You are looking for cheap car insurance…but do you want good insurance service if you need to make a claim?  Picking a good performing insurance company is not necessarily what you think about when you are trying to save money. If you have had to make a claim against your insurance company and struggled with claims, then you’ve found out the hard way that you car insurance company service is not that great.   However, there are some options for you to check out you car insurance company’s performance and financial health before your start or continue you car insurance with that company.

There are rating companies that can provide you information on whether a car insurance company has a good reputation with its customers.  J.D. Power surveys policyholders across the nation to rate car insurance companies.  The insurance companies are then rated based on price, coverage options, claims handling, satisfaction with customer representatives and overall satisfaction with the car insurance company.

The financial rating of the car insurance company you pick is also important.  With today’s economy, formerly strong companies may not be able to meet their financial obligations, including claims filed against you that would otherwise be covered.  Financial ratings of car insurance companies can give you extra assurance that your company will cover in the event of an accident.  While financial health of a car insurance company won’t be indicative of you they will treat you if you file a claim, it will give you the peace of mind that your claim will be paid.

There are two sources to check for financial health of your prospective car insurance company  – A.M. Best and Standard and Poors.  The A.M. Best ratings are given as letter grades from A++ (its highest ranking) to a low of D. Some companies may be assigned ratings of E (indicating regulatory action regarding the company’s financial ability to pay claims), F (in liquidation or bankruptcy) and S (suspended by its regulator).  In any case, when you choose a car insurance company, choose one with at least a B+ rating.

The Standard & Poor’s ratings are also given as letter grades, ranging from AAA (the highest rank) to a low of CC. In addition, it also has ranking for insurance companies in financial trouble – R for regulatory supervision and NR, which means “not rated.” The letter grades might be modified by a plus or minus mark. When you are shopping for car insurance, be sure to choose a car insurance company with at least a rating of BBB.

If all this information is too confusing, you may also want to consult an insurance agent who is knowledgeable about car insurance products. Be aware that there are two different kinds of agents – a independent and captive agent.   An independent agent can help you look at a few different insurance company financial and performance indicators and make a recommendation to you.  There are also captured agents who represent only one insurance company. A captured agent may have bias towards its own insurance products but some well known companies use only captive agents so to get a full picture of you insurance options, you may need to contact a captured insurance agent.