Living here in Mesa, you need insurance for a variety of reasons. If you have a car, the state of Arizona requires minimum liability coverage, and if you owe money on it, your bank will require physical damage coverage as well. If you have a mortgage, your lender will require you to have homeowners insurance. And since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, you are also required to have health insurance. So what are your options to buy all of this insurance? Well, there is more than one way to get it. Here are the three major methods for buying insurance.
Buying Insurance Directly
When you buy insurance policies directly from the insurance company, such as with GEICO, you don’t actually have an agent. You make your own decisions and purchase insurance directly through the carrier website, or over the phone. With direct insurance, the only options you have are what that particular company offers, and for which you qualify. While real people still work at these insurance companies, to managing policies and claims, you won’t likely speak to the same person twice. The primary drawback to buying insurance directly is that you are on your own, making important decisions without the help of a trained insurance professional.
Buying Through a Captive Insurance Agent
As the name implies, captive insurance agents are “captive” to a single insurance company. While captive agents can give you personalized service, they represent the interests of just one company and are limited to the products, guidelines and pricing of that single provider. If the provider does not offer a particular product, or can’t provide coverage because of an underwriting rule, you will have to go somewhere else to find what you need. Captive agents may be able to offer competitive prices from time-to-time, but that may no longer be the case should your situation change, such as the case when you have a claim or have a new teen driver in the household.
Buying Through an Independent Insurance Agent
Like a captive insurance agent, an independent insurance agent will provide you with personalized service. However, unlike a captive agent, an independent agent is not beholden to one company. Instead, he or she represents a variety of insurance companies and act somewhat like a broker, providing a broad range of choices and coverages. What’s even better, is they can offer multiple price quotes for each type of insurance you need, which will help you find the best options for your budget.
As you could imagine, given the description above, there are many benefits to working with an independent agent. And regardless of where you live, you can likely find one close to your home, right in your community, making it easy for you to speak with them – they may even do house calls.
Independent agents will help you expose your potential liabilities, show you how to cover them, and suggested proper coverage amounts. Because they work with many different companies, they can review multiple policies to find one that fits your price points and coverage needs, meaning you’ll likely save money compared to a captive agent or buying direct. Most importantly, an independent agent isn’t beholden to the insurance provider – they work for you, not the insurance company.
Additionally, because they work with so many different insurance companies, you can continue working with your agent as your life changes, such as when your get married, move to a new home, get a dog, or have kids. Think of them as your one-stop-shop for all of your insurance requirements.
So while there are multiple ways to purchase insurance, it should be clear by now that some ways are better than others. Sure, you could get an instant quote online through a direct provider, but why wouldn’t you want the personalized advice and service that you could expect from an independent insurance agency? When it comes to insuring your property and those you love, you want to know you’re getting exactly what you need, at a competitive price. Call in independent insurance agent – you’ll be glad you did.