Prestorm Checklist Part 5, Insurance Agent Vs Insurance Company
Now that you have a basic understanding of your policy, and what it does and does not cover, you are better prepared to handle your claim, and the recovery process in case of storm damage. Even with a policy that I designed to give you the coverage you want, it is important to remember that insurance is only as good as the company that stands behind it.
This may be a touchy subject, if your agent is a long time friend, but remember that the agent is only a small part of the bigger picture and it is the insurance company that will actually write you the check when you begin your recovery process, so they had better be good! Think of it this way, when you go to a car lot to purchase a new vehicle, the salesman is part of the company that owns the car lot, or dealership. That salesman is much like your insurance agent. They sell a product, and to some extent stand behind it. Further up to the top of the ladder is the car’s maker. They are the ones that ultimately determine the quality of the vehicle you drive off the lot, and will be the ones to honor the warranty, in case of needed repairs.
Your agent may be your best friend, you may have named your first born after him, but he has very little control over how the insurer treats you, as the policy holder, in the event of a claim. That customer service record should be very important to you, since it is a good indication of how easy they will be to work with, when it comes to your claim.
The relationship you have built with your agent is important, but is not enough to stop an insurer from treating you like a criminal, rather than a victim, or severely under appreciating the value of your property, making your claim worth much less than the actual cost of recovery.
Most insurance companies are publicly held, and are responsible to their shareholders to make a profit. This can lead to insurance companies denying many claims, or forcing you, the policy holder, to fight tooth and nail for every penny, hoping you will give up. Insurance is there for crises. What good is the perfect coverage and price, if the insurer makes the recovery more difficult than the disaster, or even outright refuses to pay?
Do some research. In this day and age, it is easy to find many reviews, blog posts and other data regarding insurance companies and how they have handled claims. Of course, there are always bad stories with almost every company, but a consistent track record of poor treatment, or refusal to pay, may be a clear indication that it is time to consider alternatives.