Finding a Reputable Insurer

Easier said than done

Finding a Reputable Insurer

Your own insurability and getting quotes are only part of the shopping for auto insurance process. Finding a reputable insurer is the other, more important part. After all, you want an insurance company that has a history of good service. You want an insurance company with the ability to settle claims from its policyholders, a company with a strong financial outlook and relatively few complaints and most importantly, you want an insurer that’s legally entitled to do business in your state.

The first place you should look for this information is your local department of insurance. Each state government runs its own department of insurance that authoritatively supervises and regulates all insurance business in that state. Whichever one you live in, you’ll want to visit their website to access a cornucopia of free local insurance information and services for consumers.

While they may go be different names, your state’s insurance division helps consumers find reputable insurers by putting most of the important information at your fingertips. To find your state’s insurance authority, simply type “Division of Insurance” along with your “state” into a search engine. Click on the appropriate link (should be on top) and, voilà, you should be on their home page.

All complaints against insurance companies go through these departments. Besides being able to file your own complaints here, you can usually search the complaint index for the entire state to find out how many complaints were made, see the reasons complaints were filed, how they were handled, plus various other types of useful data.

The department of insurance can tell you whether or not a company you might be considering buying auto insurance from is licensed, how long it has been licensed for, how many complaints it’s received in recent years, its address and telephone number and, in some cases, a company’s rating.

Licensed insurers must meet state financial regulations as well as comply with state insurance laws and standards. If you buy from an unlicensed insurance provider, your department of insurance may have little or no regulatory authority to assist you if you have a problem. And, if an unlicensed company you bought from goes bankrupt, you’ll have zero protection under any of the state’s guarantee associations.

When it comes to rating the financial condition of an insurance company, you’ll need to look outside the department of insurance. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is a great place to start. Besides providing a gateway to all state insurance divisions, NAIC offers a free tool called the Consumer Information Source that lets you look up complaints and licensing as well as financial information for specific companies by state as long as they’re in the NAIC database. If you find the insurer you’re running checks on is not in the database, it’s probably a fraud.

In addition, there are several online private rating services that can help you decide which insurer is best suited for you based on financial analyses and other criteria. Private ratings carry no guarantees and each service is only giving you an opinion. However, these opinions can be as valuable as hard data since they do provide a degree of information, or insight, on financial positions of various insurers from a private analyst’s perspective.

Ratings can be obtained by phone, mail or Internet, but in order to make sense of these ratings for any given insurance company, a good practice is to always get an explanation of the rating criteria so you know how it applies. Another good habit is to get ratings from prior years so it can be compared to the most current information.

Here’s a list of some free rating services that provide rating information for insurance companies:

The A.M. Best Company provides unlimited access to browse its own Best’s Rating Center after signing up for a free online account. You can get detailed insurance scores and company information, including license and financial info for insurers and re-insurers worldwide. Many local libraries subscribe to Best’s Insurance Reports.

Fitch Ratings (www.fitchratings.com) has an alphabetical listing of over 2,700 insurance companies that it can provide ratings for on its website. The e-mail of the analyst(s) is provided on each rating along with the companiy’s NAIC identification number.

Moody’s Investor Service (www.moodys.com) gives unlimited ratings of insurance companies and other financial institutions via to registered users its online service. A free account is required.

Standard & Poors (www.standardandpoors.com) has its “RatingsDirect” service, which taps into credit (financial) ratings and research on companies in nearly 100 countries. The site is a bit hard to use, but you can sign up for a free account to view insurers credit ratings and company profiles.

You may also visit any of these sites to get a phone number with which you can call to speak to a person and get free ratings over the phone.

Whatever insurance company you decide to go with, just remember that it’s a choice you’ll have to make on your own. Hopefully it will be one you can live with.

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SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

 

AutoGuide.com’s Continental Control Sport Tires Giveaway – By subscribing to the AutoGuide.com Newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win four (4) Continental ControlContact Sport AS Tires, or four (4) Continental Control/Contact Tour AS Tires, sponsored by Discount Tire (value of $900.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff.

 

  1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

 

  1. PRIZE:One (1) Winner will be randomly selected to each receive:four (4) Continental ControlContact Sport AS Tires, or four (4) Continental Control/Contact Tour AS Tires from Discount Tire (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $900.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

 

  1. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older.VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production,  implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

 

  1. ENTER BY INTERNET:Beginning on Monday, August 1st, 2016, you may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to the Newsletter.

 

  1. SELECTION OF WINNER:One (1) entrant will be selected on or about August 13th, 2016 by random selection of entrants who have subscribed to the AutoGuide.com Newsletter. The winner will be contacted directly by a representative of Sponsor via email. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

 

  1. ODDS OF WINNING:Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

 

  1. RESTRICTIONS:The prize package consists of four (4) Continental ControlContact Sport AS Tires, or four (4) Continental Control/Contact Tour AS Tires from Discount Tire approximately valued at $900.00 USD.  If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor’s or Prize Supplier’s control (collectively, “Force Majeure Event”). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

 

  1. CONDITIONS:By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants’ names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States.VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

 

  1. SPONSOR:The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.
Enter for a chance to Win a set of tires by subscribing to the AutoGuide.com newsletter.
Read Contest Rules

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