home insurance reviews

Best homeowners insurance providers

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The best homeowners insurance provider is a matter of, well, opinion. Facts can be assembled to demonstrate superior service or rates or coverage. However, in the end, an insurance customer often lauds one company over another because of immeasurable attributes like “friendliness” and “caring.” Neither of those qualities is measurable on a rational scale, yet they honestly reflect how a homeowner has ultimately evaluated his insurance provider.

So “best” is subjective. Yet every homeowners insurance company can be judged according to industry criteria that are purely objective. Pricing is one such criterion. The bottom line is the bottom line and every homeowner looks there first in evaluating an insurance policy quote. A company striving to be the best homeowners insurance provider in an area must be price competitive. The price of a policy can be a little higher than the competitors’ prices, but only if there is perceived extra value in a policy.

The “best” company also will have its act together in providing homeowners billing and processing that is easily accessible, easily understood, and straight forward in its intent. Upsetting small print won’t be found in the policy documents of an insurance provider wanting to be deemed the best. By the same token, a company representative should be easily reached and the company operated transparently. An insurer that operates mysteriously does not inspire confidence and probably will not be forthcoming when disaster strikes a home.

The variety of coverages offered by a company will add to its luster. If choices are few, a provider does not really seem to be in business to benefit homeowners. When customer policies are so rigid as to be intimidating, a company has little hope of winning and keeping the loyalty of homeowners. Only so much flexibility is possible in any financial transaction, but circumstances sometimes require a little more give than take and a “best” company is structured to do just that.

What the best homeowners insurance provider covets is high placement in the category of “Best Overall Satisfaction.” This category of evaluation contains both subjective and objective criteria. It summarizes what customers have concluded about a company—that is, what they think of a company, how well they perceive a company works with them, how they feel—yes, feel—about a company. Good feelings make for good customers, and the best homeowners insurance providers know the feeling.

 

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Home insurance rates can vary

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Home insurance rates are subjectively determined. They are not neatly listed in a book, each ready to be pulled out and applied to a home. That is the first rule that a homeowner must understand when he is looking for a suitable rate on a policy to protect his home: His rate might differ substantially from his neighbor’s.

Home insurance rates vary greatly from state to state. Straight across the country, North Carolina’s average 12-month home insurance rate is $654, Oklahoma’s is $1,730, and California’s is $803, according to homeinsurance.com. The average premium is $853. The variation is wide and based somewhat on regional factors, including weather hazards, fire protection standards, and construction material and costs. Identical homes in different parts of the country will not have identical rates, just as the homes won’t have identical selling prices.

However, one needn’t travel across the country to find $600 annual home insurance rates and $800 annual rates. The varying rates can be in as close proximity as literally next door. That’s because important distinctions can be made between two houses in a neighborhood. One might be older than the other, and the age of a home is a consideration for an insurer. One might have a new roof and another one a potentially leaky one; insurers are concerned about what that means for a house structure and its contents.

Other variables includes whether the occupants of a home smoke—discarded cigarettes have started many a home blaze—and whether the house is constructed of brick or wood. Obviously, brick is less flammable. How close is the nearest fire department station? A crucial few minutes in response time can mean the difference between a partial loss and a total one. Also in the mix of a rate evaluation are a homeowner’s claims history and credit score.

Home insurance rates are a composite of many factors, in other words, some of which are evident, some of which are not. A larger house is going to have a more expensive rate than a smaller one, it stands to reason, but a larger home constructed of brick on a street a block from a fire station might have a lower rate than a somewhat smaller house located in a more perilous part of town. Buying a house and wondering what home insurance rate it might carry? Look at the house as an insurer does, and the rate will become self-evident.

 

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