I honestly don’t think most companies appreciate their customers enough. It seems almost every day that a company has to screw up or experience a public relations fiasco before they share a “thank you” and some gratitude for their loyal customers. Although these companies manufacture or provide a product or service that we need, use, or enjoy, and we willfully exchange our hard-earned money, 9 times out of 10, we could have chosen a similar company that provides exactly the same or similar service/product. This is particularly true of large insurance companies. There isn’t just one carrier that is head and shoulders better than its peers – they all have their pros and cons, and despite the fact that car insurance is mandatory in the United States, consumers can compare premiums via online quotes and switch providers in a matter of days.
However, consumers can also negotiate and request discounts from their current car, life, home, or health insurance company to save them the trouble of switching. Two discounts that aren’t taken advantage of nearly enough are customer loyalty and multi-policy discounts. If you’ve been with any insurance company for more than a year, ask for a loyalty discount; and if you are looking for homeowner’s insurance after recently purchasing a home or life coverage to ensure the financial security of your family in case of a tragedy, first contact the company you have a car policy with. When shopping, consumers should request auto and home insurance quotes together to find out how much they can save when purchased from the same carrier.
Most insurance companies offer discounts when customers buy more than one policy and the more policies a customer buys, the bigger the discounts. Auto and home insurance are just the beginning of the savings since many insurers offer additional discounts when consumers buy health, life, boat, motorcycle or RV insurance with their auto and home contracts. Bundling and multi-policy discounts can save consumers 10% to 15% on each product you buy.
Consumers should be aware that not all insurers who offer bundling discounts sell or underwrite auto, home or life insurance internally. Some carriers contract with other insurers who supply the home policies. Websites for consumer groups AM Best and JD Powers rank insurance companies based on their product offerings, pricing, customer service, billing practices and financial stability. When consumers choose a top ranked company to get the best service, they may be disappointed to learn that their home insurance has been placed with another insurer that does not have a top ranking. Once you’ve compared options, reputations, and premiums to decide which companies offer the best deals, it is a good idea to find out if the insurer who sells the policy will keep both with their company or if another provider will handle one.
For more information, we’ve accumulated a list of the top ranked home insurance companies. Generally speaking, the same providers show up repeatedly on this list, with USAA, State Farm, Nationwide, and Farmers regularly ranking the besting terms of coverage, customer service, billing and payment options, claims service, and premium pricing. This data was derived from AM Best, JD Powers, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Currently, we have not developed a list of the best car insurance companies.
There are two basic home policies. The “all risk” policy covers damage from any cause not specifically excluded in the fine print and “the named perils” policy covers damage from causes that are specifically named in the contract. These two types are available with either replacement cost or actual cash value coverage. There is little difference in the cost of all risk and named perils, but consumers researching homeowners insurance will find that replacement cost coverage is more expensive than actual cash value. Furthermore, flood and earthquake protection are not included. For flood, consumers must consult The National Flood Insurance Program administered through FEMA and earthquake policies are expensive and sold separately. For in depth details, check out our article on home insurance coverage and policies.
There are no standard home policies and coverage may vary between different companies. It is always smart to review copies of your home insurance to find the ones with the most comprehensive protection. No home insurance covers damage from floods and most do not cover damage from earthquakes or volcanoes. Homeowners can purchase separate single peril policies through the U.S. Government or private companies to cover these risks.
On the other hand, there are two basic types of auto insurance, standard and non-standard (SR-22). Standard car insurance includes liability, comprehensive, and/or full-coverage. Liability is required by most state governments as a minimum amount of insurance. Comprehensive policies protect against any incident that does not involve a collision with another vehicle, such as fire, theft, vandalism, explosions, flood, riot, etc.
The protection offered by both types are the same, but non-standard policies have coverage exclusions for drivers who are not listed on the policy. Most companies that sell non-standard auto insurance do not offer combined quotes and rates because they only offer auto insurance with state mandatory minimum limits. Drivers who are young, have poor driving records, or a previously suspended driver’s license may have to buy SR-22 auto insurance.
While some companies specialize in a particular type of insurance, other insurers offer a wide range of commercial and personal products including business, liability, umbrella, home, health, life, and auto. The internet allows consumers to comparison shop from the comfort of home. Independent comparison websites offer free quotes from multiple top ranked companies so consumers can compare rates side by side. Requesting multiple quotes separately and together can show consumers how much a bundling discount can save.
Some insurers allow consumers to purchase their coverage online, but others may require a home inspection prior to issuing. Once a consumer has decided which company offers the best value, he or she can complete the application for auto and home insurance online. While quotes are free, buyers will have to have an electronic check, credit or debit card in order to pay for their new coverage.