San Diego, California - A home insurance policy is a must to protect an owner from the expense of a potentially large loss, but not all insurance companies are easy to deal with. In Consumer Reports new survey, Amica, USAA, and Auto-Owners were among the highest-scoring insurance companies.
The report, which includes the full Ratings of 14 insurance companies and advice for winning home insurance claims and saving money on policies, is featured in the May 2014 issue of Consumer Reports and at www.ConsumerReports.org.
Consumer Reports’ insurance company Ratings are based on responses from 9,905 of those surveyed who filed claims from January 2010 to June 2013. Amica, USAA, and Auto-Owners were judged more favorably than most other insurers for overall satisfaction with claims handling. Each was also rated highly for the following: damage estimate, problem-free claims experience, premium paid, agent courtesy, and timely payment. Amica also stands out for earning the top spot as long as Consumer Reports has been evaluating insurance companies since 1988.
Winning an Insurance Claim
Findings from the survey helped Consumer Reports compile advice that can help consumers when filing a home-insurance claim. The first step is to choose a top insurer based on the Ratings. Homeowners should also be prepared for a fight and prepare themselves long before a disaster. And, if there’s a mortgage on the home, there may be extra steps to take to get the payment from the insurance company as the bank will want proof of the work before releasing the funds.
Five Ways to Save on Home Insurance
Here are some tips from Consumer Reports to save money on home insurance policies:
Shop periodically for a better deal. About 9 percent of respondents to Consumer Reports’ survey switched home insurers in the previous three years, mostly because they got a better price elsewhere.
Don’t underinsure. Insufficient coverage can cost money when it’s time to make a claim; almost 1 in 10 of Consumer Reports subscribers said they found themselves in that boat.
Buy home and auto insurance from the same company. One in seven of Consumer Reports readers who filed claims didn’t tap this money saver, which can cut costs by up to 30 percent.
Raise the deductible. Insurance should be used to cover bigger losses, not just a single window a deductible of $1,000 will reduce the annual premium.
Nip loss risks in the bud. Even when losses are covered, they come with the cost of deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses, and can lead to higher future premiums. Homeowners can avoid that by preventing perils particular to the region in which they live.
The full report and Ratings of home insurance companies, which includes more advice on how to share on policies and tips on winning a claim, is featured in the 2014 May issue of Consumer Reports and at www.ConsumerReports.org.