Q:

How do you choose an insurance agency?

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Quick Answer

Choose an insurance agency by collecting referrals from family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and trade associations, recommends the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Research the companies with the state insurance department; for example, check their licensing information in the state, and review any complaints lodged against them. Investigate the financial soundness of the companies.

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Full Answer

Rating agencies tend to give insurance companies number grades from A to F, but each agency follows its own standards, and consumers should understand what they are, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners explains. These rating companies include A.M. Best, Fitch Ratings and TheStreet.com, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Price is another way to choose an insurance company, suggests the Insurance Information Institute. Check with the state insurance department to see if it publishes a guide of what insurers charge. Compare rates and quotes from a minimum of three insurers. Investigate the customer service at each company, and get a feel for how the claims process works; talk with family, friends and others about their experiences with a company. Find a company that you feel comfortable contacting, whether it's online, via phone or in person.

If working with an agent or broker, check his credentials and ask for references, says the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Ask the agent why he chooses to work for this specific company.

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