How Your State Department of Insurance Can Help You

Your state’s department of insurance can help you choose an insurance company, resolve problems with them and more.
Elizabeth Renter
By Elizabeth Renter 

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When you have a question about insurance, you can go straight to a Google search. But with thousands of results, the right answer may be buried among wrong information and bad advice.

You can call your insurance company or ask your favorite uncle, but there is another resource you may not have thought of, and it’s one you, as a taxpayer, help to fund. It’s your state’s department of insurance, and it has a website you may want to bookmark.

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What is a department of insurance?

Insurance is regulated at the state level, so each state, as well as Washington, D.C., has its own insurance department suited to help people like you. Each department is tasked with one overarching duty: regulating insurance for the protection of consumers. To that end, they serve several roles: licensing insurance companies and agents, regulating insurance policies and rates, reviewing insurance company practices, and serving consumers through education and complaint resolution.

Despite many similarities, how each state chooses to fill these roles varies widely. For example, all state insurance departments have websites, but the offerings and services on these sites can be vastly different.

NerdWallet ranked these websites based on just how helpful they are to consumers and found the average department of insurance scored just 60% on metrics such as the sharing of premium comparison tools, complaint data, consumer education and consumer assistance.

You can find the full study results and see how your state’s insurance department website performed here.

What this NerdWallet study means for you: You could live in a state with a robust insurance department website. If so, you’ll likely find the tools needed to answer many of your insurance questions and more. However, if your state’s website is lacking, you can phone or email the department for answers. In either case, your state’s department of insurance should be able to help you with the following things.

What can an insurance department help with?

Understanding your insurance

If you have a question about your policy or a claim, or you don’t understand the basics of auto, home, health or life insurance, your insurance department should be able to help. Many have consumer help lines set up specifically for this reason. And most have consumer education resources on their websites including insurance buyers guides, a glossary of insurance terms and frequently asked questions.

Choosing an insurance company

In addition to possibly having an insurance buyers guide or at least tips on choosing the right insurance, some insurance departments also display rate comparisons and share complaint data.

These rate comparison tools are not the same as getting a quote — many factors go into pricing an insurance policy. But they can help identify carriers that tend to offer lower prices in your ZIP code. Also, many of these agencies share insurance company complaint data. This means you can compare how many complaints each insurance company has and use them as one factor in choosing a carrier.

Problems with your insurance company

State departments of insurance are responsible for investigating complaints against insurers, and most allow you to file those complaints online. The complaint could be against an insurance company, an agency or an individual agent. Common complaints include: unfair claims denials, delays in claim handling, a refusal of insurance, excessive fees or charges, unfair settlement offers, increased premiums without notification, unfair policy cancellation and allegations of fraud.

Checking the status of an agent or insurance company in your state

All states offer a license lookup tool on their website. This means you can type in an insurance agent or company’s name and check the status of their license. In many cases, you’ll also be able to see if the agent or company had any enforcement actions taken against them.

If you can’t find the answer you need

If your insurance department’s website lacks the tool or information you’re after, call it. In many cases, the person on the other end is equipped to answer your questions. If not, he or she can direct you to someone qualified.

As with any customer service, you can escalate your request or call if you don’t think you’re getting the response you’re entitled to. And because your tax dollars help fund this department, you should feel empowered to ask for any services it's lacking.

Your voice may make a difference, so don’t be afraid to make reasonable but firm requests from your state’s department of insurance.

How to contact your state insurance department

Department name

Phone number


800-INSURAK 907-465-2515


800-852-5494 501-371-2640


800-930-3745 303-894-7499

800-203-3447 860-297-3800

800-282-8611 302-674-7300


877-693-5236 850-413-3089

800-656-2298 404-656-2070


800-721-3272 208-334-4250

877-527-9431 217-782-4515

800-622-4461 317-232-2395

877-955-1212 515-654-6600

800-432-2484 785-296-3071

502-564-3630 800-595-6053

800-259-5300 225-342-5900

800-300-5000 207-624-8475

800-492-6116 410-468-2000

877-563-4467 617-521-7794

877-999-6442 517-284-8800

651-539-1500 651-539-1600

800-562-2957 601-359-3569

800-726-7390 573-751-4126

800-332-6148 406-444-2040

877-564-7323 402-471-2201

702-486-4009 775-687-0700

800-852-3416 603-271-2261

800-446-7467 609-292-7272


800-342-3736 212-480-6400



800-686-1526 614-644-2658

800-522-0071 405-521-2828

888-877-4894 503-378-4140



800-768-3467 803-737-6180



800-252-3439 800-578-4677

800-439-3805 801-957-9200

833-337-4685 802-828-3302

804-371-9741 877-310-6560

800-562-6900 360-725-7080

888-879-9842 304-558-3386

800-236-8517 608-266-3585

307-777-7402 307-777-7401

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