Having the right insurance plan for your business, health, car, or home is important since it offers protection in case of an unforeseen event. However, with the many insurance companies and agencies that are out there, how can you be sure to choose the best one for you?
If you run a quick search for ”insurance agency near me”, you’ll see tens if not hundreds of options. Choosing one among so many options can be overwhelming. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you find and select the best insurance agency for your needs.
Understand the Difference Between an Insurance Agency and An Insurance Company
Before you start looking for an insurance agency, you first need to understand the difference between an insurance agency and an insurance company.
An insurance company is an organization that provides and underwrites the insurance policy. The company will also be responsible for paying out any claims that are filed.
An insurance agency, on the other hand, is a middleman between the insurance company and the customer. The agency will find policies that fit your individual needs, compare insurance companies to find the best match for you, and they’ll even help you file claims if something goes wrong with your policy.
While an insurance company only offers limited options, an insurance agency has a wide variety of options to choose from. In short, an insurance agent acts as your personal shopper when it comes to finding the right insurance policy.
Comparing the two, the latter is a better option, especially if you need an expert intermediary that represents several insurance companies, allowing you to find the best match seamlessly.
Why Go Through an Independent Insurance Agency?
An independent insurance agency is your one-stop shop, as they represent a wide range of companies. Understand that factors such as risk, location and claim history always come into play when meeting insurance requirements, but an independent insurance agency can help you navigate through the process to find the best fit for your personal insurance and business insurance needs.
In addition, since you have access to a comprehensive variety of insurance coverages, you’re bound to get better value for your money and a more reliable experience, especially when considering local services.
Most people are under the misconception that getting directly in touch with an insurance company is more cost-effective since it allows them to avoid the middleman. However, this isn’t exactly accurate since working with a reputable insurance agency can be more efficient and cost-effective.
For one, an independent insurance agency can help you find the best policy at a better price. They also offer advice on which coverage is right for your needs and assistance in filing claims if something goes wrong with your policy.
Here are some benefits of working with an independent insurance agency:
- Multiple Insurance Companies: Instead of spending hours searching for the right insurance company, you can simply work with an agent from an agency. Most independent agents have a large number of insurance companies at their disposal, making it possible for you to find the best option for your requirements.
- Coverage Differences: The coverages vary from one company and one state to another. For most people, it’s tedious trying to keep up with these differences. Instead, if you work with an insurance agency, you’ll have access to a detailed overview of all the available coverage options and make informed decisions based on your needs.
- Personalized Customer Service: With an insurance agency, you’re guaranteed professional and personalized customer service. On the other hand, insurance companies have call centers with dozens of representatives who are mostly focused on meeting quotas instead of providing quality service.
- Wide Range of Insurance Services: An independent insurance agency is also likely to offer a variety of services such as annuities, life, travel, estate planning, disability insurance, and business liability — all in one place.
6 Tips to Choose the Best Insurance Agency
Now that you understand the difference between an insurance company and an agency and why the latter is a better approach, let’s discuss how to find the best insurance agency.
Tip #1: Know What You Need First
First off, decide what kind of insurance you need. Then, do some research and figure out what types of insurance coverage fit your needs best. It will help you narrow down your options, making it easier to find the right agency for your requirements.
For example, do you only want auto insurance? Or do you want to couple it with your home insurance?
Many companies offer discounts if you purchase more than one policy through them. Therefore, it’s usually best to get all your needs fulfilled in one place.
Likewise, if you have any specialized insurance coverage, such as medical or life, you’d want to work with an agency specializing in those areas. Again, make sure you’ve identified your specific needs so that you can search for an appropriate insurance agency.
Tip #2: Do Your Research – ”Insurance Agency Near Me”
When you start doing your research, the first step is to get referrals from your friends or family. You can ask your social circle if they’re happy with their current insurance company or agency. If they are, get the name and contact information of the agency.
If you don’t have any referrals, another great option is to look online for customer reviews of different agencies in your area. But, again, focus on whether customers are happy with the service they’re receiving.
For instance, if you’re in the Evansville area, use keywords like ”insurance agency Evansville” or ”insurance agency Evansville, IN”. Alternatively, you can search ”insurance agency near me,” and Google will show you local businesses in your area.
Working with a local agency is beneficial since you can easily visit their office if you need to file a claim or have any questions. Moreover, they’ll be more familiar with your state’s insurance laws and regulations.
Keep in mind that all insurance agencies don’t have the required licenses to operate in every state. Therefore, it’s wise to check the state insurance department’s website to find out if an insurance agency is licensed to operate in your area.
When searching for an insurance agency online, here’s what to look for:
- Website: Start by checking the insurance agency’s website. Take a look at their products, specialties, history, and the About Us sections. You should also check if they have online forms for filing claims, a mobile app with live access to your datta and a customer support chat option.
- Products and Services: Ideally, you want to work with an agency that offers the type of insurance you’re looking for. For example, if you want to get health insurance, look for an agency specializing in health insurance plans.
- Team: Check the team page to see how many people work at the agency and their qualifications. Ensure they have experienced and licensed agents who can help you with your specific needs.
- Online Reviews: Google Reviews and third-party websites, are great sources for customer reviews. Read what real customers say about their experiences with the insurance agency you’re considering.
Tip #3: Ask About the Claims Process
After doing your research and reviewing some agencies, talk to at least three of them individually before deciding. It will help you assess their expertise, professionalism, and offered services.
The first thing to ask an insurance agency is their claim process. It will help you assess their overall service and how they handle claims, should you ever need to file one.
Keep in mind that you’re entering two relationships when you choose an insurance company through an agency. The first is with the insurance agency that helps you find coverage, and the second is with an insurance company that provides you with the coverage.
Thus, it’s important to work with an agency with a good relationship with its partner insurance companies. It will ensure your claims are processed quickly and without any delays.
Try opting for an insurance provider that offers an online claim reporting option so that you can file your claims from anywhere. Besides the claims process, you should also ask the following questions from an insurance agency.
- Customer Support: Do you offer 24/7 customer support? Which channels can I use to reach you?
- Payment Options: Which payment options do you offer? Can I set up automatic payments?
- Discounts: Are there any discounts available? How can I qualify for these discounts?
- Policy Types: What types of policies do you offer? Can I change my policy?
Tip #4: The Cheapest Insurance Isn’t Always the Best Option
When choosing the right insurance agency, budget is an important factor. But keep in mind that the cheapest insurance isn’t always the best option.
Instead, focus on getting quality coverage at a good price. That’s why it’s important to review your needs and compare different policies before deciding.
By doing so, you can identify an affordable policy that meets your specific requirements and budget. You can gauge this by noticing if the agent is overly focused on pricing or is keener on evaluating your needs and requirements.
Remember to work with an agency that has your best interests in mind and understands your insurance needs. It will help you get the right coverage at an affordable price for you.
It’s also important to note that a low premium doesn’t equate to low-quality coverage. Thus, don’t let the premium cost be your only criteria for choosing an insurance company. Be sure to also consider the coverages and benefits being offered to make an informed decision.
Suppose you get rental car insurance for $15 a month, but that doesn’t cover the liability you need. It would be better to pay $50 a month for full coverage instead, as it will give you extra benefits and protection in case of an accident or other incidents.
It’s best to consider this beforehand. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a stressful situation regarding money when you’re already stressed by an accident or an unforeseen incident involving your car.
Tip #5: Ask About Discounts
Many insurance companies provide discounts to their customers.
For example, some providers offer discounts for insuring multiple cars or keeping your premiums paid in full. Others might offer discounts if you have a good driving record or if you’re renewing an existing policy.
It’s important to ask about any discounts when working with an insurance agency. Here are some common discounts companies offer: general bundle and billing discounts, bundle discounts, auto-pay, paperless billing, and payment in full.
- Bundle Discounts: Companies that offer multiple types of coverage often have discounts available for bundling policies. For example, you might be eligible for a discount if you purchase auto insurance, home insurance, and renter’s insurance from the same company.
- AutoPay: Many companies offer discounts for customers who enroll in their auto-pay program. It means that your premiums will be automatically deducted from your bank account each month.
- Paperless Billing: You may also get discounts for enrolling in paperless billing and receiving your monthly bills online.
- Payment in Full: Many companies offer discounts if you pay off your entire premium at the beginning of the coverage period.
You can get a better deal on your insurance policy by asking about these common discounts. Ask the insurance agency about the following types of discounts.
Car Insurance Discounts
You might get car discounts on the following:
- Good Student: Students with good grades may be eligible for a discount on their car insurance.
- Mature Driver: Older drivers might also qualify for a discount, particularly if they have taken a certified safe driving course and have not been in any accidents recently.
- Multi-Car: If you insure more than one vehicle with the same company, you may receive a discount.
- Vehicle Safety Features: You may also be eligible for a discount if your vehicle has security features, such as collision avoidance, auto braking, backup cameras, etc.
Home or Business Discounts
Insurance companies offer home and business insurance discounts if your property has alarm systems, leak protection, freeze detection, and auto water shut-off features. You should ask which security features make you eligible for discounts.
Some companies also offer discounts for certain occupations, such as teachers, military personnel, or government employees.
Discounts vary by company, so you must ask about any available discounts when shopping for insurance. You should also clarify if occupational discounts are available for retirees too.
Tip #6: Leave the Conversation Feeling Consulted—Not Sold
It’s very important that you feel like you’re being consulted about your insurance needs and not sold a policy. If an insurance agent is pressuring you to purchase a policy or add on the coverage you don’t need, it’s probably time to end the conversation.
Your goal should be to find an insurance company that will work with you to find the best coverage rather than push you to purchase. Be wary of insurance agents who seem more interested in making a sale than helping you find the right policy for your needs.
At the end of every conversation with an insurance agent, let them know what you gathered from the consultation. It will help them understand what kind of experience you want moving forward.
Suppose you searched for ”independent insurance agency Evansville, KY” and came across 20 agencies. After scouring their websites, you narrowed your selection down to five agencies.
How do you choose the best insurance agency for your needs?
One key factor to consider is customer service. You want an agency that will be responsive and helpful if you have any questions or concerns about your policy.
Another important consideration is how the agent dealt with you. Were they insistent on selling, or did they focus on meeting your needs? If their attitude was the former, you might want to consider a different agency.
Finding the right insurance company is only the first step in getting the best possible coverage. Once you’ve found a company you’re happy with, get multiple quotes, ask about discounts, and consult with an agent to find the perfect policy for your needs.
An agent’s job is to understand your needs, provide the best advice, and serve you as a client. Use the tips mentioned above to find the agency that can discover the best fit for your needs.At Torian Insurance, our client’s interest is our top priority. Being a dependable and trusted insurance agency in Evansville, IN, we have helped countless customers and continue to do so. Regardless of your needs, we can find the best policy for you. Contact us today to discuss your insurance needs in detail.