Before you buy insurance, do your homework. Find out what factors matter so that you can get the coverage you need at the best price.
Check Out the Insurance Company
- Check with your state’s insurance department for information about insurance companies and agents.
- Make sure the insurance company has a license and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims in case the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
- Check the financial stability and soundness of the insurance company with credit rating agencies.
- Research the company’s complaint record.
- Read reviews from current customers.
- Make sure you receive a written policy. This confirms that the agent forwarded your premium to the insurance company. If you don’t receive a policy within 60 days, contact your agent and the insurance company.
How to Find the Best Insurance Rates
- Compare quotes from several companies.
- Get discounts for safety features. Tell the insurer if you have safety features in your home (alarm system, smoke detectors) or car (anti-lock brakes).
- Ask if you qualify for auto insurance discounts because of your age, good grades, or driving record.
- Look for discounts through a civic or alumni association.
- You may get lower rates if you have more than one policy with the same company.
- Consider a higher deductible. You may save on your premium by increasing your deductible by a few hundred dollars.
The laws and regulations of each type of insurance (home, life, auto, rental, and more) vary by state. However, there are also some federal insurance programs. While you should contact your insurance company first, a state insurance regulator is another great resource to find more information about an insurance company’s policies or file a complaint.
Insurance Policy Information
- If you have questions about employer-sponsored insurance programs, ask your employer’s benefits administrator for assistance.
- Contact your state insurance regulator for information to help you make informed insurance-buying decisions.
How to File an Insurance Complaint
- If you have a complaint about your insurance company’s policies, contact the company before you contact your state insurance regulator.
- To file a complaint about an employer-sponsored insurance program, speak to your local Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) office.
Federal Insurance Programs
While most insurance programs operate on the state level, the federal government runs a few programs exclusively and sometimes jointly with states.
- The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. If you live in an area prone to flooding, contact the NFIP.
- Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities. You can apply for and enroll in either of these programs any time of year. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately.
- Medicare is the U.S. government’s health insurance program for people of age 65 or older.
- If you are a federal government employee, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides information on health and other insurance programs. You can also find points of contact if you have questions. Learn about insurance programs for federal employees.
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Last Updated: January 22, 2020