5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Independent Insurance Agency

Article by Josh Fearon
President, P&C Insurance

5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Independent Insurance Agency

Finding the right insurance policies for you and your family can be a challenge in today’s crowded market. Many insurance companies offer promises of quick quotes and significant savings – all without compromising your liability limits. But careful consideration and a strong understanding of the market are necessary to ensure you’re buying a policy that provides enough coverage while still fitting within your budget. That’s where independent agencies come in. They sell policies provided by an assortment of carriers – rather than only one – giving clients more options that are better-tailored to their needs. Here are five things to think about when shopping for an independent insurance agency.

1. Do you have policy options?

Independent insurance agents work on their clients’ behalf. Because they are not beholden to a specific insurance carrier – like a captive agent, who only sells the policies of one company – independent agents can offer options from a range of carriers. They can factor in important considerations like services, coverage needs and budgets, allowing them to find policies that are truly the right fit. While rates offered by a captive agent might appear cheaper up front, the long-term costs and impact on liability limits are often less obvious. It’s also harder for the buyer to know whether they’re really getting the best deal or if there are other, better options available elsewhere.

2. Is the pricing realistic?

By verifying the rates of multiple carriers, independent agents can also secure better rates for their clients without sacrificing coverage. An independent agent acts as an “insurance concierge,” connecting clients with the best carriers for each unique situation – whether they’re shopping for home, auto, business or other types of insurance. Rather than rushing to give an instant quote, they take the time to research thoroughly, presenting well-thought-out options from multiple carriers to compare before deciding. This can be especially helpful if the buyer is considering bundling different types of insurance with one carrier.

3. Are you maximizing your time?

Insurance shopping can be time-consuming. On your own, getting individual quotes from captive agents representing different carriers often involves tedious phone calls and application forms. With an independent agent, you won’t have to go company-hopping to find the best policies. Instead, you only need to visit one place to get prospective information. Independent agents will also sift through the jargon in insurance writing, clarifying important details so you don’t have to. This eases much of the burden on prospective buyers, making the process less overwhelming and stressful. It also helps ensure there won’t be any surprises if a future claim needs to be filed.

4. Do the agents live, work and give in your community?

Independent agents know the unique needs of their clients and the communities they live in. Many agencies are locally-owned and managed, and agents understand the complexities of their local markets. For example, the insurance needs of a homeowner in northern New England vary greatly from a homeowner living in a southwestern state like Arizona or New Mexico. Similarly, the property insurance needs of a small business in a local flood zone are different than one that isn’t. Captive agents from large insurance carriers are less likely to understand and consider these nuances. Local insight allows independent agents to recommend coverage options best suited for the challenges faced by fellow community members.

5. Do the agents respond personally?

Independent agents are more than just professional consultants. They’re trusted partners who will provide you with peace of mind knowing that your finances and assets are protected. The best agents prioritize good communication and get to know their clients personally, understanding their goals and analyzing their risk exposure. And the relationship doesn’t end once the initial transaction is done. Independent agents also work with claim adjustors on their clients’ behalf. They’re readily available for meetings in person – not just over the phone – so you won’t waste time on hold waiting to speak with a faceless representative.

Takeaways

Independent insurance agents will adapt your strategy over time as your priorities and coverage needs change, ensuring that you consistently receive the best value for your money. Whether you’re buying insurance for the first time or shopping for new policies that better fit your needs, purchasing insurance is a big decision and financial investment. Be sure to do your research when choosing an independent insurance agency. If you do, it’s a choice that will have a positive impact for years to come.

About P&C Insurance

Founded in 1928, P&C Insurance provides personal, business, financial insurance programs and advice, as well as providing employee benefits throughout Northern New England. The firm maintains the highest standard of service and is proud of its long-standing client relationships built on mutual responsibility and trust. Locally owned, with access to the finest national and regional insurance carriers and providers, P&C ensures customers have competitive products and pricing to fit clients’ budgets. For more information and locations, visit www.insurancepc.com.