Buying Insurance

Learn how to find a trustworthy and affordable insurance company.

Shop for Insurance

Before you buy insurance, do your homework. Research the insurance company to be sure that the company is financially sound and provides good service. Also find out what factors matter so that you can get the coverage you need at the best price.

Check Out the Insurance Company

  • Find out whether your state insurance department offers any information concerning insurance companies and rates.
  • Make sure the insurance company is licensed and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims in case the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
  • Check the financial stability and soundness of the insurance company with credit rating agencies.
  • Research the company’s complaint record.  
  • Find out what others think about the company’s customer service by reading online reviews from current customers.
  • Make sure you receive a written policy. This tells you that the agent forwarded your premium to the insurance company. If you don't receive a policy within 60 days, contact your agent and the insurance company.

Find the Best Rates

  • Compare quotes from several companies.
  • Ask your insurance agent about discounts. You may be able to get a lower premium if you have safety features in your home, such as deadbolt locks, smoke detectors, an alarm system, storm shutters, or fire-retardant roofing material. You may also save on car insurance based on your vehicle’s safety features, the number of miles you drive, your age, good grades if you’re a student, and your driving record. You might also be able to get discounts if you’re a member of civic or alumni associations, or have multiple policies with the same company.
  • Consider a higher deductible. Increasing your deductible by just a few hundred dollars can make a big difference in your premiums.

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Insurance Regulations

The laws and regulations of each type of insurance (home, life, auto, rental, and more) vary by state. However, there are also some federal insurance programs. While you should contact your insurance company first, a state insurance regulator is another great resource to find more information about an insurance company's policies or file a complaint.

Insurance Policy Information

  • If you have questions about employer-sponsored insurance programs, ask your employer's benefits administrator for assistance.
  • Contact your state insurance regulator for information to help you make informed insurance-buying decisions. 

Insurance Complaints

Federal Programs

While most insurance programs operate on the state level, the federal government runs a few programs exclusively and sometimes jointly with states.    

  • The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. If you live in an area prone to flooding, contact the NFIP.
  • Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide free or low-cost health coverage to millions of Americans, including some low-income people, families and children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with disabilities. You can apply for and enroll in either of these programs any time of year. If you qualify, your coverage can begin immediately. 
  • Medicare is the U.S. government's health insurance program for people of age 65 or older. 
  • If you are a federal government employee, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides information on health and other insurance programs. You can also find points of contact if you have questions. Learn about insurance programs for federal employees.
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Last Updated: April 25, 2018