Amica, USAA, & Auto-Owners Among Top Home Insurance Companies in New Survey. Plus, Consumer Reports gives some tips for winning a home insurance claim and five ways to save on a policy. Consumer Reports‰Ûª insurance company ratings are based on responses from 9,905 of those surveyed who filed claims from January 2010 to June 2013.

A home insurance policy is a must to protect an owner from the expense of a potentially large loss, but not all insurance companies are easy to deal with. In Consumer Reports’ new survey, Amica, USAA and Auto-Owners were among the highest-scoring insurance companies.

The report, which includes the full ratings of 14 insurance companies and advice for winning home insurance claims and saving money on policies, is featured in the May 2014 issue of Consumer Reports and at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Consumer Reports‰Ûª insurance company ratings are based on responses from 9,905 of those surveyed who filed claims from January 2010 to June 2013. Amica, USAA and Auto-Owners were judged more favorably than most other insurers for overall satisfaction with claims handling. Each was also rated highly for the following: damage estimate, problem-free claims experience, premium paid, agent courtesy and timely payment. Amica also stands out for earning the top spot as long as Consumer Reports has been evaluating insurance companies since 1988.

Winning an Insurance Claim

Findings from the survey helped Consumer Reports compile advice that can help consumers when filing a home-insurance claim. Homeowners should be prepared for a fight and prepare themselves long before a disaster. And, if there‰Ûªs a mortgage on the home, there could be extra steps to take to get the payment from the insurance company as the bank will want proof of the work before releasing the funds.

Five Ways to Save on Home Insurance

Here are some tips from Consumer Reports to save money on home insurance policies:

  1. Shop periodically for a better deal. Approximately 9% of respondents to Consumer Reports‰Ûª survey switched home insurers in the previous three years, mostly because they got a better price elsewhere.
  2. Don‰Ûªt underinsure. Insufficient coverage can cost money when it‰Ûªs time to make a claim; almost 1 in 10 of Consumer Reports subscribers said they found themselves in that boat.
  3. Buy home and auto insurance from the same company. One in seven of Consumer Reports readers who filed claims didn‰Ûªt tap this money saver, which can cut costs by up to 30%.
  4. Raise the deductible. Insurance should be used to cover bigger losses, not just a single window a deductible of $1,000 will reduce the annual premium.
  5. Nip loss risks in the bud. Even when losses are covered, they come with the cost of deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses, and can lead to higher future premiums. Homeowners can avoid that by preventing perils particular to the region in which they live.

According to AudienceSCAN, 22.6% of consumers plan to pay for homeowners or renters insurance in the next 12 months. Emphasize how important it is for your insurance clients and prospects to reach them as they’re making their decision. Work some of the tips above into the ad copy so insurers come across as helpful and caring to new policy buyers. Note that 48% of home/rental insurance buyers live in suburban areas. 55.5% of this audience set a personal goal to reduce debt or increase savings, and saving them money on insurance could help them accomplish this.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports inåÊAdMall.