There are a number of reasons why an independent insurance agency may be the right choice for your car insurance needs. Independent agents have the flexibility and can meet a wide variety of car insurance requirements, sometimes better than their dedicated counterparts.
Many people choose a “dedicated” agent or one that works for only one company. There are certainly valid reasons to make this choice. A dedicated agent is not distracted by giving service to a great number of companies and can focus solely on his or her company’s products.
Likewise, there are reasons to choose a strictly online agency. Online insurers tend to have lower prices, although you have to do a great deal of your account management yourself. You might choose a dedicated company like State Farm, and also do a great deal of your business online, as well.
However, an independent insurance agent has many advantages over the other two systems. For one thing, an independent agent can give you the lowest prices because he or she can compare rates from several companies which the agency serves. This gives you a basis of comparison for several rates and helps you keep your prices low.
Unlike dedicated agents, independent agents do not serve a single company, and therefore have more flexibility to find you the best deals.
This can also be a disadvantage, however. Because independent agents do not have only one “boss,” they may not be as familiar with rules, discounts, and other things pertaining to each company they serve. Most independent agents stay well informed because they keep up with the latest information from their companies, but having more companies to deal with makes it more likely they might miss a key piece of information which would be beneficial to you.
Another advantage of independent agents is that they are usually located locally. They are your neighbours and friends and can help you with your car insurance needs with a personal touch. In this case, they have a strong advantage over online companies, where you may feel more like a number and less like a valued customer.
Again, this can also be a disadvantage. Because these agents are located locally, they may not be as familiar with the insurance picture as a whole on a state or national scale. It is up to the agent to keep abreast of the latest news, but dedicated agents and online companies may have a slight edge in this regard, due to the fact that they operate on a more global scale.
In general, people choose independent agents because they represent the best of both worlds. They combine the hometown friendliness of a local agent with the flexibility of choosing among several companies.
However, be careful when choosing an independent agent. By their nature, independent agents are not tied to any specific companies. They generally advertise their largest companies but may represent several others. However, if you are leaning toward dealing with a specific company, not every agent will handle that insurer, so you must find one who does.
Other independent agents may want to steer you toward other companies. If you have a good reason for choosing a specific company, try visiting that company’s website and locating a local agent. This is a good way to narrow your choice of independent agents to those who carry the particular product you want.
Should you not interested in any particular company, find an independent agent with whom you feel comfortable. You can accomplish this by visiting several agencies and talking with the representatives. You want to have a good working relationship with your agent so that you can call for information or help when you need it.
Categories: Auto Insurance