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3 Smart Questions to Ask a Prospective Agent Before Signing

If you are getting your first car for yourself or your child and are looking into switching auto insurance companies for any reason you have a lot of choices to choose from when it comes to who will provide the necessary coverage for your car, but is price the only thing you should be looking at when you are considering policies? What about other features, or service, or the reliability of the company? How will you find out about these things and how they will affect you and your policy. Being prepared with a list of questions to ask an insurance agent before signing on with their policy is a wise thing to do, because once you get on the phone with an agent, the numbers and terms they will throw at you can easily get one flustered.

1. Does your company offer any discounts?

This question may seem like it would have an obvious answer - especially if you've been paying attention to the larger, national carriers that all do, but there are many smaller companies that offer few or no discounts whatsoever. The types of discounts you should be looking for include:

  • Longevity - if you have been with the provider a long time.
  • Safe driver - if you go a long enough period of time without an accident or ticket.
  • Multi-insurance - if you insure multiple things such as your car and your house with the same provider.
  • Education - if you have a science-related or teaching degree.
  • Student or Seniors - for special age groups.

2. What is the Consumer Complaint Ratio?

All insurers have to be on guard against fraud in various subtle, not so subtle and sometimes elaborate ways that are perpetrated by people trying to get rich, but this is no excuse for having an extremely high ratio of complaints per 1000 claims they receive which is what the consumer complaint ratio is for. If the company you are shopping has a lot of complaints you should drop them from consideration without a second thought.

3. What is the Standard & Poor's Financial Rating?

This is basically a measurement of the financial strength of a brand and if an insurer doesn't have at least a B+ rating, you should be significantly concerned at their ability to stay afloat and make good on any claims that may come their way.

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