By Susan Willis
To properly shop for car insurance, you know by now that it is not just about price. Sure, everybody wants to pay the lowest-possible insurance premiums each month: why pay more than you have to?
But, after you have been shopping for car insurance for a while, you come to realize that price is only one dimension along which you should be evaluating your choices. In reality, once you become a customer, you will want to make sure you have the right types of coverage. And, of course, you will want good customer service and other aspects of a quality experience.
If you want to know which are the best and worse car insurance companies as rated by consumers, here are the 5 dimensions along which they should be rated:
1. Customer interaction:
This dimension is also known as customer service. It includes factors such as average phone wait times when making an inquiry or filing a claim. But, it also reflects things like:
* Did you get connected to the right person quickly enough when you called them?
* Was the person on the other end of the line courteous and helpful?
* Did they resolve your problem, question or concern in a timely manner?
2. Policy offerings:
This rating dimension has to do with the types of coverage that the company makes available to you. Of course, each company should have standard coverage options like liability, uninsured motorist, and collision coverage. But, there are various options within each of these coverage categories – and some companies offer more options than others.
3. Billing and payments:
This dimension answers the question: how easy and straightforward are the billing and payments processes? Receiving bills in a timely manner, having payments processed quickly, and the ability to easily make inquiries to the billing department are all considered within this item.
Of course, getting a reasonable policy price can and should be one of your top priorities. This is by no means the least-important dimension along which you should evaluate your options, as insurance companies can give wildly differing quotes for the same person with the same coverage. By saving just $50/month you will be saving $600/year on insurance. That’s pretty significant.
This is one of those dimensions of the auto insurance company experience that you will hopefully never have to deal with directly. And, that is precisely why many people underestimate the importance of their insurance company having a smooth claims process.
However, if and when you ever need to file a claim, you will suddenly remember that this is the very reason for which you bought car insurance: to have the chance to be protected financially by it. In addition to price, claims service quality is one of the most important factors that consumers look at when rating insurance companies.
Be sure to evaluate the prospective car insurance companies by these 5 dimensions as you decide which one is best for you and your family. Check out the JD Powers & Associates ratings in their latest National Auto Insurance Study to find out what consumers are saying about top companies.
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