The Importance of an Independent Insurance Agent

Heidi & ErwinFor the last two weeks we have been discussing different elements of a policy that affects a premium. We stressed that not all policies are written the same way even if the Dollar amount of coverage is the same and this, of course, will affect the premium. Therefore, we determined that it was extremely important to review the details or fine print of each coverage provided in the policy. However, how can busy consumers be expected to know and understand all the finer points of an insurance policy? You have enough on your plate without having to become an insurance expert too!

This is where a good insurance agent or broker comes in. Imagine if you woke up with a high fever, nausea, an ugly rash, and a nose bleed. While you might look your symptoms up on the Internet to get an idea of what you had, would you go all the way to finding out what medicine you should take and then go to the pharmacy and buy it without ever seeing a trained physician? Common sense screams “No!” A visit to your trusted doctor is a foregone conclusion. Likewise, you obviously should do your homework before you purchase any insurance policy, but to do so without the advice and counsel of a trained insurance professional could lead to much heartache in the future.

Remember that your independent insurance agent or broker is like your real estate agent or attorney. They work for YOU. Just like a real estate agent is the go-between between you, the buyer of real estate, and someone selling property, insurance agents and brokers are the go-between, between you and the various insurance companies to which they have access. Anybody can sell you a policy, but GOOD insurance agents and brokers are not there to merely sell you an insurance policy. They should also provide you with sound advice about which of the many options is best for you and make sure that no gaps are left in your overall risk protection program. So when discussing insurance quotes with your agent or broker, discuss the entire quote including the details, not just the price. Always ask questions. Make sure you totally understand what you are buying before you buy it. Believe it or not, there is nothing more professionally rewarding than to obtain the best coverage for a client and still have that client save a lot of money!

So, how do you find a GOOD insurance agent or broker? Well, how do you find a good doctor, dentist, lawyer, contractor, or almost any other service provider? Referrals. Speak with your friends, co-workers, family members, and other people you trust and ask them who they use and if they would make a recommendation. Also ask WHY they would make the recommendation. Ask about the advice the agent or broker gives, the problems they helped avoid, and the satisfaction or dissatisfaction felt after submitting a claim. This will give you a good idea of who to use as your agent or broker too! Find someone with whom you can partner and trust so that you not only get insurance you can afford, but also insurance that protects you, your family, and your hard-earned assets.

– Ray Alvarez

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