Are you in the market for an independent insurance agent? With over 36,000 independent agents in the U.S., deciding which agent is best suited for your needs can be tricky.
How do you know who to trust? What should you look for in an agent?
Read on as we walk you through the process of choosing an independent insurance agent and explain why it’s important to work with someone who is not tied to a specific insurance company. We’ll also provide a few tips on finding the best independent insurance agent for your needs!
Understand the Difference Between Independent Agents and Other Insurance Agents
Understanding the difference between independent agents and other types of insurance agents will help you make the best decision for your needs.
Independent agents are not employed by any insurance company, which allows them to offer products from multiple insurers. This gives you, the consumer, more choice and a wider range of prices to choose from.
Other types of insurance agents include captive agents and direct writers. Captive agents can only sell products from the company they work for, while direct writers work for themselves but still represent only one insurer.
Ask for Recommendations and Referrals
Personal recommendations are always the best way to find a good service provider in any industry. If you don’t know anyone who has used an independent insurance agent before, ask your family and friends if they know anyone. Someone you know has likely worked with an independent insurance agent and can give you a referral.
Recommendations help you vet the agent and find out whether they’re someone you can trust or not. Ensure you ask about their customer service, if they were able to save their clients money, and if the agent was easy to work with.
You can also look for referrals from industry-specific organizations or groups. These referrals may come from other insurance agents who are familiar with the independent insurance agent’s work. They can give you insights into an agent’s character and abilities that you may not be able to get from personal recommendations.
Check Out Their Website
The website is the best way to get an idea of what an independent agent can do for you. When you visit their site, pay attention to the types of insurance plans available.
If they only offer a few types of insurance, it may not be worth your time, so don’t contact them. However, if they offer a wide variety of insurance plans, it’s worth finding out more about what they can do for you.
The website will also give you a good idea of the agent’s insurance industry knowledge. If they have been in business for a long time, they will likely have a lot of experience and be able to offer you a great deal on your insurance.
Finally, look at the website to see if they offer any family protection. This type of coverage can be very important if you have young children or plan on starting a family.
Look at Their Credentials
When looking for an independent insurance agent, ensure they have proper licenses and registrations. You can check with your state’s insurance department to see if there are any complaints against the agent or their agency.
If the insurance agency is representing a few different insurance companies, that’s usually a good sign. It means they’re knowledgeable about the types of insurance plans available and can find the best one for you.
Be sure to ask if the agent has experience with the type of insurance you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for health insurance, find out if the agent has helped others in your situation before.
The agent should also be able to answer any questions you have about the insurance process. If they can’t, that’s a red flag.
Check Their Location
Is the insurance provider’s location important to you? If you want to be able to meet with your agent in person, find one that’s close by.
But if you’re comfortable dealing with an insurance agent over the phone or online, then location isn’t as important. You can easily work with an agent from anywhere in the country.
However, keep in mind that some insurance companies are only available in certain states. So, if you’re looking for a specific type of insurance, make sure the agent you choose can provide it.
Schedule a Consultation
The best insurance agencies will offer a free consultation so that they can get to know you and your needs before making any recommendations. During the consultation, be sure to ask about:
- The different types of insurance the agency offers
- How they determine which carriers are best for each client
- What the agency’s process is for filing claims
- What kind of discounts are available
- How they are compensated
- What the process is for filing a claim
- What’s included in their services
Asking these questions will help you get a better sense of whether or not the agency is a good fit for you.
An experienced and reputable insurance agent will be able to answer all of these questions easily. They will also make you feel comfortable that they have your best interests at heart.
Trust Is Key
When it comes to insurance, you want to be sure that you can trust the person who is handling your policy. You need to know that they will do everything they can to make sure you are protected.
However, trust needs to be earned. You can’t just go with the first insurance agent you meet. You need to do your research and find someone who you feel comfortable with and who has your best interests at heart.
Find the Right Independent Insurance Agent
Choosing an independent insurance agent is a big decision. But if you do your research and ask the right questions, you’ll be sure to find someone you can trust.
Keep in mind that your relationship is likely to last for years, so take your time and choose the right agent.
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