When people are shopping for insurance coverage – whether it’s health insurance, auto coverage or homeowners insurance – they often gravitate towards the cheapest solution. Homeowners in Florida should look past that one differentiator and consider each insurance company’s reputation when it comes to claims processing.
If you talk to three different homeowners who filed hurricane damage claims with three different insurance companies, you’ll likely hear three unique policyholder experiences. One may have gotten way more money than the other two, one may have had to fight tooth and nail just to get anything and the other may have gotten generous treatment on their additional living expenses.
Part of this variation has to do with the individual claims adjuster handling the case, but a big part of it is also the insurance company itself. Customer service is not uniform across the board, and it behooves policy holders to seek out companies that try to make the claims process easy and fair for policy holders.
Not every Yelp or Google reviewer is a reliable narrator. The good news is you can usually tell by their stories if the person leaving the review was likely in the wrong, meaning chances are good they are mischaracterizing the company they’re reviewing.
Insurance company reviews are no different. Some policy holders can get understandably irate when they find out their claim on an expensive loss is being denied due to some small print exclusion. That’s why actually reading through a dozen or more reviews regarding customer service is the better way to go.
Be wary of basing your judgement on a minority of disgruntled policy holders. Consider the context of the situations and look for patterns in behavior.
If you see a lot of reviews about claims adjusters who rush investigations and jump to inaccurate conclusions about damage types and repair costs, that could be a bad sign.
GAVOP lists a ton of Florida Home Insurance companies and assigns star ratings for a variety of categories, including things like customer service and product quality. If you click on the company, you can read reviews where people assign specific star ratings to a relevant category and leave a few sentences regarding their experience with the company.
Homeowners insurance shoppers should also seek out word-of-mouth recommendations. There are a lot of insurers operating in Florida. Chances are the other homeowners you know have obtained coverage from a variety of different companies. Ask them what their personal experiences have been like dealing with claims.
J.D. Power is one of the commonly known rating agencies in the nation. The consumer intelligence company has a reputation for extensive data collection and reaching out to consumers to get transparent feedback on services and products. If you’re struggling with your homeowners insurance choice, consider reading through their 2019 customer satisfaction analysis.
USAA is a clear winner on several of these scales, but that insurer is often put in its own category due to its exclusivity to active U.S. military members, their families and veterans. Other high-ranking insurance companies that operate in Florida include Amica Mutual, State Farm and Allstate.
If you’re shopping for homes, you may also want to ask the sellers of homes you’re seriously considering to provide a claims history report. Old homes, or those that have had a lot of past claims and defects, may end up requiring more claims in the future, meaning higher premiums in the long run.
Another word of warning – be careful entering your contact information into a home insurance estimator or comparison site. These websites are often tools for gathering user data to sell to advertisers and cold callers. Instead, use each company’s official website or call an official company agent.