Whether you’re purchasing insurance for the first time, looking for new coverage, or experienced a life change that requires you to get a new agent, it can be hard to know what to look for in the company or individual that will help cover your family or your livelihood.
Choosing an insurance policy is an important decision and so is choosing the person that will help you manage your insurance. If you need help choosing an insurance agent, check out our advice on how to find the right agent for you.
Before you get started you should know the difference between two important terms.
Independent Agent: An independent agent may sell policies from many different companies.
Captive Agent: A captive agent sells insurance for only one company.
Both independent and captive agents represent insurance companies and receive a commission from the insurance company for the sale of its policies.
So, how can you find the agent that’s right for you?
Word of Mouth
The easiest way is to ask your friends and family. If you’ve just moved to a new place, local friends might have the inside scoop on a trustworthy agent. When you get a recommendation from someone you trust, you’re more likely to have a positive experience. You know that your friends or family have interacted with this person and have come away satisfied.
But, make sure to ask why they are recommending the agent that they are. It shouldn’t be because their dads went to school together or they always bring the best dip to the holiday party. Your agent needs to be able to fit your needs so turn to friends in similar situations and ask why they love the service they get from their agent and why they chose them in the first place.
Choosing an insurance agent is kind of like finding great employees. Don’t just pick the first person who seems qualified. Dig a little.
Meet with multiple people and use your time with them to ask the right questions. Offer the details of your situation and gauge their answers based on what would make you the most comfortable. You can even ask for a resume.
Find out how easy it will be to do business with them, this means you should consider things like; are they online? Do they have online bill pay? 24/7 customer service?
You should ask how you can get ahold of your agent if you need them outside normal business hours…because accidents don’t (only) happen within the 8-5 workday.
Today, the interview process should also include checking their LinkedIn profile and reading reviews online. Keep in mind, you’re not likely to find a company with only positive reviews so if you find negative reviews, consider the situation or even ask the agent what happened.
Check Their Background
You’ll want to make sure any agent you choose if qualified to do business in your state. You can do this by asking for their license and making sure it’s up to date. You can also check online to see if there are any complaints against the agent or the agency they work through.
During your interview and background checking you should find out:
- How long they’ve been in business
- Their mission, vision, and values
- Company leadership
- Any community involvement
- Types of products they sell
- Financial strength.
Don’t Give in To Pressure
You shouldn’t feel pressured to choose an agent and if an agent is pressuring you, it’s a sign you probably shouldn’t choose them. A good agent knows that you need to choose a relationship that is right for you and that fits your individual needs and they will let you make that decision for yourself. Just make sure you’re getting all the information you need to make an educated decision.
You should also remember that if an agent is hurrying to grab a deal that seems to be too good to be true, it probably is…
If you’re looking for a new agent, consider interviewing us for the position! With nearly 60 years of experience as your local, independent insurance agency, you can trust the Holt & Dimondale Agency to find the best products to fit your insurance needs.