Bring up the topic of auto insurance in polite conversation, and the conversation might lose its politeness in a hurry. People are quick to share horror stories of lazy agents, indifferent customer service and body work that fell short of expectations. Meanwhile, marketing would have us believe auto insurance is like a platonic friendship with benefits. Auto insurance ratings give a clearer, well-rounded picture between the extremes based on several factors.
Premiums. The outlay for auto insurance is a major consideration both in shopping for policies and maintaining certain levels of coverage. Rates will vary based on numerous factors, but having an idea of average rates will weigh heavily on our choices.
Coverage. The coverage extended to us for our premiums is another component. A cheap rate means little if it doesn’t provide value. Coverage availability, flexibility, inclusions and limitations all factor in.
Customer service. Auto insurance ratings really hold merit here. This feedback comes from policyholders’ experiences with everyone from agents to adjusters, in simple matters of policy changes to the complexity of handling a claim.
Claim service. We never hope to have to actually use our policies, but when it becomes necessary we expect clear answers to questions and professional handling of claims. It’s the time when assurances of customer service are put to the test.
Complaints. Things can and do go awry even after the car damage occurs. Any of the above auto insurance rating components may be a sticking point for consumers, at which point they voice their concerns. And while it’s impossible to satisfy every policyholder in any scenario, we can learn a lot about a carrier by the nature of the complaints, how frequently complaints come up and what the company does to remedy them.
For the best auto insurance rating information, look to multiple sources for the most conclusive details. J.D. Power and Associates conducts extensive surveys on the policyholder satisfaction, while your state insurance commission can provide information on the companies brought to their attention most often for complaints. A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s focus more on the money, rating carriers for their financial strength and ability to pay claims.