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When you have a question about insurance, you can sift through a mountain of search engine results or visit the website of your state’s department of insurance. Either way, you might not find the answer you’re looking for, unless you live in a handful of states where insurance departments are going the extra mile.
A recent NerdWallet study of all 50 states and the District of Columbia found that most state insurance department websites lack some of the tools and resources to help their residents make better insurance decisions and save money. But a few departments are doing far better than average.
The average state earned a score of 60% in the NerdWallet analysis, but the average score among the top five ranked departments was 91%. Texas scored the highest at 98%, followed by Kansas (93%), Colorado (91%), Maryland (87%) and Utah (86%).
The study looked at more than 20 different measures in four categories. The highest-scoring states were more likely to:
Have updated premium comparisons.
List updated insurance company complaint data for auto, health, homeowners and life insurance.
Offer consumer education resources.
Provide good phone help.
These features were also more comprehensive and easier to find on the top-scoring sites.
“Some insurance departments do a better job and are more committed to educating consumers and providing resources,” says Birny Birnbaum, executive director of the Center for Economic Justice, who added that all of the departments have room for growth.
All state insurance departments collect and resolve insurance complaints from consumers, monitor rate and policy changes, and set regulations to govern the industry. They are in a unique place to help local residents understand insurance.