3 tips for choosing an insurer who will give you a great deal

October 24, 2014

Is it time to renew your car and home insurance policies? Choosing an insurer isn’t complicated as long as you know what to shop around for.

3 tips for choosing an insurer who will give you a great deal

1 . Do some research

Of course you know that you should ask around first, but if time is short and your policies are running out you may be tempted to skip this step. During your weekly chat with your sister or on coffee break with your co-workers, ask them about their insurers. Are they satisfied with the customer service? Did their broker find them some good deals for coverage and premiums?

Check with the national and provincial insurance bureaus. Here are some of the recommended questions to ask a potential insurance agent, especially if you’re looking at an independent broker:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Are you a member of a professional association?
  • What services do you offer after selling an insurance product?
  • Are you licensed with a provincial regulator?

2. Shop around

Home and vehicle insurance prices vary greatly from one company to another. According to the IBC, more than 214 private damage insurance brokers are currently competing for your business here in Canada. That’s good news for the consumer. Some agents gear their services for niche sectors of the population, such as seniors or members of professional associations, and their prices are cheaper for those groups. That's why you should request quotes from at least three agents before choosing an insurer.

Compare carefully

When you’re getting quotes from different insurers, make sure that the basic coverage terms and endorsements are the same when you compare the premiums. Most companies offer similar coverage plans, but there may be endorsement variations and additional guarantees. Many also offer discounts for the first two years of the contract. That kind of offer is tempting, but if you don’t take the time to shop around again in two years, you’ll be stuck with higher premiums.

3 . Give weight to service and trustworthiness

Whether you’re dealing with a direct agent from a big insurance company or with a licensed broker, it’s important that you feel a certain level of trust with the person serving you. Too often, people allow the premium alone to be the criterion for choosing an insurer. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the person take the time to answer my questions?
  • Does it feel like they are just trying to make a sale?
  • Is he or she available when needed?
  • Is the procedure for filing a claim going to be easy or complicated with this broker?

And repeat

Is your homework done? You can rest easy, until your policy expires again, that is. And when that time comes, be sure to repeat the process so you’ll get the best coverage available for the best price.

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