Just as there are 2 sides to every mathematical equation, insurance decisions also have 2 primary components, one of which people often disregard when shopping for coverage. Your desire to buy the most or best coverage for the least cost is important, but represents only one-half of the insurance equation.
Even knowledgeable insurance shoppers often forget to evaluate the other important component: Claims payments. Selecting the least expensive insurance quote can easily morph from a seemingly wise decision into a poor choice. Should you suffer damage to the insured item (auto, home, boat, etc.) and endure slow or non-payment of your claim, you will quickly forget about the wonderful “bargain” you received when you purchased the coverage.
But, how can you find this valuable information about a different company that you are considering? Use the power of the Internet and the experience of an insurance agent you trust to learn about the high–and low–rated companies regarding claims payments. Be forewarned, however, that you should investigate opinions and ratings just as diligently as you shop for the best coverage and lowest premiums. Remember, the Internet is valuable and powerful, but almost everyone can express their opinion (First Amendment, anyone?) without even minimum qualifications.
Visit a number of claims payment rating sites to collect a more representative cross-section of the opinions of experts and the general public alike. Many product ratings sites (for all products and services) have agendas that lavish praise or criticism for reasons other than factual performance. Since they will not tell you this, you should visit numerous respected–preferably, objective–sites that have a non-biased reputation.
For example, Consumer Reports has long been well-respected for objective evaluation of many products. They have earned their reputation for objectivity over years of product comparisons and reviews. For instance, their 2010 insurance study discovered that, contrary to those constant TV commercials, only around 14 percent of 4,500 respondents could actually save significant dollars by switching companies.
To learn if the company(s) you favor are also reliable claims payers, investigate a variety of ratings services. A trend or pattern of useful information should eventually appear. However, do not depend on one site with a few disgruntled (or favorable) reviews and believe a company is a good or poor payer of claims. Do your homework to discover those that settle and pay claims fast and hassle-free.