Q&A: What to Consider When Buying Insurance
Insurance may not be one of the most exciting items on your budget list, but it is one of the most important. Below, Workers Insurance Agency Account Executive Tara Fawe shares answers to common questions about the value of using a local, independent insurance agent.
What is an independent insurance agent and why is that important?
An insurance agent who works for just one insurance company is referred to in the industry as a “captive” insurance agent. They only sell that company’s products. As a licensed independent agent, I have access to multiple insurance companies, so it gives me the freedom to look for different rates and companies for my clients. For example, on TV people hear a lot about bundles, but bundling doesn’t always get you the best price. Maybe one company has a better price for home than they do for auto and vice versa. We can see the whole picture and do the work for you.
Also, a captive agent can only provide one rate, so lowering the price may mean lowering the coverage. An independent agent won’t sacrifice coverage for price. We might find a better, lower rate for better coverage with one insurance company than another. Having access to multiple insurance companies allows us to do the right thing for you.
What should consumers look for in an agency and an agent?
Make sure the agency has representatives who will build a relationship with you and be there to help you through the claims process should you have one. They should be in contact regularly and have a policy to proactively communicate with you, and the carrier on your behalf, if your premium goes up unexpectedly at renewal.
Our agents get to know their clients, so when you call, your agent knows your financial situation and your policy. We keep notes in our system so if your agent is out, another member of the team can also talk with you and make you feel comfortable.
Why is location important?
A local agency knows the insurance guidelines for the region as well as which carriers are offering the most competitive rates and programs. Local agents also offer the personalized option of face-to-face service in the office, or do business via phone, virtually, or electronically if you want to stay remote.
What should you do before your first meeting?
Before you sit down with an agent, make sure you have access to the details of your current policies. That gives us a starting point, so we can either replace or improve your coverage to bring you more value.
What training do independent insurance agents need to be certified?
We are required to take courses and pass a test to get a license. We also need to pursue continuing education to keep up to date with the current regulations. We never stop learning.
What do you like about being an independent insurance agent?
I’m helping clients with things that are very important to them like their homes, their vehicles, large purchases they've worked hard for. And I’m saving them money.
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