An insurance company’s financial strength is the best indicator of its ability to pay claims.You can check on an insurer's financial strength by checking their ratings from major rating agencies.
You can check on an insurer's financial strength by checking their ratings from major rating agencies1:
Before you choose an insurance provider, make sure they offer products that meet your needs. For instance, not all companies provide both term and permanent life policies. Likewise, some insurers may have failed to keep pace with changes in the marketplace. Look for a company who can help protect you now and as your needs change in the future.
For some types of insurance, the price (premium) varies greatly, so it pays to get quotes from various companies or agents. When comparing prices, be careful to match coverage as closely as possible, and check for features that might prove costly in years to come. For example, some life insurance policies are guaranteed renewable for the policy term, while others may require that you pass a medical exam in the future to maintain low rates.
Also, for products that don't have a guaranteed premium (like long-term care and some forms of disability insurance), you should research whether the company has a history of increasing rates on existing customers while introducing new products at lower prices.
Whether you need to file a claim or process a change in your policy, you'll want your inquiries handled efficiently and professionally. Asking friends and co-workers about their satisfaction with their insurers can also be helpful as can online rating sites. Your state insurance department may provide information on the relative number of complaints received about a company.
You might also want to make sure that it is easy and convenient to contact the company. Are their telephone hours convenient for you? Do they provide enough online information and transactional capabilities?
Purchasing insurance is an important financial decision. It is worthwhile to do your research and make sure you are selecting a company with products and services that meet your needs, as well as premiums you can afford.
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TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company, New York, New York.
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