Choosing the right type of insurance
Whether you're buying home, health, car, life or any of the many other types of insurance available, the wide variety of providers and plans can appear overwhelming. Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for insurance.
Focus on what you need
The first thing you should do is thoroughly consider your circumstances and particular insurance needs. For example, if you need auto insurance but have a bad driving record, you can select an insurance provider that specializes in drivers with bad records. Or if you're young, relatively healthy and don't have a family, you probably don't need to buy a fully-loaded health insurance plan. Tailor your search to your particular insurance needs and you will save yourself a lot of time and hassle.
If you're a student, you can take advantage of your school's insurance plan. Most colleges and universities provide very good health and dental insurance to their students while they are enrolled. The cost of this insurance is included in your registrations fees. If you are already covered by another insurance plan, you can usually choose to opt out of the school's plan and get your money back.
Weigh your options
The worst thing you can do when choosing an insurance provider is dive right in before getting as much information as possible. Be sure to comparison shop. Review several companies and compare benefits, coverage, exclusions and premiums. It's best to obtain full copies of each provider's policies - don't base your decision on summaries or advertisements.
Avoiding insurance fraud
Make sure you exercise a little caution when choosing an insurance company. Fraudulent insurance companies do exist, and they usually advertise via direct mail order, classified ads and the Internet. If you are considering buying insurance from a smaller company, be sure to verify that the insurance company is licensed in your particular state.
The bottom line
One final tip to keep in mind: make sure the insurer is financially stable before you purchase insurance. The last thing you want to find out after paying in is that your insurer has folded. Some smaller, less stable insurers offer low rates, but very limited and constricted services. Insurer ratings directories can be found on a number of websites and are a good way to research the financial stability of the insurance provider you are considering.