General Tips When Shopping for Insurance

One of the most common insurance crimes occurs when a producer pockets a premium payment instead of forwarding it to an insurance company. The victim never receives a policy from an insurance company or may receive a fraudulent policy. They often learn they have no coverage after a claim occurs.

Try to do business with producers who have a good reputation in your community. Talk to friends and relatives, and learn from their experiences.

Pay your premium by check or money order made payable to the insurance company, not the producer. It is not a good idea to pay in cash, but if paying with cash is your only option, make sure you are provided a receipt listing the name of the insurance company.

Make sure you receive your policy within sixty days. Your policy must be an original; do not accept a copy. Verify premiums paid and total premiums listed on declaration page are correct.

You are encouraged to report unlicensed producers and companies to the Alabama Department of Insurance, and to file a request for assistance if you feel that you have been victimized. All complaints are investigated.  Online Complaint Form

Become aware of unauthorized insurance, which is the sale of policies by companies that are not licensed, or otherwise entitled to do business in Alabama.

Policies issued by unauthorized insurance companies have no backing by Alabama guaranty funds, which means that if the company becomes insolvent, your policy may not provide your benefits.

It is easy to find out if a company or producer is licensed. Contact the Alabama Department of Insurance at (334) 241-4141 or check on this web site. Results of your search will be given and you can click on the name to find out more information about the producer or company. You need to ask the following questions:

  • Is this producer licensed? It helps to have his or her full name and address.
  • Is this company licensed to do business in Alabama? Be sure to have the company's full name, because some names are similar.