How to Choose an Insurance Agent

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Do You Need An Insurance Agent?

I talk a lot about how great the internet is for finding insurance. You can find company financial ratings, customer satisfaction ratings, and even websites that list complaints.

You can also learn about different types of policies you may want to purchase. For example, you may know you want to buy life insurance, but you do not know if you should purchase term life, whole life, or universal life. Getting these types of policies explained can help you make a good decision.

And finally, you can find online insurance quotes from many companies. Some insurers will allow you to get quotes for their rates, but some quote forms even allow you to compare multiple premiums from different companies.

All of this is convenient, and it can save you a lot of time. But the truth is, many consumers want to sit down with an experienced insurance professional before they make a final decision. I think this is great. You may learn a lot online, but an agent who has a lot of experience with his or her products can bring up some things you may not find online because you did not even know to look for them!

How To Find Good Insurance Agents

Of course, some agents will be more motivated by sales goals than by selling customers the best policy. In my experience, though, agents that stay in business a long time do so because they want to keep their clients, and they want to get that client to refer their friends.

  • This is not always true, but in general you should be wary of any agent that seems very focused on one product. Make sure that he or she listens to you first. You can explain your concerns, and your unique situation. After that, your agent should make suggestions about the types and amounts of coverage you need. In fact, some agents will want to set two appointments with you. On the first appointment, they may interview you, and then come back to suggest products after they have done some careful research and analysis. This will not always be true, but if your agent wants to set a second appointment, you will probably do better by giving that professional time to give you carefully thought out answers. Sometimes you can do the first step over the phone or through email, and then just meet in person for the second step.
  • Start off with online quote forms to check rates. Most of the time, they will also give you contact information for local agents. This can be a quick and easy way to narrow down your search so you do not have to speak with multiple people.
  • You may want to ask your friends and family which companies or agents they use. The right company or policy for the family next door or your aunt may not always be the right choice for you. But if they like their policy enough to tell you about it, that is a good sign!

Get The Best Insurance Policy For You

You do not want to buy insurance to please anybody but yourself. Make sure you are purchasing your policy because it is the right thing to do, and not because you feel pressure from a good sales person. A good agent should be happy to work with you, and they should not be concerned that you have a lot of questions about prior research you have done on your own.