and comparison shop: Ask for a quote from the insurance company you are considering, and then compare it to one from another company to look for differences. Sometimes a quote itself can serve as a reminder of items we wouldn’t necessarily ask for up front, but hope to have in our coverage. One BBB consumer reported receiving a much better deal from “company A” to later find out that earthquake coverage had been taken out of their homeowners quote. The insurance company explained, due to decreased popularity with consumers and desire for the cheapest rates possible, the company no longer offered this coverage. It is up to the consumer whether a dropped coverage is ultimately needed, but in this instance, only another quote pointed out that not only the cost, but also the coverage had decreased.
- Read the policy thoroughly and ask questions: If you don’t have a clear understanding of the policy, costs and coverage, ask questions. Also find out the companies cancellation and refund policy. Indiana law allows 10 days from receipt to examine health insurance policies and many life insurance companies offer the same. Check with your agent to find out the details. If you wish to cancel the policy and request a refund, return it to the home office (not the agent) within 10 days.
- Before you sign, double check: Insurance agents are required to be licensed in Indiana and in many other states. Consumers may wish to verify licensing and can call the Insurance Commissioner for their state (at the phone numbers listed below), to confirm.
As mentioned before, BBB Reliability Reports are also available at www.evansville.bbb.org.