What Is an Insurance Carrier?

Car insurance paperwork, a toy car, calculator, and credit cards
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The term "insurance carrier" can be confusing. Is it you, the person carrying an insurance card? Is it your insurance agent?

Actually, it’s neither of those people. Your insurance carrier is the company that holds your insurance policy. An insurance carrier is not the same as an insurance agent. It is the company to which your insurance payments are sent and the company that pays if you file a covered claim. The carrier employs insurance agents, underwriters, customer service representatives, claims adjusters, and more.

Why Should You Know the Name of Your Insurance Carrier?

If you purchased your policy yourself, or if your policy is through a large national company, you very likely know the name of the company from catchy jingles and television commercials. But even if you purchased a policy from a smaller company, it’s vital to know the name of your carrier.

There are many occasions when knowing who your car insurance carrier is will certainly come in handy. For instance, if you set up insurance through an independent insurance agent and you don’t have their direct contact information handy, you can speed up a claim if you know your insurance carrier off the top of your head. It is also helpful when you need to contact your insurance carrier’s customer service center.

Where Can You Find the Information?

If insurance is something you like to set and forget, you might not recall what company you purchased insurance from. There is more than one way to figure it out.

  • Declarations Page: The papers you receive from the insurance company detailing your coverage, limits, and all other information about your policy.
  • Proof of Insurance: The cards your carrier mails to you that you show to confirm you're covered.
  • Call Your Agent: Your agent will, of course, be able to provide any information you need about your carrier.

Know More About Your Carrier Than Its Name

Although you should certainly know the name of the company you bought a car insurance policy from, it is not a bad idea to know more about your car insurance carrier than just its name. Research customer reviews, ask your friends and family about its reputation, and look into its financial backing—maybe even look up the last few financial annual reports the company has issued.

Knowing more about your insurance carrier before you decide to purchase or renew a policy can save you a lot of hassle when it comes to claims customer service.

Customer Reviews

Every company on the planet has both positive and negative reviews. It is a good idea to look through both the positive and negative reviews and see what comments occur the most. Recurring issues are more noteworthy than random rants from an anonymous single user.

Friends and Family

Knowing someone who deals directly with an insurance carrier is obviously a great way to get a thorough review. It helps if the recommendation comes from someone who has dealt with filing a claim before, since that's where a carrier's coverage and service are really put to the test.

Financial Backing

This may not be something that's top of mind for you, but the financial health of your insurance carrier is incredibly important. A poor rating might mean your claim doesn't get paid out—clearly not a good situation with an insurance policy. There are five independent rating agencies. Each has its own rating system, so that is something to be aware of when searching the rating. Comparing the ratings from multiple agencies is the only way to get an accurate idea of a carrier's financial status. Check your insurance carrier's rating to ensure you are properly protected. 

Article Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "How to Assess the Financial Strength of an Insurance Company." Accessed Feb. 10, 2020.