Today I received the yearly card I get from my insurance provider and I thought about writing this post, since it's a very important thing to think about depending where you're moving to. One very distinct difference between Brazil and the US or England or Switzerland is that Brazilians (in general, with a few exceptions) don't like paying for stuff they don't think they need. If they don't think they need car insurance or house insurance, or worse, health insurance, they won't get it. I never learned how important it was to have all of that until many years after I had left the country.
In the US you have insurance for everything. Is it a horrible industry? Yes, do I like insurance companies? Nope, but it's a necessary evil. And my opinion is, get the best that you can afford at that point in your life. If you then get a better job and can afford a higher premium, with a better company, go for it.
My insurance is State Farm. I looove state farm, ok, maybe this is an exaggeration, remember, it's a necessary evil. No, they're not paying me to say that, it's just the opposite really, I'm paying them a lot of money yearly, but they are good.
When I lived in S. Carolina, and got my first car ever, I went with Allstate, it was cheaper and it, but then I had a problem and they weren't helpful at all, made everything so difficult, that I changed. I hired State Farm. What a difference. They made my life so much easier.
After I married, I realized that Paul also was a fan, so we stayed with State Farm, everywhere we lived in the US, we've hired them to take care of our stuff, and by that I mean, cars, homes, motorbikes,
They aren't on the cheaper side, but at least we know they will get it sorted. A few months ago, I bought a new car, it wasn't even 3 months and when I was riding the freeway, a stone hit the windshield, making a big damage. The crack was getting bigger by the hour, especially with the hot weather. Within a day of calling them, they had sent someone to replace it.
So, here are a few things to consider when purchasing home or car insurance in the US and a few links to the main ones:
Price - always check not only what the premium will be, but any hidden costs. Do they offer a discount if you pay yearly or maybe if you have car/house/life insured with them? Ah, and in some states the rates are set by law, which means that if you're paying a cheap price, you're not getting all the coverage you would.
Coverage - what will they cover if something happen? Does the company you are talking to cover everything you need?
Deductible - how much will you have to fork out if anything happens?
Access - can you reach them easily? Is there a live body you can talk to? Do you feel comfortable when you visit their office and speak to them face to face? Do they return phone calls?
Main insurance companies in the US, in no particular order:
- State Farm
- Geico (auto only, I think)
- Liberty Mutual
Funny, as I was writing the names, their ads all came to my mind, the jingle for nationwide, the duck for aflac, the gecko for geico... oh dear, I'm losing it...
In summary, each city or state has hundreds of other companies, it's worth having a look and researching, what is good for me, might not be good for you... just make sure they send you a birthbday card ;-)