In disasters, look for good customer service

When you seek New York home insurance quotes, one of the most important things you need to look at is the carrier’s customer service.  It seems unimportant when we are not in the thick of a natural disaster, doesn’t it? But when you experience a fire or hurricane and lose valuable possessions or even everything you own, that’s when customer service really counts. You want a company that is attuned to what you are going through and whose policies and procedures are eased for times like that in a fast track way.

It doesn’t seem like it should be top priority, but how an agent handles an emotional caller is critically important. Most policyholders who have suffered a catastrophic loss can be angry, teary, frustrated, exhausted—and can take out those feelings on an agent. A good phone agent is one who can swing with these emotions, understanding that they are natural byproducts of going through a trauma.

You also need to be able to reach the carrier fast. Is there are 24/7 phone number? Can you speak to a real person? There are few things as frustrating as a complex phone tree in an emergency. You are going to need action and fast.

What will the carrier do to make sure you have temporary food and shelter? Does your policy call for hotel stay reimbursement? What other emergency supplies can be covered?

How quickly can you get a check? How fast is their claim response time? How can you file a claim if you do not have computer access or your cell phone? You may not be thinking of these things now, but in a disaster, they will come up.

Bigger picture, what about the replacement value of your home?  Most people don’t think to check that annually to make sure it is sufficient. Imagine how they feel after a loss when they find their coverage doesn’t give them the leeway to rebuild as they once did. That is why it’s important to review your coverage in detail thinking ahead to what may happen, as opposed to what is happening now.

Consumer review sites are a good initial way to get a feel for how a carrier interacts with its customers. Knock out the highest and most glowing reviews as well as those that bash and burn. It’s the middle ground where all your best information can be found.