Today there are a lot of options to choose from when you’re searching for an insurance agent. There are advertisements on TV, billboards on the highway and so much more. It can be hard to know where to turn for an insurance agent you can trust. You need an agent or a broker who can put your needs first, and one that will help you shop for the best discounts and coverage options possible. You don’t have to just pick one that sounds good and hope for the best. We’ll help you decide with these important selection tips.
Independent Agents vs. Exclusive Agents
The first thing you need to know in your search for an insurance agent is the difference between independent and exclusive representatives. Independent agents are typically small business owners who live and work in the same community as you. They are a representative of multiple insurance companies, and they are familiar with coverage options offered through each carrier. They are not tied to any one insurance company, which means they can shop around for the best prices depending on the customers needs.
An exclusive agent, as the name suggests, is a representative of one insurance company. They are paid to outline and sell only one insurance company’s coverage options to customers. Since it is in their best interest to sell coverage from the company they work for, you are not able to price compare or evaluate different coverage options side by side.
If you’re loyal to a particular insurance company, you may choose to just go through an exclusive agent. However, the majority of customers are better off comparing coverage options and prices before they decide on one company over another. Often insurance needs change from year to year, and it’s wise to compare prices and coverage options each time you change your insurance portfolio. Only an independent agent can offer that service. In addition, Independent agents often represent the company you may be loyal to. You can still get your chosen coverage, just with the piece of mind that you’re getting a good deal. Be sure to check with the agent to ensure they represent the insurance company you’re interested in first.
Do Your Research
Today, reviews and business ratings are vital in shopping for any service, be it a mechanic, carpenter, or an insurance agent. Chances are if the company performs sub par work, people will write about it on the web so other customers won’t have the same experience. Of course, it’s wise to take any review with a grain of salt. If the review is full of rants, bad language, and exaggerated comments, you probably shouldn’t take the review as accurate. Look for quality comments, be it positive or negative. A rational customer will be able to relate their experience succinctly, be it bad or good. These are the reviews you should pay the most attention to.
Of course the quantity of reviews is not to be overlooked. A lot of bad reviews is probably a sign to move on to the next agent, while a collection of positive reviews is a sign you should investigate the agent further. Reviews are an important part of the process, but your search doesn’t stop here. Find several top rated agents, and keep a list as you go along. As you continue your research, you can cross the less than ideal agents off the list.
Check Their Website
Websites are another great indication of the quality of the agent. If the website is well organized and focused on helping customers learn more about the company and insurance options, that is a good sign you’ve found a quality agent. Don’t forget to check the About Us Page for details on the company and its agents. Next, stop by the blog to see recent posts. If they haven’t posted anything for years, it might be a sign they’re not investing much time in their website or their customer’s questions and needs.
Quality website design isn’t always an indicator you’re working with a good agent, but if their site is poorly designed or disorganized, then it’s usually an indication to move on. Use your judgment as your visit each site. Flashy design isn’t as important as a site that functions properly and fulfills customer questions and needs. A company can sink a lot of money into a site but not provide quality service for all their customers. Use your best judgment and look for a website that is unique and genuine.
Ask Your Friends And Family
Referral is an important part of any evaluation process. You’re bound to trust family and friends more versus some stranger on the internet. Do your initial research first so you know who they are talking about when you ask. If your friends and family suggest someone outside your list, add them to your list, but make sure you check them out in more detail before choosing them. Just because they work for your family or friends doesn’t ensure they’ll be the best agent for you. This said, some guidance from people in your life always helps in decisions like selecting an insurance agent.
Talk To The Agent
Once you’ve narrowed down your pool of potential agents, be it independent or exclusive agents, schedule a call or appointment with them. Make sure you have an independent agent on your list so you can see how their comparison shopping will work for you. If you’re searching for homeowners insurance, suggest a home visit from the agent. Ask for a sit down meeting to see if you mesh with your agent. You want an agent who will work with you, not one that will disappear once they have your business. It’s not a bad idea to have a list of questions together when you talk to the agent. Make sure they are knowledgeable and appear like someone you can trust. There’s nothing worse than working with an agent you don’t like. Take the time now to ensure you’ve selected the best insurance agent for your needs.
Final Thoughts On Selecting An Insurance Agent
Selecting the right insurance agent for you can be a little overwhelming, but it’s certainly not impossible. Just take your time as you ask friends, read online reviews and contact agents. We at Square State Insurance understand you need to evaluate several different companies to find what is best for your needs, and we want to be one of the companies on the list. We are an independent agent that works with top insurance companies to find the best prices and coverage options for our customers. We provide prompt, friendly service, and we’d love the opportunity to sit down and answer your questions and find the right coverage for you. Contact us today and we’ll show you why we’re a top rated insurance company in Colorado.