First, let us start off by saying: You’re not alone in asking this question!
Purchasing insurance can be overwhelming, and with so many opportunities to shop price and coverage at our fingertips; how informed are we, truly, when making the decision to purchase a policy? The truth, unless you have a background in insurance saving 15% in 15 minutes or less should be your last option.
Enter in: the insurance gurus of the world – drumroll please… independent insurance agents! So many people are unfamiliar with what an insurance agent truly does, and how they can be a tremendous asset. An independent insurance agent is a licensed professional who represents the insured (aka – YOU!). They work to assess your unique situation, because, well, everyone is different! They then take that information and shop for the best coverage, at the best price, with carriers they are licensed to do business with. But, how do you know which insurance agent is right for you? We may not have all the answers, but we have some tips that can help! Below are some qualities and suggestions that may help you on your search to find the right fit:
- Know the difference – independent agent versus insurance agent.
Like we talked about above, an independent agent offers the ability to shop multiple insurance carriers – and they do the work for you! Some agents are employed by the insurance company – therefor, they can only offer products and lines of business with that carrier. And do your research – you will see that some independent agencies can do business with many more insurance companies than others!
- Ask a trusted person or source for a recommendation.
Let’s face it – we all know someone who knows someone. We have that friend we call when we need input, that family member who has connections all over the place, and the list goes on. So, start off by asking someone you know!
- Do you need a physical location to visit?
In todays world, we are connected at our fingertips and at our ears. So, something you want to consider when selecting an agent is if you want to be able to physically go into an office if you need something. Some agencies offer multiple locations for convenience, where others will only have one office.
- Check out their websites!
Websites can say a lot about a company – often, you can meet the team before ever stepping foot in a company, read their bios, learn the focus of the organization and their involvement with community, look for testimonials, view their products and lines of services, and the list goes on.
- Will they be there for you?
Hours of operation and emergency acccess can tell you a lot about an agency. If your house burns down in the middle of the night, you want to know that someone will be there to walk you through the steps. If you are in an accident on your way to work at 6:00 a.m., you want an agent that will be your advocate to file the claim immediately. Do your research – find a company who offers 24/7/365 emergency services!
- Trust your gut – it doesn’t intentionally steer you wrong.
If you think you found an agency you’d like to do business with, see how you feel after you first discuss business with them – are they dedicated to giving you the time you need? Do they truly seem like they are focused on protecting your assets? Do you feel as though they would be on your side when you needed them most? These are all things you should assess on your first meeting, and if something feels off – keep searching!
Finding a good independent insurance agent can take time, but the wait is worth it! Once you find an agent who will be on your side, and is focused on their client’s needs, it will pay off, because you will likely work with them for a long time.
As an independent insurance agency, our staff at Seltzer Group Partners are solely focused on protecting the assets of our clients. We are proud to be part of the third largest agency partnership in the country, Keystone Insurers Group, as it provides us with the ability to shop over 50 insurance companies, options for premium market placement and the ability to offer competitive pricing to our clients.