How to shop for property insurance

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Check out which insurers have the most policies in your county, their contact information and a comparison of their rates for two particular types of homes at the state's Shop and Compare Rates website, shopandcomparerates.com.

Try the state's free referral service, the Florida Market Assistance Program. It matches customers who can't find property insurance with licensed agents and insurers selling new policies. Information on the program is available at http://www.fmap.org.

Enlist the help of one or more independent insurance agents, an agent that sells policies for multiple companies. You can find one by searching the Florida Association of Insurance Agents website, http://www.faia.com/Custom/agentlocator.aspx.

Ask your agent to check ratings done by A.M. Best, Demotech and other rating agencies for insurers you're considering. Rating agencies typically evaluate the financial health of an insurer by examining, among other things, how much cash it has compared to its potential risk. Some rating agencies provide summaries of their evaluations on their websites.

Review licensing and financial information for insurers on Florida Office of Insurance Regulation's website, http://www.floir.com, the Florida Department of Financial Service's site, http://www.fldfs.com, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, naic.org. You can compare complaints filed about insurers at https://apps.fldfs.com/complaintcomparison/home.aspx

More information is available by calling the Department of Financial Services at (877) 693-5236 or (850) 413-3089.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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