There are tons of insurance providers out there. How do you sift through all the competing voices and find the right insurance provider for your needs? This blog post will give you the tools you need to select the best insurance for you.
The Features of Insurance Plans
Most insurance providers offer similar coverage and benefits, and most will cover pre-existing conditions and preventative services. What normally sets them apart are other factors:
- Plan Categories: Many insurance providers offer different tiers of coverage within an insurance type. When you look at the different tiers, choose one that covers you fully without putting a strain on your wallet.
- Provider Network: Some insurance companies often work closely with certain specialists, like doctors. You can get better deals on medical treatments if you work with doctors on the insurance company’s provider network.
- Monthly Premiums: You will have to send your insurance provider a check (or premium) every month. The amount that you pay depends on your insurance provider and the tier of coverage you chose. You should find an insurance plan with full coverage for a low monthly premium, which is why you should always compare rates before buying insurance.
- Out-of-pocket Costs: This is what you pay in addition to your monthly premiums, also known as the copay. It’s the percentage of any medical treatment or repair that the insurance company won’t help you pay for. Different insurance companies offer different amount, so compare out-of-pocket costs before buying insurance too.
The Guide to Choosing Coverage
Once you’ve identified the differences between the insurance providers around you, you need to decide what kind of coverage you need. Here’s how you do that:
- Identify what you absolutely need protection for. If your family is predisposed to a certain illness, or if you have a teenager that will start driving soon, you need to make sure your insurance fully covers all the risks associated with those scenarios.
- Don’t get more coverage than you need. Most insurance providers have some flexibility when it comes to choosing what your plans do or don’t cover. Don’t overbuy insurance. Find a plan that suits your individual needs, giving you the coverage you require at a price you can afford.
- Check the insurance provider’s network. Does it have dependable, reputable doctors and hospitals on it? Do you already have a doctor you trust? If you do, you’ll want to make sure that doctor is listed on the provider network.
- Check the details. How much will you pay out of pocket? Does the coverage extend to medications? What is the annual limit on coverage and services? Insurance companies do have limits for covering the cost of procedures. Make sure you have answers to all of these questions before you buy. As long as you ask questions and read the fine print, you shouldn’t have any illusions about what your insurance covers.
The Debate: Online vs. In Person
When you shop for your next insurance provider, should you do it online, or should you do it in person? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
When you shop online, you can compare providers and plans side by side in quick succession. You can quickly identify which plans provide the type of coverage you’re looking for, and you can select the companies you’re want more information from.
When you shop in person, you’re able to ask the insurance agent direct questions, and you’ll receive direct answers. You won’t have to worry about ambiguous language or missing information because you can just get clarification from the agent. However, this means that you won’t get to compare plans side by side, and you’ll have to deal with the agent’s loyalty to his or her insurance company—any responsible agent will try to sell to you.
The best way to shop for insurance is to start online, finding companies that you like, and then interview an agent at each of those companies to get full clarification. Only then can you can a truly informed decision.
There are some situations where you don’t have to just choose one insurance provider. If you work with an insurance brokerage instead, you can mix and match different insurance plans with different insurance providers. Insurance brokerages also guide you through the entire process of finding a thorough, affordable plan.
Insurance brokerages like Thomson Schindle Green Insurance & Financial Services are dedicated to helping you protect what matters to you. If you would like to learn more about choosing an insurance provider, give us a call. We’d be happy to help.
Calgary Insurance: 403.723.9416
Medicine Hat Insurance: 403.526.3283
Brooks Insurance: 403.501.5123