The right agent can provide the right insurance

Are all home and auto insurance carriers the same?

Of course not.

When it comes to protecting your most valuable and expensive belongings, making sure you have the right carrier and support is essential. When a claim occurs, you want the insurance provider to look for coverage, not a discount.

Depending on the size of your home, you may be eligible to receive coverage offered by home owners. In Northeast Ohio, a home that is 3,000-plus square feet is often required to have premium home insurance. These carriers offer higher limits, more personal liability and more coverage for jewelry, art and collectibles. Real estate appraisers offer in-person appraisals where their home inspector comes to take pictures and write down exactly what the home looks like to determine its replacement value.

Additional features such as the removal of the deductible on claims for certain expenses and the opportunity to get money instead of rebuilding the house are additional benefits that the owners of these valuable private carriers include in their policies. Self-reporting cyber coverage is a complex issue and very few carriers include this as an option.

When it comes to auto insurance, some carriers may require you to use their own authorized repair shops or simply pay for generic replacement parts versus auto parts for auto repair. Good carriers will not reduce the rental car return to a fraction of a dollar a day and will provide certified windshield repair if there are cracks in the windshield at zero cost to the insurance. If the car is total, the top insurance companies will pay the agreed price that is specified on the policy against the blue premium price, you have no power to negotiate.

What’s even more surprising is that these luxury carriers are not expensive. When small carriers see big houses, luxury cars or expensive jewelry and art, they often increase the fees but still provide mediocre service and service. The top carriers are just documenting this type of business and have cut their prices accordingly, keeping prices low.

Beyond the reviews, how the carrier treats you during the application process is the biggest difference. You want the carrier to be responsive, to allow you to bring your contracts and look at the payment methods you want so you don’t get rejected or stressed. Customers of a high quality carrier are more likely to be happy with the carrier’s performance than they are to brag to their friends and family instead of complaining.

The top carriers known to include all the best bells and whistles are: AIG, Berkley One, Chubb, Cincinnati, Nationwide Private Client, PURE, Westfield and Vault. To get a quote from one of these carriers, buyers must work with an independent property & casualty insurance provider. These carriers do not work directly with consumers.

In addition to having the right carrier, it’s also important to work with the right agent. An independent agent with multiple carrier options will ensure that you always have options for your renewal, staying updated in today’s insurance market. Your agent should also be your advocate and carrier when claims are made to ensure that the agent responds quickly and accurately. Annual reviews from your agent should include a discussion of any changes to your property to ensure your insurance is updated appropriately.

When an accident happens, the last thing anyone wants is to find out that the insurance provider is not there to pay. Consumers pay thousands of dollars each year and need to be confident that when the unexpected happens, their carrier will be there to respond. However, it is up to the buyer to make sure they have the right carrier to begin with.

Michelle Hirsch is vice president of Brunswick Companies in Garfield Heights.

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