It’s a question that is decades old and still discussed today: Should you use an independent local car insurance agent, buy your coverage directly from your favorite carrier, or meet in the middle with an agent who works specifically for one insurance company? Perhaps you have formed your own opinion about the matter, or maybe you aren’t even sure what the difference is between each of the options. We’re here to shine some light on this topic and help you sort through the choices. Continue reading to learn more about the differences between buying direct and using a car insurance agent.
Insurance Agents Bring Valuable Input and Assistance to the Table
When you use an insurance agent, you are working with someone who goes to work each day with the goal of helping clients find the coverage they need to protect them while on the road. Car insurance can be complicated. Add in the unique requirements of each driver, and it’s easy to see how an agent can make it easier to select the right coverage. All car insurance agents in our state must be licensed, but are they all the same? Not as much as you might think.
A captive agent is someone who is contracted to work with only one insurance company. They are limited by the options they can provide to their customers and are bound by the underwriting policies of the company they work for. Captive agents work under the banner of bigger national insurance companies and sometimes have trouble giving unbiased advice – especially when it comes to coverage options from competitors.
Independent agents are exactly what they sound like – independent. They do not work for any particular company, which means they have many different options at their disposal. Independent agents listen carefully to the needs of their clients and sort through the coverage solutions from multiple insurance companies to find the best fit. Like captive agents, independent agents can provide guidance and assistance long after a client purchases coverage, but the independent agent can also continue to search for better values as they become available.
Buying Direct Can Be Risky
When you buy direct, you bypass the insurance agent and go straight to the carrier. Perhaps you have a particular insurance company you have worked with for many years, or maybe you think shopping online can save you time and money. The truth is, building your own coverage could put you at risk of purchasing the wrong amount of coverage.
At the end of the day, car insurance is about coverage – not price. Even if you get a great rate, you could be financially exposed if your coverage does not meet your needs. Without an agent present to offer advice, it’s easy to overlook important details that could prove costly if you need to file a claim.
Are You Happy with Your Carrier? What if You Shouldn’t Be?
Most people remain with the same car insurance company each year. That’s a good thing if you are happy and confident you are receiving a good value for your coverage – but what if you’re not? According to statistics, insurance rates have been on the rise. Many people do not notice a 3 percent increase year after year and eventually find themselves paying much more for coverage than they were originally quoted.
Of course, without an independent agent advocating for you, the burden falls on your own shoulders to determine whether you could be getting a better value from another insurer. Even if you have a captive agent who works specifically for your carrier, you aren’t likely to be presented with better solutions from competitors if they become available. That’s why it pays to have an advocate who works to take care of you – not your insurer.
If you’ve never worked with an independent agent, come find out why the grass really is greener on the other side. Contact our office today to request you free quote. We look forward to serving you soon.