|Question: I'm buying my first car. What should I look for in an insurance company?|
You should look for a company that has been selling auto insurance for a number of years and has a strong reputation in the industry. You can learn a lot about different companies simply by talking to people you know and trust. How satisfied have your friends, family members, and coworkers been with their insurance companies' level of customer service and handling of claims? A company's reputation for paying claims in a timely manner will be very important when you have an accident, theft, or other loss. Word-of-mouth references will help you narrow down the field to the most service-oriented companies.
There are several other issues to consider when shopping for an insurance company. For example, is the insurer financially stable? This is important because you want to be certain that the company you choose will be around for a long time and have no trouble paying its claims. A number of independent firms rate insurance companies based on their financial strength and other factors. Of course, you also want to make sure that a company can provide the auto insurance coverage you need at a good price. Premiums for the same coverage often vary widely among companies, so it pays to shop around. You should also find out what discounts and optional coverages are available from each insurer.
In most cases, your best bet is to work with a good insurance agent or broker. One of these professionals will help you find a reputable company that can meet your coverage needs without straining your budget. However, be aware that you may be able to save money by buying auto insurance from a company that sells policies directly to consumers. If you choose this path, a variety of on-line and print resources are available that you can use to research companies and coverages. You can also contact your state insurance department for information on different companies.