What are the Benefits of using an Independent Insurance Agent?
When you’re on your own and making major purchases for the first time – as in buying a car or home, you inevitably learn that you will have to purchase insurance to cover those items. Why?
Car or Homeowner Insurance
Since driving is considered a privilege, not a right, and the act of driving is a liability risk in itself, you are required by law to carry insurance (or post a bond) to make sure you are responsible for covering any damage you might cause (liable for) while exercising this privilege. Each state sets minimum limits for liability. If you have a loan on your car or truck, then the lien-holder also wants to protect their investment and will have a say in what kinds of limits you need to have on your insurance policy – that is, how much liability insurance to carry for bodily injury and property damage of the other person and vehicle – in the event of an accident, as well as comprehensive and collision damage to cover your car.
When you purchase a home the mortgage lender is making an investment in your loan. Like the vehicle lien-holder, they require their investment to be protected. In the event of a catastrophic loss to your home – which you, in effect, have given to the bank as collateral against the loan, they will expect to be fully indemnified or compensated, or have your home repaired to its loan value. You will need to get insurance to potentially cover this cost.
Commercial Property and Liability Coverage. Plus Cyber Risks Managed
You’ve worked hard to build your business. Your business is unique and has complex risks that need to be managed properly. Because of that complexity, it is important to work with an independent agent as their expertise will help manage those complex risks. Beyond daily complexities of managing your business, a business owner doesn’t need to worry about the changing environment. Changes like emerging risks, for example, cyber claims, must be understood. An independent agent works daily with these complexities and risks your agent can help you mitigate those issues and continue focusing on your business.
Using an Independent Agent
You need help to find the right insurance to fit your specific needs. You don’t want to just guess at what coverage to get or carrier company to go with, or you’ll end up paying more than you have to; you need an agent. But wait. Once you start looking for an insurance agent you’ll notice there are choices to make here too.
Do you want an independent insurance agent or a captive agent?
A captive insurance agent sells for only one name brand single carrier company that sell multiple types of insurance: vehicle, home, renter’s, boat, life, health, disability, etc. If you go to a captive agent, they will sit you down and ask for your details – such as your credit score, age, the age of vehicle or home, driving record for vehicle insurance – run it through their software and kick out a quote for you. And that will be your price. There will be no comparisons. Your homeowner’s insurance quote will be based strictly on data about and value of your house and factors like your credit and claim history. Vehicle insurance will be based upon information like your age, credit history, gender, driving history, coverage limits, type of car, zip code. If you have a lien-holder on your vehicle you will have no choice on the amount of coverage as the lien-holder will specify the requirements.
An independent agent, on the other hand, will sell the same variety of insurance policies, but they are not limited to selling you policies from just one company.
They contract with multiple insurance companies – “carriers” – which gives them a huge basis for comparison for the best price and value for their clients – for you. They will ask you the same exact set of questions as a captive insurance agent, but they will send this data to the carrier intermediaries who will send back quotes.
Advantage Customer, See Multiple Quotes
Even though you’ll have the same limitations you had with the captive agent regarding a potential lien holder or home information, you now have multiple quotes to choose from, in both preferred and high-risk markets.
Benefits of Using an Independent Insurance Agent
When you work with an independent insurance agent you are gaining an expert on your side; they navigate the insurance world so you don’t have to, and keep you informed of any changes and evolving coverages that apply to you.
Not A Voice From A Call Center
Every day, independent agents work with people on their personal and business coverage issues; this is not typical for someone in a call center or your main street captive agent.
Because independent agents are not limited to a single carrier they can offer you multiple options and tailor-fit your budget with an insurance package culled from multiple products.
They will offer advice and answer questions you didn’t know you had:
- Do you need an umbrella policy?
- Does your jewelry or art collection require special endorsements on your homeowner’s policy?
- Do you have enough Uninsured Motorist Coverage? Do you want higher PIP coverage? Why?
- Have you assessed your online risks; how are these different from your retail operations?
- Does your safety program consider cyber risks and mitigation?
An independent agent can help you understand and navigate during a claim process. They can be an advocate.
When you establish a relationship with your independent insurance agent, you are making an ally not just a disembodied voice on a call center line; they will continue to work for you over time, to find you the best insurance carriers and coverages as your life changes and your needs evolve.
They will also continue to shop for you as renewals roll around. Contact us
at Smith-Kenyon Insurance Resources, LLC – we’ll be happy to help you get the most competitive prices for your insurance needs.
Resource, File A Claim: