Finding the perfect insurance agent and insurance coverage for yourself, your family or your business can be difficult. There are a lot of options that cloud the decision-making process and make it seem confusing as to what and who will best fit you needs.
In order to find the perfect insurance agent, first learn the types of insurance agents that are out there. You can also brush up on your insurance knowledge in order to be educated on terms and types of policies that are available.
There are 3 types of insurance agents to choose from:
Independent agent: An independent agent has contacts with several different insurance companies and earns a commission from the insurance company.
Captive agent: A captive agent is an insurance agent that writes exclusively with one company.
Insurance broker: For more complicated insurance transactions, like insurance for a small business, owners may choose to use an insurance broker. An insurance broker represents your company in the local insurance market to find you the best coverage for the best possible price.
Keep in mind that not all insurance companies use agents to sell their products. You can choose to do business directly with some insurance companies. Purchasing coverage directly from the company can be cheaper because the company doesn’t have to pay an agent a commission. However, if you do choose to buy directly from the company, check that it is licensed in your state and research the financial stability of the company and complaints filed against it.
Once you have an understanding of what type of insurance agent you will want to work with, it’s time to look around for reputable insurance agents in your area.
Here are 3 places to look for insurance agent referrals:
#1) Family, Friends, Neighbors, Colleagues: Ask around and find out why your colleagues enjoy working with their agent. Are they friendly? Are they knowledgeable? How do they handle a claim?
#2) Internet: Do some research on the internet for the insurance coverage you think you need. Larger companies will show up in the search results first.
#3) Trade Associations or Other Business Owners: Talk with other small business owners or your local trade associations for their advice on insurance needs.
When selecting an agent, make sure they are someone you want to work with and that they have the right licenses.
#1) Do you like their personality? Have conversations with prospective agents, just because you ask for a quote does not mean you have to work with them. This is you chance to get a feel for how they work.
#2) What do their credentials mean? Many agents and brokers will have letters behind their names on their business cards, ask them what these letters mean and what they had to accomplish to earn the credential.
#3) Are they licensed in your state? Make sure the agent and the company they are writing your policy with are licensed in your state. You can check company licensing information on the NAIC Consumer Information Source r by calling your state insurance department.
#4) Have they had any complaints filed against them? While you’re checking whether the agent and the company are licensed, check to see if they’ve had complaints filed against them. You can check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any consumers have filed complaints about the agents you’re considering.
#5) What is the financial strength of the company? When evaluating a company check its company financial rating.
#6) Do they have any references? Don’t be afraid to ask a prospective agent to provide references.
Finding the perfect insurance takes research
Remember to never settle for an insurance agent just because they were the first one you found. Take the time to learn about their services, ask for references and experience what it is like to work with them. In the event you have to file a claim, you will feel comfortable and confident knowing that the agent you choose is qualified and will provide top-notch customer service.