Finding the right kind of insurance, whether it’s car insurance, health insurance, home insurance or life insurance, can be tricky. We’ve developed an Insurance Finder to help you find the best insurance in your area, to make the decision-making process a little easier. The Finder includes searches for car, health, home and life insurance, to make things even easier.
Car insurance can be rather costly if you don’t take the time to shop around for the right policy that best suits your needs. It’s likely that you’ve seen plenty of commercials from car insurance companies, all competing for your attention and your business. But how do you know which company and policy really are the best ones for you? Consider these important criteria and things to look for when choosing a car insurance policy, and you’ll be better able to make an informed decision.
For starters, you’ll want to compare rates from all car insurance companies. You can often do this easily online, but use what is there as a general guideline — you can get a more personalized rate from an agent once you’ve narrowed down your selections.
Car insurance companies sometimes take a lot of flack. After all, with millions of customers, there are bound to be plenty of good and bad reviews. But the ones you’ll want to focus on involve how quickly and how well they handle claims, what their payment policies are and how their customer service is.
You don’t necessarily have to always pay the exact monthly premium you’ve been quoted. Most insurance companies offer lower monthly premiums in exchange for higher deductibles. For example, if you are willing to pay a $1,000 deductible on an accident, your premium might be lowered. (They also typically give a discount if you pay in annual or semi-annual increments instead of monthly.)
Car insurance is really more of an umbrella term. It covers various types of insurance, including comprehensive and collision, liability, personal injury, theft and more. You may not need or want all of these types of car insurance, and they are typically offered in varying levels of coverage. Take the time to discuss each one with an agent so that you have a better understanding of them.
Car insurance can be offered through a direct provider, a broker or a captive agent. Each one has its own advantages, and you’ll want to choose the one that works best for you. For example, a direct provider is often able to offer a less expensive quote because you aren’t dealing with a middleman, and can provide customer service 24/7. But brokers can take the time to do thorough research and work on your behalf to find the optimal insurance policy for your specific needs. And lastly, a captive agent works directly for you, and will go out of their way to make sure you are satisfied with your policy.
Today’s health insurance marketplace is certainly a confusing one, with plenty of choices for coverage in some areas and limited coverage choices in others. Still, choosing the right health insurance is an important task that requires ample research so that you know you have chosen the best policy available for you and/or your family.
There are several different criteria you will want to look at when choosing a health insurance company and plan. Several websites offer you various tools for making comparisons, or you can speak with an insurance broker who can also give you details on the various plans available in your state.
For starters, you’re going to want to compare monthly premiums from the various plans available. You’ll want to choose a premium that works with your budget. It doesn’t make sense to look at plans that you can’t afford, so you can eliminate those right away. And while lower monthly premiums might seem attractive at first, you’ll need to do some more research to see what type of coverage you get for that price.
Each plan requires you to pay different out-of-pocket costs for different medical-related events. For example, a co-pay for a visit to a doctor’s office under one plan might be $10 while it could be $40 under another plan. There will also be different costs associated with prescription medications and drugs, hospital visits and stays, and specialist co-pays.
Many insurance plans also have deductibles, which is the amount you must pay for various treatments before the insurance company pays any of the costs. This could be a specific dollar amount, such as $1,000 per person, per year, or a percentage, such as 30 percent of the cost. You can sometimes choose a plan with a high deductible in exchange for a lower monthly premium.
Take the time to read through the materials provided by each provider for each plan so that you know exactly what type of coverage you can expect to get. The materials often detail exactly what is covered, what isn’t and what you might expect to pay for each type of medical situation.
Not every plan in your state may be accepted at the doctor’s office you prefer to go to. You’ll want to check and see if any of the plans you are interested in are accepted at your office before making the final choice, or you may end up needing to choose a different physician.
A lot of work, research and expense goes into buying and maintaining a home. One of those necessary expenses is home insurance, and it’s important to choose the right policy in order to save money while also receiving the right amount of coverage you need.
Even if you’ve owned a home and had homeowners insurance before, you’ll want to talk to agents from various homeowners insurance companies to see if there is anything new you should be aware of. A local agent will have much more understanding and information regarding the intricacies of the policies as they relate to your local city or state, as opposed to an agent in another area of the country.
Use the approximate quotes provided online to compare the different local companies, and speak with local agents about the home insurance policies available. Just like with car insurance, there are many different types of policies and levels of coverage, and rates can vary widely depending upon the area you live in and what type of house you own.
Home insurance actually encompasses several different types of insurance situations, such as damage to your home, liability from injuries to you or guests in your home, theft and more. There are typically different levels of coverage available, allowing you to choose exactly what you think you might need and what suits your budget best.
One of the most important things you can do before making a final decision is to find out exactly what is covered by the home insurance. You don’t want to be surprised later on when you expect to be covered in the incident of a flood, fire or lightning strike, and then discover that your coverage doesn’t include such damage or doesn’t offer enough compensation. Take the time to research each policy thoroughly and ask plenty of questions so that you can make an informed decision.
Focus on reviews that discuss how well insurance companies handled claims, how quickly they paid and what their customer service is like. Customer reviews can give you great insight into a particular insurance company, helping you to narrow down your choices.
Buying a life insurance policy can feel intimidating, especially when you don’t know much about your options. Learning more about life insurance products and what they offer will make it easier for you to choose the right policy for you and your family.
Life insurance providers have a range of policies that you can buy, so you should learn about the common types before you commit to coverage. Some of the most popular types of life insurance policies include term life and whole life.
Term life policies only cover you as long as you continue making payments. This option often works well for people who pay the bulk of their family’s expenses. Once you repay your mortgage and your kids grow up, you may choose to stop the insurance.
Whole life insurance policies typically cost more than term life policies. In exchange, you get lifetime coverage that never expires. The insurance policy also includes an investment that accumulates value over time. You can borrow money against the policy, take annual dividends in cash or borrow directly from the policy’s value.
If you decide to purchase term life insurance, then you will need to decide how long the policy will cover you. Most providers sell 10-year, 20-year and 30-year term life policies.
People nearing retirement may want to save money by choosing 20-year policies. The younger you are, though, the more coverage you will probably need. A 30-year-old with a 20-year term life policy will run out of coverage before he or she comes close to reaching retirement, so it often makes more sense to get a 30-year policy. If you’re already in your 40s or 50s, though, a 20-year policy could meet your needs.
When you talk to insurance providers, ask them to give you details about their policies. Some of the information you should look for includes:
Life insurance premiums can vary significantly from one company to another. Get quotes from multiple providers so you can choose a policy that fits into your budget.
If your family counts on your income to make ends meet, then you should have a life insurance policy that will protect them. As long as you know how to find the right policy, you can protect your family while keeping premiums affordable.
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