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UPDATED: Jul 1, 2017
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There are a couple of places that you can find auto insurance company ratings; however, your first stop should by your state’s Department of Insurance website.
The Department of Insurance in each state takes all of the complaints about an insurance company and puts them all in one place. Many rank the companies based on their time in business as well as their complaint levels.
The Department of Insurance is government run and is the place that all insurance companies have to go to in order to become licensed to sell car insurance in any state. In addition, this is the place where they log every:
When you visit the Department of Insurance website, you will have the option to look at car insurance companies by entering in a specific name or by viewing all of the companies that are licensed to sell insurance in your state.
The only information not provided here are websites for each insurance company; you will have to find those on your own.
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How do you find out if a car insurance provider has been sanctioned by the government?
When the government takes action against an insurance provider, the move is usually precipitated by a large number of complaints. Auto insurers are also periodically evaluated to ensure that they are operating according to law.
These evaluations are usually conducted by insurance inspectors and commissioners employed by the federal government. A written report is created detailing the findings and, if there is any evidence that indicates wrongdoing, a formal investigation is conducted.
When lawsuits are filed, they are recorded by companies such as PACER.
You can enter the name of an insurance provider to see if any lawsuits have been filed and when. In addition, the media usually covers and summarizes the details of major lawsuits.
State insurance commissioners usually give information in the form of press releases when an insurance company has been found to be acting illegally.
Are there other sources for finding auto insurance company ratings?
One excellent source for finding auto insurance company ratings is the Better Business Bureau. The BBB, however, is somewhat limited because not everyone reports complaints to the BBB.
In addition, some smaller companies aren’t rated at all because they are too small or too new to have caught the eye of the BBB.
However, if a car insurance company is ranked on the BBB, you will find that the rankings are available from A+ to F.
The BBB ranks a company based on their years in business, annual revenue, number of complaints, how many complaints were resolved and about 10 other factors as well.
If a company is a registered BBB member, this does not affect the objectivity by which the BBB ranks the company. Instead, this gives the BBB access to more information about that company so that they can provide a more accurate rating.
You can also use the Internet to find insurance company ranking sites. Typically, these sites are a little limited because they depend on customers just like you to join the site and then share their information.
Because there are so many sites like this online, all of that information isn’t really found in one cohesive place.
This, however, doesn’t mean that they don’t provide some value. You should search several sites and check the customer ratings for specific insurance companies. You should be able to get a feel for how an insurance company operates this way.
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Are consumer complaints against car insurers trustworthy?
Because many more consumers have access to the Internet than they did just five years ago, it is virtually impossible not to find at least a few consumer-based complaints against every car insurance company.
Some of these complaints are thoroughly detailed, but they are also somewhat biased. It is better to make a note of the type of consumer complaints being made to see if there are any similarities, rather than to individually give them much merit.
For instance, if you see that all of the consumer complaints listed against a particular company are centered around issues with customer service, you might want to look at where the complainants are located.
Although there is no excuse for poor customer service, there is a chance that the car insurance provider might have issues only with a single office.
However, consumer complaints that indicate that car insurance claims are being denied for no valid reason might indicate that there are serious, widespread problems.
What about financial rating companies, can they provide an auto insurance company rating?
Financial rating companies are an excellent way for you to determine whether or not a company is financially stable enough for you to give your money to.
There are several companies that provide these kinds of ratings; however, there are three companies that are considered the gold standard.
These companies are:
What these companies do is go through the financial records of each insurance company, their tax records, how many car insurance claims they have paid, how many new policies they write each year and so on.
Once they have compiled this information, they rate the company based on its ability to continue to support the company properly.
This includes paying claims to their customers, writing new policies and more. When a company can not only support the current client base but also support substantial growth then they are given a superior rating.
In most cases a company that has a B rating or better is doing well enough to at least pay their bills.
However, once a company’s rating starts dropping below a B, then they are given negative ratings and it is suggested that the company cannot support their current responsibilities, much less grow.
These companies also predict how the future of the company will be based on their current data. A company can have an A rating but an unstable outlook because they have the money to pay their current bills but not to sustain their growth, for example.
How should a company’s ratings affect what car insurance that I buy?
Well, this really depends on you. A company’s financial rating can affect you if you have a claim on your vehicle due to an accident. However, if you never have an accident, then a negative rating won’t impact you at all.
As for other types of ratings, you need to focus on the areas that are important to you. Is it more important to pay more for great customer service or do you want to pay less and have a little bit of a lower response rate to your questions, concerns, or claims.
What this boils down to is what you are willing to overlook and what you aren’t. No matter what you decide, however, you need to start with a car insurance quote.