How to Choose an Insurance Agent

 

Selecting an insurance agent may seem like a mundane task. But it’s more than just another of life’s administrative chores. Insurance agents are easy to find, and most of them can get the job done, but if you end up with the wrong one, the results can be stressful and frustrating. Choosing the right person to lead you through the maze of options makes all the difference when life throws a wrench your way. Good coverage can mean the difference between picking up where you left off and starting from scratch. But there’s no need to worry if you’ve got the right agent on your side. Here’s a bit of friendly advice.

First, you need to identify what type of insurance you need.

Are you seeking personal or commercial insurance? Home, auto, other vehicles, or all of the above? Each agent specializes in different products. Some may lack experience in the type of insurance you need. Agents should expect you to ask about their credentials, qualifications, certifications, and experience.

There are different types of insurance agents, or writers. Direct writers are hired by their company as salespeople. Independent agents work for you, rather than a company. Be sure you know whose interests an agent has in mind.

Take the initiative and ask the kind of probing questions you might ask if a catastrophe had just occurred and you were trying to find out what was and wasn’t covered by your insurance policy. It’s better to find out now, while you have the power to make decisions, than after the fact. After all, it’s your family, your money, and your property at stake.

What are some wise questions to ask when choosing an insurance agent? Try these: What are your areas of expertise? What is your reach? Are you local? Statewide? Nationwide? What is your experience in my industry? How many years have you been writing this type of insurance? Do you have any client references? How long have you been in business? How many companies do you represent? Which ones?

Trust your gut. Make sure you actually like the agent you’ll be working with as you may be spending a lot of time meeting or speaking on the phone with them.

There are a few simple things you can do to check the background of an agent or agency. The simplest thing you can do is to look them up on Google. Search for the name of the person, the agency, and any customer reviews you can find. See what their website looks like. Every aspect of their online presence should be professional looking.

Eventually, you’ll have to choose. Be a tough customer. Once you find a likely candidate, ask for a quote based on your unique situation and needs. Ask how quickly they can get it for you. The agent should be willing to work with you to thoroughly explain every aspect of the coverage they offer. Expect courtesy and professionalism. If they don’t have time for you now, what makes you think they’ll have time for  you later?

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