Before You Buy Insurance

Source: Press online

Great tips to help you save on your next insurance policy

1.  Talk to people first that you trust

Insurance agents just want to sell their product so before getting insurance quotes ask your friends, neighbors and family members, they may have valuable information about their insurance. They may know of great insurance deals, small companies in your area that do a great a job, or have horror stories about insurance claims with certain companies. I learned this on the hard way by buying a big brand of auto insurance and then had a terrible time with them when I had to make a claim, turns out one of my friends did too, I'd just never asked...

2.  Get the necessary information needed to complete your quote

Before you can get an insurance quote you will need to know a few basics if it a car you will need to know the year, make and model. If it is for a home you will need the home's address, age, square footage, number of bathrooms, bedrooms and what the frame is made of. You should also know safety specifics, such as what kind of alarm systems you have in place and how far (approx) to the nearest fire station and fire hydrant.

3.  Decide if you want to use an agent or go thru the internet for your insurance quote

Many people have or develop a nice relationship with their local insurance agent and feel more secure with this face to face relationship. Be aware that having a local agent may come at a price. If you decide on an online option you can go directly to the companies in question or there are several sites in which you can enter the information and they will have multiple companies contact you by phone or email. This does let you get lots of different quotes, but be aware that they will all be trying to sell you something. So be prepared with your questions and to let them know you are still in the research phase. Personally I don't like having a bunch of salespeople knowing my phone number. I checked out several of these sites and the only one I found that had an email only option was insureme.com. There may be much better services out there to get free insurance quotes, if you find them please add comments about them.

4.  Put the insurance quote in writing

When you talk to an insurance company to get a quote make sure you really understand what they are covering and write down what they are offering as far as coverage amount and deductibles. When you later compare companies you will be sure you are really comparing the same criteria. For example some homeowners insurance policies will cover "replacement cost" of items and other will cover "actual cash value" Replacement cost means how much it would be to buy the same thing today. If you had a certain size and model of TV they will pay for a new one that is the same size and model (as close as possible anyway). Actual cash value means they will figure out how much you paid for it and then depreciate it, so you will end up getting a lot less if you had to make a claim.

5.  Take your time making a decision

You want your insurance company to be financially stable. You can check on their financial strength rating as assigned by the major credit rating agencies, like Standard & Poor's, Moody's or TheStreet.com Ratings. You may also want to contact the dept of insurance for your state and ask for any information on the company's history of customer complaints, or search the Internet for additional information about the company. Here is a list of the phone numbers for the Dept of Insurance by state.