The Pros and Cons in Where to Buy Your Insurance

There are several different distribution channels and ways for a consumer to buy insurance and often times, people don’t understand them, let alone the benefits and drawbacks of each. To others, insurance is more of a daunting requirement and are not concerned with the process – or the source. But this mindset could be costing them money, service, and protection. Buying insurance isn’t like buying a boxed solution at the nearest retail store; it is a very important safety net for your family, your home, your car and your business. Broaching the topic too lightly could end up costing you time, energy, and money.

Choosing where you purchase your insurance is NOT apples-to-apples. Many people don’t realize there are three sources for insurance and the variables ARE important:

1.) Captive Agents, who can sell you the insurance products of one company and one company only. While it is a method to secure your coverage rapidly; you may not be securing the most competitive rate for the coverage you need. In addition, the sole insurance provider may have limited coverage reach and is not able to serve niche insurance needs.

2.) Telephone representatives who can offer you the insurance products of one company, and only on the telephone. Choosing this option incurs the same drawbacks as captive agents: the consumer is only getting a single company’s options. Agents are often not as well-versed in proper coverage in this scenario and may only extend state minimums, very high comp/collision deductibles, and not offer loan/lease gap insurance. In addition, they may not write multiple lines like home, auto, group, and life; where additional discounts may occur.

You may also purchase directly from a provider’s website. This, by far, is the most rapid way to secure insurance, but in order to make sure you receive coverage that aligns with your needs – you’ll need to have a high acumen for understanding insurance terms and coverage options as there is no one there to guide you through the process.

3.) Independent Insurance Agents, who represent an average of eight insurance companies, and research these firms to find you the best combination of price, coverage, and service value. One common myth in shopping for insurance coverage is that independent insurance agents are more expensive when actuality, it can often save you money. The additional benefits of utilizing an independent broker are deeply rooted in their ability to shop the options – not just for the initial policies; but in the renewal process and in rate change scenarios such as marriage, divorce, and new driver’s in the family.

There are many other benefits, both tangible and intangible, to get insurance through an independent agent that you won’t find with any of the other purchasing options:

Options = Better Coverage and Competitive Pricing.
Unlike other agents, an independent insurance agent is not tied to one insurance company. You don’t need to change agencies as your insurance and service needs dictate it as you have access to several providers, not just one. One call to your independent agent puts you in touch with someone who will do the comparison shopping for you; giving you the broadest range of coverage at the most competitive price.

Simplification of Multiple Insurance Lines.
An independent insurance agent is the only option that offers the convenience of true, one-stop shopping. In addition to saving you time shopping insurance companies, the partnerships between independent insurance agents and providers often extends multiple insurance to clients; serving as a central “hub” that manages all of them under one roof. Simplified, you can get your life insurance, automobile insurance, homeowner’s insurance and business insurance all at the same place…with a single contact. Independent agents will watch over the policies, ensuring you are clear on coverage, informed of due dates, and new endorsements that may apply to you as they are offered and introduced through carriers.

A More PERSONAL Way to Do Business.
An independent insurance agent has strong customer service and community ties which means you get treated like a person – not a number. Through solid agent/client relationships; many intangible benefits are bore for insurance clients. The value of personal relationships with your agent isn’t something you may consider valuable…until an accident or emergency happens that leads to a claim. First, you are more likely to speak to a person in the event of an “after hours” accident. You also get personal claims service to assist you throughout the entire claims process – unlike direct response and captive agents. Most importantly, an independent agent will serve as your advisor and advocate in the claims process; making sure you get a prompt and fair settlement in a valid claim.

Additionally, people who develop a personal relationship with their independent insurance agent are more apt to discuss personal details about their assets, families, and business(es) that can proactively lead to a more custom-catered coverage plan for you.

In the end, while an independent insurance agent is not your only option; it IS the only option that truly REPRESENTS and WORKS for you, the client.

If you have secured your insurance coverage from any other option other than an independent insurance agent and would like an outside representative to review your policy, answer questions you may have, or just provide advice, please feel free to call Beck Curry Insurance Group at 317.272.0800.