Though not as comprehensive as Allstate’s offerings, State Farm’s tools, discounts, and resources are all top-notch. The Simple Insights blog provides tips for everything from fire prevention and home security strategies to house shopping and landlord advice. Many topics even feature video tutorials. State Farm writes more homeowners insurance policies than any other carrier in the nation, which speaks to its exceptional customer retention. Keeping policyholders informed plays a major role.
Insurance brokerage is largely associated with general insurance (car, house etc.) rather than life insurance, although some brokers continued to provide investment and life insurance brokerage until the onset of new regulation in 2001. This drove a more transparent regime, based predominantly on upfront negotiation of a fee for the provision of advice and/or services. This saw the splitting of intermediaries into two groups: general insurance intermediaries/brokers and independent financial advisers (IFAs) for life insurance, investments and pensions.
When it comes to online resources, don’t expect much information or assistance from MetLife. Its website is barebones, with nothing more than a seven-question FAQ and landing page. Also, only people in 10 states have the option to get a quote online. For those who like to do extensive research online before making a call to a sales person, MetLife won’t have the online presence to satisfy a purchasing decision.
An insurance broker is experienced in different types of insurance and risk management. They help individuals and companies procure insurance for themselves, their homes, their businesses or their families. Brokers may focus on one particular type of insurance or industry, or they could provide advice on many different types of insurance. They provide a service to their customers in helping them find and buy insurance — usually at no cost to their client.
Although insurance brokers work for their clients, they aren’t paid by them. Instead, they make commissions based on their sales. The commission is a percentage of the premium cost and varies by state law. It usually is between two and eight percent of the premium. If you work with a broker to buy homeowners, automobile, health, business, life or any other type of insurance, you will not pay them a fee for the services they provide.
If you make any home improvements or security upgrades, you might be able to reduce your premium — but only if you tell your insurer. Before investing in any renovations on your home, double-check what discounts are available. Chances are you already have the basics down, such as deadbolts and smoke alarms. But your insurer may reduce your rate if you go the extra mile with carbon monoxide detectors and home security systems (provided they're monitored). That also extends to improvements that help guard against natural disasters, like storm shutters and stronger windows. However, not every addition will help your premium. Trampolines, swimming pools, and “risky” dog breeds such as pit bulls will make your homeowners insurance company cringe. They’re all liability concerns, and liability concerns make rates go up.
In the United States, insurance brokers are regulated by the individual U.S. states. Most states require anyone who sells, solicits, or negotiates insurance in that state to obtain an insurance broker license, with certain limited exceptions. This includes a business entity, the business entity's officers or directors (the "sublicensees" through whom the business entity operates), and individual employees. In order to obtain a broker's license, a person typically must take pre-licensing courses and pass an examination. An insurance broker also must submit an application (with an application fee) to the state insurance regulator in the state in which the applicant wishes to do business, who will determine whether the insurance broker has met all the state requirements and will typically do a background check to determine whether the applicant is considered trustworthy and competent. A criminal conviction, for example, may result in a state determining that the applicant is untrustworthy or incompetent. Some states also require applicants to submit fingerprints.
‡‡ Some benefits, such as the Disappearing Property Deductible, are only available with the optional Advantage Plus package. A policy without these added benefits is also available. To qualify for the Disappearing Property Deductible, homeowners must have no claims or losses for three consecutive years in most states. The Advantage Plus package option and the Disappearing Property Deductible benefit are not available in all states.
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Progressive offers a unique Inflation Guard endorsement that will dynamically adjust coverage amounts to keep up with inflation, so the money you’ll need for repairs will be sufficient even as the market’s construction costs rise. Its coverage extends to cover things like pools, sheds, and fences at no additional cost. Progressive also offers a watercraft endorsement that allows you to extend your personal liability and medical coverage to small sailboats and motor boats.
Insurance agents, often referred to as “captive” agents, typically represent one insurance company. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, represent multiple insurance companies to ensure that you are connected with the right insurance for you. An agent acts as a conduit to provide information to insurance buyers. The insurance buyer then has the option to choose from available policies and contracts from the insurer offered through the agent. These policies and contracts are decided through contractual agreements that the insurance agents have with the insurers to meet certain guidelines.
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Along with State Farm, Liberty Mutual has one of the lowest Consumer Reports reader scores on this list. Those numbers revolve around the company’s claims system: how quickly agents respond, how simple the process is, how timely and fair payments are. And while Liberty Mutual’s score isn’t poor — dubbed “very good” across the board — it doesn’t quite compare to the “excellent” ratings brought home by our other picks. This is worth considering if you live in a disaster-prone area like the East Coast, where the likelihood that you’ll have to file a claim is high and it’s important to choose a provider that makes them as painless as possible.
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Credit score, location, condition of plumbing and electrical, vulnerability to wind damage/earthquakes/floods, claim history, replacement cost, dog breed, wood-burning stove, home-based business, remodeling, home liability limits, insurance score, marital status, age and construction of home, trampoline or swimming pool or hot tub, roof condition, proximity to fire station, square footage, number of inhabitants, area claim history, security systems and safety features, etc.
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However, not all homeowners insurance policies are the same. The Hartford is the only home insurance company endorsed by AARP. With our flexible options, savings and expert service, you’ll know that your home is getting the best protection possible. Get a homeowners insurance quote today and start saving your money and securing your home with The Hartford.