Guides help La. consumers compare insurance rates Guides help La. consumers compare insurance rates BY TED GRIGGS| Advocate business writer Dec. 26, 2012 Comments Louisiana consumers can compare homeowners and auto insurance rates online by using the state Department of Insurance’s website. “Our hope is that these new systems will prove to be a useful resource for Louisiana homeowners and drivers,” Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said in a news release. “By allowing policyholders to easily compare the rates of insurers in Louisiana, it will put more information at people’s fingertips, saving them valuable time, and perhaps money.” The new, interactive comparison guides — under the consumer section of the department website at http://www.ldi.la.gov — allow shoppers to choose between different scenarios. For the homeowners guide, each scenario contains several variables such as age and value of home, and the level of coverage desired. For the automobile guide, the examples include a range of ages and driving history. Consumers can then select a city to see a sample of available rate quotes. The department reminds policyholders that the examples are not designed to match each individual’s particular circumstance. The examples merely demonstrate the relative difference between companies in certain markets and give consumers an incentive to shop around for coverage. The Insurance Department also said that just because a company is included in the Homeowners Comparison Guide, it doesn’t mean the company is writing new policies. For some consumers, a company that isn’t listed in the guide may actually offer the best coverage and service. Homeowners should also note that while policies from different companies may appear to offer comparable coverages, there can be significant differences between policies for important coverages, such as limits on special contents and additional living expenses. After reviewing the rates listed, consumers should contact their preferred insurance agent or company to receive an official premium quote. Donelon said when choosing an insurer, homeowners should look for a company that is financially sound, has a history of providing good service and charges a fair rate. “Instead of focusing solely on the lowest premiums, we encourage folks to take a look at the complete picture. An inexpensive policy can end up costing you in the long run if the insurer cannot cover your claim after your home has sustained significant damage,” Donelon said in a news release. Consumers who would like additional guidance can contact the Insurance Department at (800) 259-5300.