Shopping for Insurance: Things you Should Know
Purchasing insurance can be overwhelming – whether it is knowing what policy is right for your property, following state laws and regulations, or understanding your duties as the insured. We’ve gathered a few tips to help you be an informed consumer when shopping for insurance whether you are looking for a home policy, auto insurance, or the right coverage for your business.
Talk to your Agent
A great independent agent can be one of your best tools in finding the best policy for your needs. They are the most informed about what different insurance companies offer, and can guide you to the right company and policy for your situation.
Always answer the questions on the application completely and honestly. Getting the right coverage in the beginning is much preferred to finding out something can’t be covered in the event you must make a claim. Or worse, getting dropped unexpectedly by your company due to false information being given!
Ask (a lot of) Questions
Experienced insurance professionals have seen it all! By working directly with an agent, you benefit from the years of knowledge they have. No question is too basic or obscure!
Here are just a few questions you might ask:
- Am I eligible for any discounts? Certain companies also offer discounts for safety and security devices or multiple policies. Don’t be afraid to ask about what you’re eligible for!
- What is specifically included and excluded? Be sure to review this information in detail to avoid any surprises in the case of an event.
- Is the policy a “named peril” or “open peril” policy? What does that mean in terms of coverage?
It Takes Two
Understanding your responsibilities as the insured is an important part of your contract.
- What must you do in order to maintain a valid agreement with your insurance company? This could include paying premiums, keeping inspections up-to-date, a co-insurance limit, etc.
- What are your responsibilities in the event of a claim? Find out beforehand so you aren’t denied!
- How long do you have to report a claim? What do you need to provide the insurance company? What provisions would prevent you from receiving payment in the event of a claim?
When working with an independent insurance brokerage, your agent can help you navigate these questions with your insurance company and ensure you receive the maximum that you are entitled to under your policy.
Requirements by State
Check your state laws and regulations before shopping. What limits are you required to have on your auto policy? Are you required to have flood insurance in your area? A great resource for Virginia rules and regulations can be found at https://scc.virginia.gov/
Always talk to your agent and have an honest discussion about your insurance needs. They will guide you in making the best decision.