When it comes to personal insurance (including homeowners insurance, renters insurance, vehicle insurance, etc.), many people throughout the United States are uninsured or underinsured. Are you part of this group? Are you unsure of how you’re going to find the best insurance policy that works for you, your needs, and your budget?
If you said “yes” to any of these questions, an independent insurance agent can provide a lot of support and make it easy for you to choose the right policy (or policies). Have you worked with an independent agent before? Please keep reading to learn more about what they do and why you ought to think about hiring one.
What Is an Independent Insurance Agent?
Before we dive into the benefits independent insurance agents have to offer, let’s address some questions you might have, such as “What is an independent agent?” or “What is an independent insurance agency?”
An independent insurance agent is someone who sells policies that are offered by several different insurance providers. They work for an independent insurance agency but aren’t employed by one specific insurance company. These types of agents receive commissions on the policies that they sell.
The opposite of an independent agent is a captive agent. A captive agent is someone who works for just one insurance company and only sells plans that are offered by that company.
Why Hire an Independent Agent?
Why have an insurance agent who works independently? Why would you choose this type of agent instead of a captive agent?
There are lots of reasons why you might want to work with an independent agent. If you’re on the fence, these 12 reasons are some of the most noteworthy ones to keep in mind:
1. Insurance Agents Give You a Choice
When you start learning about different agencies and choose to hire a personal insurance agent, they provide you with lots of choices. You’ll have your pick of insurance policy options.
Remember, independent agents aren’t tied down and beholden to just one insurance provider. They’re able to do research on lots of different insurance providers and get you a variety of quotes. With all of these different quotes to choose from, it’s easier than ever for you to pick a policy that works best for both your coverage needs and your budget.
If you work with a captive agent, they’re only going to be able to provide you with options from the company that employs them. As a result, you won’t be able to know for certain that you’re getting a great price. You could end up spending more than you’d like, and you might also not get the best coverage.
2. They Can Give You Unbiased Advice
There are hundreds of thousands of insurance agents working in the U.S., and you’d surely like to think that any agent you’re hiring has your best interests in mind. That’s not always the case, though.
A captive agent, at the end of the day, has to promote the policies offered by their employer. This isn’t to say that they don’t care or don’t want what’s best for their clients. However, they’re going to be biased toward their employer’s policies since that’s all they know.
Independent agents get to work, well, independently, and they’re more likely to give you unbiased advice. They’ll be able to look at the big picture, evaluate a wide range of different policies, and get quotes from different providers. After all of this, they can provide you with a fair assessment of which one will be the right fit for you.
3. Agents Can Help with Claims
Many people are surprised to learn that independent agents don’t just help you shop for the perfect policy. In fact, that’s where their career begins.
In addition to working with you to select an ideal policy with optimal coverage, they also can help you file claims and handle other insurance-related issues like resolving problems with bills. When you have an independent agent on your side, they do the heavy lifting for you and free you up to focus on other things.
Insurance problems are often pretty confusing, and the majority of Americans don’t understand the basics. Instead of trying to work through things on your own, why not save yourself the frustration and let a professional take care of it? An independent insurance agent knows the ins and outs of the industry and will make sure you’re taken care of.
4. Independent Agents Are Licensed Professionals
Not just anyone can become an independent insurance agent. Each state has specific licensing requirements, which often include attending courses for a particular period of time and then passing an exam. Many independent agents also have college degrees in subjects like finance, business, or accounting.
In addition to taking courses to get licensed, independent agents also have to take continuing education courses in most states to ensure they maintain their licenses.
Because they participate in regular continuing education courses, you can rest easy knowing that your agent is aware of the latest goings-on in the insurance world and can provide you with up-to-date information. They’ll help you avoid falling for any home insurance myths and make sure you feel confident in your decisions (and your coverage, of course).
5. They Are Your Advocate
Independent insurance agents, including independent home insurance agents, do a great job of advocating for their clients. They will represent you when you’re going through insurance-related challenges and ensure no one tries to take advantage of you.
Keep in mind, too, that independent agents will also advocate for you during the shopping phase. They take your specific situation into account and work hard to find policies that work best for your needs.
Because they don’t work for one specific provider, they’re able to put your interests first without having to worry about boosting one particular company’s bottom line. You are their top priority, not any one provider.
6. Insurance Agents Are Right Around the Corner
There are thousands of independent insurance agencies in operation all over the U.S. Another great advantage of these agencies is the fact that they have a strong local focus.
When you work with a captive agent who’s employed by a national insurance company, you might be talking on the phone with someone who lives in a completely different state than you. As a result, it can be difficult for them to help you choose a policy that makes sense for you and your lifestyle.
A local independent insurance agent, in contrast, will be familiar with your city and even your neighborhood. They’ll know which issues you are most likely to deal with. For example, if you live in an area that’s prone to flooding, your independent agent will know about these risks and look for policies that protect you.
7. Local Insurance Agencies Offer One-Stop Shopping
It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a homeowner’s insurance policy, a vehicle insurance policy, or an umbrella insurance policy. Regardless of your specific policy needs, an independent agency provides you with a one-stop-shop and helps you find everything you need at once.
You don’t have to worry about working with a different agent for every type of insurance coverage you might need when you go the independent route. Instead, you can have one person assist with all of your policies and ensure you’re getting the best deal on them.
Not only does this approach have the potential to save you money, but it also makes it easier for you to stay organized. Hiring an independent agent means that you won’t have to worry about keeping track of several different agents and their contact information.
8. Count on Agents to Consult You For a Lifetime
Once you work with an independent agent, there’s a good chance you’re not going to want to go back to working with a captive agent ever again. Independent agents provide you with long-term support and high-quality service. They’ll keep your needs in mind and ensure you’re always getting the best deals and coverage options.
Keep in mind, too, that independent agents also go through continuous training and are lifelong learners. They’re always doing research to learn about the latest insurance-related topics and will help you to stay informed as well.
9. Save Time and Money Buying From An Independent Insurance Agent
Some people are hesitant about working with an independent agent because, at first, it seems like they’re going to cost more money. It’s true that captive agents and their agencies often appear more cost-effective at the beginning. In reality, though, it costs less overall to hire an independent agent instead of a captive agent.
Independent agents can give you what captive agents can’t: Time and undivided attention. They take the time to ask you questions, get to know you, and familiarize themselves with your specific needs. Then, they’ll work tirelessly to collect quotes and compare them to help you find the best options.
A captive agent can only allow you to choose from plans that their employer offers. An independent agent will allow you to choose from tons of different plans from several different insurance companies to ensure you’re truly getting a great deal.
10. Licensed Insurance Agents Offer Personalized Service
Ask just about any agent that they’ll tell you that one of the benefits of being an independent agent is that you get to know lots of different people. Independent agents pride themselves on really getting to know their clients and learning about their needs and priorities.
Captive agents often have lots of people that they’re working with and are juggling a ton of different responsibilities at once. As a result, it can be harder for them to remember everyone’s specific needs and advocate for them in the way that they deserve. This isn’t the case with independent agents, though.
When you hire this type of agent, you can trust that you’re getting personalized service. Independent agents know which questions to ask to make sure that they’re helping you find policies that are affordable and provide you with the coverage you need the most.
11. Expect to Recieve Excellent Customer Service
Do you hate sitting on hold for the better part of an hour before you ever talk to a human? Are you sick of being treated like any old client? If this is the case for you, remember that it’s much easier to get the level of customer service you want from an independent agent.
When you contact an independent agency, you’ll be connected with an agent right away and will be able to have your problem addressed in no time at all. This isn’t always true when you work with a captive agent, especially one who’s part of a large, national insurance agency. They often can only do the bare minimum when it comes to customer service.
Independent agents, on the other hand, work hard for their clients. They go the extra mile to ensure to provide them with the time and attention they need.
12. Insurance Agents Provide Protection & Peace of Mind
Finally, you can’t beat the peace of mind that independent insurance agents can provide.
Because they evaluate policies from lots of different insurance companies, these agents will help you find a policy that gives you the amount of coverage you deserve at a price that works for your budget. They’ll also listen to you and take the time to understand exactly what you want and need before they start looking. You can rest easy knowing they won’t come back with a list of options that seems as though they were chosen for someone else.
If you want maximum protection and want to know that you have a licensed, experienced professional on your side, you can’t go wrong by hiring an independent agent.
Hire an Independent Insurance Agent Today
As you can see, there are lots of reasons why you might want to work with an independent insurance agent. Now that you know more about what this type of agent does and what they can do for you, it’s time to start looking for someone who can assist you.
Are you located in Massachusetts? If so, contact us today at Loprioire Insurance Agency to learn more about our services or to get an insurance quote.