Choosing the Right Carrier

Choosing the right carrier is an important decision for homeowners when buying house insurance. A home is the largest investment most people ever make. It is often the most expensive thing they buy, and it is also very often the one they keep longest. A home is a very special possession so it is important that homeowners know how to choose the insurance carrier that best suits their particular needs and preferences.

So as to best inform themselves about the types and levels of coverage available to them homeowners can follow a number of steps proven to help. Homeowners insurance is not mandated by law, but it is valuable and a good idea for every person who owns a home. Often, it is not an option, since banks and mortgage lenders will require it as a condition of their financing. It is in their best interests to protect their investment, and it also provides protection for the homeowner. A mortgage can last twenty years. It is a serious commitment for anyone. If the home were not insured, and fire destroyed it, the homeowner would have lost the place of residence and much other property besides, and would still be liable to the lender for the entire amount still unpaid at the time of the loss.

Investigating Insurance Companies

The homeowner ready to purchase insurance, will want to find as much information as possible so as to make the best possible choice of protection for family members, valuables, guests, and visitors. It is important they he or she find an insurance carrier, and an agent, who understands the particular needs and can offer the very best advise for this financial agreement that could have such deep repercussions both in the present and for the future.

Among the first things that the homeowner should do is investigate the standings and ratings of insurance carriers with which he or she is already somewhat familiar. There are companies which rate insurance companies on their ability to pay claims in the short and longer terms. They give ratings from A++ to F. The A ratings mean that the rating agency believes, from the insurance company's financials that it is a sound company and would be able to withstand the high volume of claims it would be called upon to pay in the case of a catastrophic event affecting a multitude of its customers all at the same time. A. M. Best is one of the most respected insurance rating agencies in this area.

Once this information is procured, the homeowner would also do well to speak with a colleague or friend about those carriers that have passed the first test. The information about how they might have handled claims in the past both in the favor of the insured and if the insured was at fault would be quite valuable information. It would also be a good idea to ask the friend or colleague to recommend an agent. Insurance policies, like all other business arrangements, are relationships, and good relationships help to ensure good business.

The Final Choice

After having completed the investigations into the history of the company, and having obtained the names of at least two or three agents, it is now time to speak directly with each agent, ask for quotes, and use all the information acquired up to this point to make the final selection. In every case, it is a good idea to make an appointment to meet the agent at the home that will be insured. It is never a good idea to sign an insurance contract without having met the agent, in order to make sure you're choosing the right carrier.

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