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Ask the Car Insurance Expert

How do I find out if an insurance company is dependable?

That's an important question to consider, and one too many cost-conscious consumers neglect to ask. Quality is just as important as price.

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Besides comparing insurance quotes, research the financial strength and reliability of an insurance company, as well as its reputation for customer service, before purchasing coverage.

Check the financial ratings of insurers through at least a couple of rating agencies, such as Standard & Poor's and A.M. Best. lets you view S&P's ratings for free with its Insurance Company Ratings Lookup Tool. You can view A.M. Best ratings by registering for free on its website.

Consult your state insurance department website. Many states post data about the number and types of complaints insurance companies receive and the ratio of complaints to the amount of business the companies do.

Visit your state attorney general's website, as well, to see if any actions have been taken against insurers.

A visit to the Public Access to Court Electronic Records website reveals whether any lawsuits have been filed against an insurer in federal court.

Customer satisfaction ratings are another source of valuable information.'s free insurance customer satisfaction ratings tool lets you see rankings based on a survey of 4,500 customers.

For more, see 7 ways to investigate an insurance company online.

Last updated: Jul. 18, 2012 Redesign Survey