UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020
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If you are serious about your insurance needs, you should probably speak with an agent directly over the phone rather than by just looking at your computer screen. But it is important to have an agent who cares about your needs and has the knowledge and resources to get you the policies you should have at a price you can afford. Here are a few tips to help you know whether your agent is on your side, or whether it is time to shop around for another solution.
One way to be sure your agent is looking after your best interests is to go with an independent agent instead of one that is employed solely by one insurance company. Independent agents, instead of working for an insurance company, work directly for their customers; trying to find the best rates and looking for discounts that will help save you money. Captive, or dedicated, agents work for one company, and their salary may not be dependent on keeping happy customers. Instead, a captive agent may be more interested in selling you policies you don’t need, or trying to convince you that you are getting the best rates on the market.
If your agent is constantly trying to sell you some new coverage or policy, it could be a sign that the agent is interested in making sales, but not in your needs. An agent that is looking out for your best interests will let you know if there is a policy you need to have or extra coverage that fits your needs, but she may not push you to purchase policies that would not be of much help. It is a fine line between pushing insurance policies and making sure that your financial interests are being protected, but an agent that has your best interests at heart will do just that.
It is not so much that captive agents are working against you as the fact that they have fewer price schedules and insurance options to offer. Instead of picking among the policies and discounts offered by several different companies, the captive agent is locked into what he can offer and the breaks he is able to give you. Next time you’re looking to compare insurance quotes, try using a few different agents in order to get the best price and service.