California’s recent record-setting blazes have caused billions of dollars in property damage. As home insurers drop some customers and raise rates of others, many Californians find themselves in the market for a new carrier. Where can they look for solid, objective advice?
The California Department of Insurance is a good starting point. Their site includes general insurance information and explanations, as well as several tips for people seeking homeowners insurance. Notably, the department advises contacting local agencies and comparing brokers. Good advice, but how do you find them?
Starting with a Google search will likely produce an overwhelming number of results, so use online rating sites to get a feel for agencies’ overall customer satisfaction. For example, people looking for homeowners insurance lodi ca might use a general online search engine, then consult a ranking site like Yelp. Star ratings and extreme claims should be taken with a grain of salt, but read comments to see if patterns emerge that may be meaningful to your situation.
Ask friends and neighbors who they use and what kind of service they have received. Most people are eager to share their opinions of their insurance company. The nature of insurance makes it an easy target for complaints—you pay for it in the hopes you never need to use it—but it is a trend worth noting if several people in your area have similar feedback about the same company.
Once you have narrowed down your choices to a manageable number, do some in-depth research on the website of each potential insurer. Longevity can be a good indicator of reliability, so choose a firm that has been around at least several decades. Your needs differ from your neighbor’s, and your needs change over time, so choose someone with a wide array of options that can be tailored to your current individual situation. It is often best if your insurance agency can compare coverage and rates from multiple carriers and advise which would be best for you.