Do you have a love/hate relationship with your house? It’s part of the family. Family can be a tricky relationship, can’t it?
When it’s new, it’s awesome! You sprint to the furniture store and home improvement stores to fill it up with cool stuff and fix up the yard. You host a few events with friends and family.
Then you think, “How about Thanksgiving at our house this year?”
Then, like any new member of the family, you begin to notice the little imperfections. The dining room is a little too small. If you’re in the shower when the toilet is flushed, you may need burn treatments. And what the heck are those brown patches in the yard?
It’s your most valuable asset. But it’s your biggest expense. If possible, you want the best of everything for it, but you don’t want to go broke paying for it!
That includes insurance. Which one is the best? Or more important, which one is the best for you? You can’t pick your family, but thankfully, you can pick your insurance company.
So, if your looking around, wondering who’s the best…
How can you compare insurance companies?
Why does it even matter?
I have my own opinion, but I’ll reserve that until the end. Let’s look at some unbiased reviews first.
This report from January 2018, by thesimpledollar.com compared Oklahoma home insurance companies based on the following things:
- Financial strength of the company: Why would this matter?
- Maybe it’s obvious, but you want your insurance company to have the money to pay claims, right?
- Coverage options and flexibility: Why would this matter?
- Most houses are similar. They have a roof, plumbing, and walls. But after that, the house becomes as unique as the owner wants it to be. Not every insurance company has a variety of coverage options.
- Ease and quality of claims service: Why would this matter?
- Many home insurance companies do not have full time claims adjusters. Instead, they contract independent adjusters as needed. It does help them offset the cost of their insurance, but the client pays for it in the claim experience.
The top 3 came out as State Farm, Liberty Mutual, and Farmers Insurance. There are still dozens of other home insurance companies to choose from.
Reviews.com took a little different approach in this article from August of 2017.
They compared the top five insurance providers in the state based on their market share. (This means they compared only the Oklahoma insurance companies that have the most clients.)
Reviews.com sought to obtain an insurance quote from each of them.
- Their coverage options and discounts were compared.
- Each company has similar coverages, but the ability to modify coverages based on specific needs is different from one company to another.
- Each provider’s financial strength and stability ratings were compared.
- Rankings from A.M. Best and Moody’s are the way financial stability is measured in the financial world.
- Customer satisfaction from Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates were compared.
- Surveys of customer satisfaction for things like ease of doing business and quality of claims service are important measurements for insurance companies. (Keep in mind, more people will report a negative experience than those that will report a positive experience.)
So, the Review.com approach was more of a review related to the ease of doing business with the insurance company. The top 5 were Farmers Insurance, State Farm, Liberty Mutual, Allstate, and USAA.
Okay enough sterile reviews by 3rd parties. Let’s set the ground rules for what qualifies for the “best” home insurance companies in Oklahoma.
- What should that be based on?
- Is it the best price?
- Is it the best claim service?
- Best website or mobile app?
- What about who has the best commercials on TV?
Maybe these things matter, but there is one thing missing….
Which one offers you a relationship?
The type of business relationship (agent or direct) you want to have with your insurance company may be the most important factor in determining which insurance company is the best one for you.
If having a good business relationship with your insurance company through a local agency is important, then you should start there.
Where can you find them?
Farmers Insurance, State Farm, Allstate, and Shelter have local agencies where you can actually walk in to an office and have a face-to-face meeting about your insurance plan.
Liberty Mutual, and AAA have local offices too. The key difference is the representatives here sell you the insurance policy, but do not really provide service your policy beyond the sale. They are sales employees for the company. When your policy renews or when you need to make changes to your policy or coverage, you will likely work through a regional phone service center.
There are other insurance companies like Travelers, Safeco, and Nationwide that are only available for purchase through insurance brokers, or independent insurance agencies.
Independent Insurance agents will usually represent several national and regional insurance carries. These insurance companies still count on the agency to create and maintain the relationship between the company and the client.
When you think of your insurance, WHO do you think of?
Is it your insurance agent and the people at your agent’s office? Do you have a good, trusting relationship with your insurance agency?
After all, the face of any company is the people that represent it. If that matters to you, then make sure you are placing the right amount of value on that relationship.
Prefer to go it alone?
If you don’t feel that a professional insurance advisor is important, there are companies that cater to a more impersonal insurance relationship.
These companies are counting their clients to do the work of an insurance agent for themselves – to educate themselves about their own insurance risks and the unique coverage needs they have.
Geico, Progressive, The General, and others like these companies do not typically have local insurance agents to sell and service their policies.
Many people perceive these companies to be less expensive because there is no “middle-man”.
Where this logic breaks down is when the advertising budgets are compared between say, Geico ($1.2 Billion) and Farmers Insurance ($140 million)
The perception of being less expensive is just that, a perception. The “middle-man” for these companies is advertising.
Let’s face it though. There are a large number of us that just don’t like shopping for insurance. Meeting face-to-face with salespeople makes some people want to grind their teeth!
Unfortunately, purchasing insurance online or over the phone often means you are not getting the same insurance experience and professional advice you would from an insurance company that has local agent representatives.
Because speed and ease-of-service is becoming more valuable every day. Most insurance companies are moving to more self-serve features for clients.
Even companies that have local agent representatives have technology for their clients to access their policy if necessary or desired.
When buying insurance from Geico or Progressive, for example, the customer understands they will need to understand how to access their policy information and billing directly from the company on their own. But, they can’t visit an agency office and meet with a familiar face.
Here’s the rub…
Who is the best home insurance company in Oklahoma? I would argue the company is only as good as the people working directly with you.
Having a personal-business relationship with a local agent has the best potential to protect your assets. People are never perfect, but they can be held accountable more easily than a website or a phone number.
Insurance usually doesn’t matter until you need to use it, right?
Insurance is a contract. In fact, it’s one of the most significant contracts people reading this right now, have.
Unfortunately, insurance is bought and sold like a commodity, not the financial contract it actually is.We, too often buy based on the cheapest price, even though we know quality matters.
Time is precious and frankly, most of us don’t give our insurance the level of attention it deserves.
Having an insurance professional sit across a desk with you and discuss your needs in a conversational and collaborative way has the best potential to result in a coverage plan you can trust.
You can’t pick your family, but you can pick the best insurance company for you. In my opinion, that’s Allen Drew Insurance Agency! Contact us to see if we are the best for you.