Insurance companies know nothing wins customer loyalty, and keeps customers from shopping for lower insurance rates, better than the fast and fair settlement of a claim.
Visit my site to get price quotes, complaint statistics, and customer service & claims satisfaction ratings for all the leading auto & home insurance companies in the USA. How is your insurance company rated? Does it have a lot of customer complaints? Find out at my home page and CLICK HERE!
Customers often think twice before switching to a less expensive insurance company, when they were happy with how their insurance company handled their last claim, afraid the new insurance company with the lower price may be difficult if they have a claim. People are concerned you get what you pay for, and a lower price must mean less service.
When it comes to auto insurance and homeowners insurance, paying more for your insurance does not mean better service.
The truth is most insurance company’s claims service is acceptable, and the majority of claims are handled to the customer’s satisfaction. However, there are plenty of accounts on the Internet and elsewhere, of poor claims service from every insurance company.
How should you decide to choose an auto or home insurance company? Go with the best rates, or go with the best claims service? How do you determine if an insurance company really provides good claim service, when you are insured with company X and had a good claims experience, but your co-worker is having a terrible claims experience with company X? How do you avoid getting ripped off?
First, get insurance price quotes from all the leading car insurance &/or homeowners insurance companies, to find the lowest priced insurers for you.
Then, visit my website, to make sure you received price quotes from all the leading insurance companies in your state, and compare their customer service ratings & complaint records, by clicking the link to my site below. Choose an insurance company with a good price and good service.
Most major insurance companies settle simple claims quickly and easily. Did someone vandalize your car? Did you hit a deer? Did an unknown vehicle hit your car? If you have the proper coverage, many insurance companies will get a check to you, or get your car repaired right away.
However, will you be happy if you have a large claim, and you disagree with your insurance company when it decides you are not covered?
Will you be happy when your insurance company decides you are at fault for a car accident, and pays a claim to another driver, whom you think was responsible for the accident, and your auto insurance rates go up because of it?
Will you be happy, if your landlords insurance policy, which says it does not exclude damage caused by tenants, denies your large claim, when a tenant deliberately causes extensive damage to your rental property, because the insurance company says the damage is the result of normal wear & tear?
Just because your last claim went like a dream, does not mean your next claim won’t be a nightmare. There are many insurance company reviews on the Internet mentioning how great their insurance company used to be, but now it is terrible. The real truth may be the insurance company was never as good as they thought it was.
Unfortunately, there are no “superhero” insurance companies, sticking up for their customers no matter what the cost or risk to them. If you have been a loyal customer for 40 years, and the insurance company decides you are a higher risk, due to your recent claims history, or other factors, they will cancel your policy.
Insurance companies are not “super villains” either. They aren’t looking to cheat their customers out of valid claims. But insurance companies are not going to pay any claims they are not contractually obligated to pay. The larger the claim, the more it is in the insurance company’s financial interest to make sure it is a claim they HAVE to pay.
If you wake up one morning to find your car windshield smashed by an unknown vandal, the claim will usually be paid with few questions asked.
If your house has a major fire caused by an unknown arsonist, the insurance company is going to find out if it was caused by your emotionally troubled adult child living with you, and deny coverage. You may have to consult a lawyer to contest the denied claim, and sue your insurance company to have a court determine if the claim should be paid.
Despite many people’s opinions, insurance companies are not crooks, but you would be naive to think they are always compliant with the law, and don’t consider their own financial interests.
Insurance companies won’t pay even a small claim if it is not covered, or deny a large claim if it is clearly covered, but there are many claims situations open to interpretation, and you can’t expect the insurance company to act in your best interest.
So, you can’t choose an insurance company where you are guaranteed satisfaction. What should you do to reduce your chances of having a poor claim experience?
1. Rather than insuring with an insurance company based solely on your own claims experience, or stories you have heard from other people, look at the insurance company’s national complaint ratio on my website.
The national complaint ratio is based usually on valid complaints made against an insurer to each state’s regulatory governmental body in which it operates.
For example, say my car insurance company denied a valid claim, and I had to complain to the Oregon Insurance Division to get my insurance company to pay. This would be an example of a valid complaint.
The national complaint ratios are good for everyone in the USA to use, but the most important complaint ratios are the ones for the state in which you live.
Company X may provide great service in Arkansas, but it may provide lousy service in California or New Jersey.
Not all states provide this information, but if they do, it is usually available at each state’s department of insurance websites. You can find your state’s website by clicking the link. I am also blogging about each state’s complaint information, and best & worst insurance companies, so check my blog for that category, and see if I have reviewed your state yet.
2. Shop your auto & home insurance once a year, and check the most recent year’s national & state complaint ratios, and JD Power rating, if available for your insurance company.
Insurance companies are always reorganizing, closing & opening offices, changing procedures, & computer systems. These changes can make the customer service better or much worse, in the short term or long term.
Claims service can be cyclical. Sometimes insurance companies hire more claims representatives and push for great claims service. Other times, probably most of the time, there is too much work for the claims representatives, not enough staff, and pressure to contains claims costs. An insurance company providing great service 3 years ago may be terrible now.
Keep up on how your insurance company is performing when you shop for better rates each year.
3. Shop for better rates each year. You can great service AND great rates. Shop with all the leading insurance companies and use my website site to get the best combination of price and service.
Insuring with the same insurance company for 20 years won’t get a claim covered which should be denied. It’s illegal for insurance companies to show favoritism in the claims process.
The best thing you can do is to shop your car & home insurance each year, choose a reputable insurance company with a great price, and do what you can to protect yourself and your property from needing to file an insurance claim.
Has an insurance company earned your loyalty by its claims service? Tell me about it. Please leave a comment on my facebook page. Or, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions and would like my help. Follow me on Twitter for important insurance consumer news and new blog entries at CarInsWatch.