How to Choose an Insurance Agent
There are probably many agents in your community, and it can be tough to know who will best serve your needs. Here's how to choose an insurance agent.
Published November 29, 2020.
Most people find buying an insurance difficult and tend to focus on the choice of coverage, premiums, and insurance company, without much thinking about the insurance agent.
Yet, when you work with an insurance agent, whether captive or independent, you can access someone who understands how your insurance policies work as part of your total financial picture.
To choose an insurance agent, you might want to check their years of experience, certifications and customer reviews. This is important, but there’s more.
Choice of Coverage and Bundles
Buying insurance is an important decision, and you want to work with an insurance agent who can provide you with options in coverage and costs.
Even if you’re working with a captive agent, who represents one insurance company, you should have a good choice of coverage to evaluate. An independent insurance agent will be able to give additional options from various insurance companies.
One easy way to save money on your insurance premiums is to bundle different types of policies with one insurance company. An insurance agent can help you get multi-policy discounts, but only if they offer various types of insurance.
Price, or rather not the price!
The cheapest insurance isn’t always the best choice and the agent with the lowest quotes may leave you underinsured when it matters most.
The cheapest policy may skimp on liability coverage or have a high deductible. For example, if you live in a flood-prone area, you’ll need a separate policy to cover flood-related damage, which may not be included in the lowest rate quotes. A good insurance agent will learn about your assets and recommend insurance that will be most likely to help if disaster strikes.
The right insurance agent will help balance the extra cost with extra coverage.
Technology: online platforms and apps
One of the advantages of buying insurance online is easy access to features like automatic withdrawal of your premium and automated claims. You don’t have to give up the convenience of an online insurance company when you choose to work with an insurance agent.
Choose an agent based in part on the payment and claims options you have available. If there are certain tools that you want, such as an app or online platform, make sure your agent can meet that requirement.
Your agent should be available to help you get through the stressful process of filing a claim.
Talk with prospective insurance agents about how they handle claims. Are they typically available to help their clients file claims? Do they work on behalf of their clients after a disaster or accident to make sure they can rebuild their property or repair their car?
They should be concerned with whether you receive fair treatment from your insurance company, as well. If you are involved in an auto accident with another driver, your agent should communicate with the other driver’s insurer to get the matter handled quickly.
Do you like the person? Does he/she seem to have your best interests at heart? You want to build a long-term relationship with your insurance agent: trust is a must.
Your insurance is a key element of your financial plan: your insurance agent should spend time to listen to you and understand your needs and goals. A good insurance agent will also take the time to explain the benefits and coverages offered by various insurance policies, to help you make an informed decision.
You won’t know if you have good insurance until you need to use it, so it’s crucial to have a trusted professional on your side. Choosing a good insurance agent means you’ll get the proper type and amount of coverage from a reputable company at a great price, and the support you need in case of disaster.