It is common for most people today to have reservations about getting an insurance agent. Friends or family members may have told you some horror stories about agents. But by hiring a good agent, you can be confident that you will get the best coverage and rate for you or your business. If you feel uncomfortable shopping for coverage directly but are scared of hiring a terrible representative, don’t fret. We have prepared a few questions that will help ensure you get the best insurance agent you can find.
Direct Writer vs. Insurance Agents
Before you begin looking around for insurance, you will need to decide if you want to purchase your coverage through a direct writer or with an independent agent. Although both individuals will help ensure you secure insurance, they work a bit differently.
While independent agents work for you and show you a wide range of carriers and rates, direct writers work for a single insurance company. This way of working often means that direct writers only display a single carrier and offer a take-it-or-leave-it option to their clients. This lack of choice is one of the core reasons we suggest you opt for an independent insurance agent. They will usually place as many options on the table as possible.
Five Questions to Ask Your Independent Insurance Agent
Do You Specialize in Personal or Commercial Insurance?
The correct answer to this question will generally depend on what type of insurance you need. If you require coverage for your home or personal life, an agent with extensive experience in personal lines insurance will likely be the best option for you. However, you may need to look elsewhere if your core goal is to secure the future of your business.
Fortunately, most independent agents spend years building their agencies and offer expertise in many industries and lines of coverage. Most should be able to handle both personal and commercial lines of business.
How Long Have You Been Practicing Insurance?
While there is more to insurance than experience, it always goes a long way. If your agent has been in the game for a while, they will understand most of your issues. Most skilled representatives also have relationships and resources to help their clients secure the best coverage.
If you come across an agent just starting their career but shows a strong will to learn, you may also want to consider taking a chance with them.
What Carriers Do You Represent?
There is nothing like too many options in the world of insurance. The more carriers your agent represents, the more coverage and rate options you will have. This high number of alternatives allows you to get a bird’s eye view of all the available plans and make the best decision.
How Fast is Your Turnaround on Quotes, Policy Endorsements, and General Insurance Questions?
One of the core issues that most independent agents face today is poor customer service. You may have heard from friends or family about a representative dropping off the face of the Earth by refusing to take their calls or answer their emails. Before picking an agent, you should ensure that their customer service is top-notch and they will always be a phone call away.
What is Your Claims Handling System?
How your agent handles claims should always be the most crucial question you ask before making a decision. If they cannot give a simple and precise answer about how they settle clients who have had an issue, then we recommend that you look elsewhere. Agents without specific claims handling systems often take things on a case-by-case basis and may leave you stranded.