Lifestyle » Vol. 58

Choose insurance that fits your life

Choosing insurance options to fit your lifestyle and budget is a big commitment. We carry insurance for our vehicles, homes, lives, health and families, so it’s important to choose wisely. Finding the appropriate insurance agency and company takes careful consideration. Better Business Bureau of Central New England advises consumers to shop companies and agencies to find the best coverage.

“Complaints to BBB regarding insurance companies typically cover billing and customer service issues,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “You want to be sure you are working with a reputable company that can answer your questions and concerns. This will help avoid needing BBB’s dispute resolution services down the road.”

BBB recognizes the importance of finding a policy that’s right for you, and has tips to help you through the buying process.

Identify your needs. How much coverage is appropriate? What type of insurance do you need? Try to make a budget to help you determine what you are willing and able to pay.

Research. Compare multiple insurance companies to see the type of coverage they offer and the cost. Ask friends and family with similar needs for advice on what insurance companies work for them. Review their BBB Business Profile on bbb.org for background on the company, including complaint history, customer reviews and accreditation status.

Shop for quotes. Choose a handful of companies that seem reliable and might be able to meet your needs and request a quote from each. Remember that the lowest price may not be the best deal. Make sure the amount of coverage and benefits are reflected in the cost. If you need multiple types of insurance, see if the company offers packages to cover multiple policies. Keep in mind costs, deductibles, co-pays and other expenses.

Decide who to work with. Depending on the business, consumers can buy insurance directly from the business or work with a captive or independent agent. A captive agent represents one specific insurance company. An independent agent, or broker, represents multiple insurance companies. An agent gives consumers a one-on-one to direct them to a specific policy that suits their needs.

Read carefully. Before purchasing the insurance policy, thoroughly read the agreement. If there is anything confusing, have the agent or company explain the contents clearly. Make sure the application is filled out correctly and completely. Do not sign an application that is blank and save copies of all paperwork for future reference. After the insurance is purchased, review the policy annually to ensure everything is still accurate and the policy is continuing to provide the necessary coverage.

For more information, visit cne.bbb.org.

The mission of Better Business Bureau is to promote and foster the highest ethical relationship between businesses and consumers, through voluntary self-regulation, business and consumer education, and service excellence. BBB of Central New England, Inc. was founded in 1940 and serves 225 communities in Worcester, Hampshire, Hampden, Franklin, and Berkshire counties, as well as parts of Middlesex County and seven towns in Connecticut. BBB of Central New England is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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