Insurance is tricky. Between knowing which policies your business needs, how much coverage each policy should have, and all the fine print in between, deciding who to purchase coverage from can be the decision that throws you over the edge.
You have two main options, each with their own benefits. But when trying to decide if you should work with an insurance company or an independent insurance agency, which is best?
While the right answer depends on your individual insurance needs, we put together a list of signs that will tell you it would be a mistake to work with an independent insurance agency.
What is an independent insurance agency?
First, let’s address the obvious question. What is an independent insurance agency? Essentially, independent insurance agents are insurance middlemen.
When you work with an insurance company, the only products they offer are their own.
But when you work with an independent insurance agency, they’re able to provide products from multiple insurance companies.
If we had to provide the main differentiating factor between the two, it would be variety. With a company, you’re incredibly limited in your choices. But should you work with the right independent insurance agency, your options for insurance can be nearly limitless, guaranteeing the perfect insurance match.
But remember, there are signs you shouldn’t work with an independent insurance agency. To save you from heartache, explore these reasons and see if any describe you.
You don’t care about saving money.
An insurance company can only offer you one type of general liability insurance or one type of cyber insurance. This means you’ll only receive one price point as well. Independent insurance agencies are able to shop around and offer you similar products with different price points. If you don’t mind paying more for coverage you could get at a discounted price elsewhere, then an independent insurance agency isn’t for you.
You don’t like options.
Just as independent insurance agencies can provide you a selection of policies based on price, you’ll also be provided with different policy coverage levels. If you’re looking for a basic policy that will help you sleep better without costing you a fortune, an independent agent can help you find one. If you would rather have a policy that covers more, even if it costs a bit more, an independent agent can provide you with several to choose from. But if you just want to be stuck with whatever a company offers, whether it fits your needs or not, don’t work with an independent agent.
You like to work harder, not smarter.
Maybe you don’t want to spend more than you have to, and you want to make sure you have choices. We commend you for this. But if you want to spend your free time calling different insurance companies, asking for quotes, and keeping track of all the details, an independent insurance agency isn’t for you. After all, they would do all this work for you, letting you enjoy your free time so you can spend it relaxing with family or tackling your newest hobby.
You enjoy poor customer service.
How do you prefer to be treated when you’re giving a company your hard-earned money? Do you prefer to be spoken to directly and treated as an individual or do you prefer to be ignored and considered to be nothing more than a number? If you love being mistreated, then an independent insurance agency isn’t for you. You’ll prefer working with an insurance company, who focuses on meeting quotas and ignoring customer retention advice. You wouldn’t like the personal touch an independent insurance agency puts on every experience. The fact that they have your best interests in mind and are more concerned about your wellbeing rather than making a sale might bother you.
You prefer to not understand your insurance policies.
Insurance policies can be difficult to break down into layman’s terms. They’re often filled with fine print and legal terms that are enough to make anyone’s head spin. If you prefer to stay in the dark and not understand exclusions and limits in your policy, leaving you vulnerable to obscene out of pocket costs should you have to make a claim, we suggest working with an insurance company. They’re not always available to answer questions. If you want to make sure no one asks you if you have any questions or reaches out to you from time to time to make sure you’re satisfied with your policy, don’t work with an independent insurance agency.
Do any of these describe you or your business? We certainly hope not! While both companies and agencies have their advantages, we’ll always be team agency. We may be a bit biased but we’re sure that once you take the time to see the big differences between the two, an agency will always be the clear winner.
How to Find an Independent Insurance Agency
Don’t worry, finding an independent insurance agency isn’t difficult. In fact, we know where you can find one right now (hint, hint). But if you want to take your time and explore your agency options, here’s what to do.
- Gather contact information for several companies. This can be done online or by asking around.
- Get quotes from each company. The cheapest insurance isn’t always the best option and the most expensive isn’t always the worst option. But knowing ballpark prices can help narrow down your choices.
- Schedule consultations. Once you have your favorite companies picked out, it’s time to sit down with each one and ask the important questions. Have policies thoroughly explained and make sure you understand limits and exclusions.
- Purchase coverage. Ideally, one company will stick out amongst the competition. Once you know which insurance agency is right for you, don’t delay in finalizing policy purchases. The sooner you’re covered, the better.
Purchasing insurance can be complicated. There are several decisions that need to be made and because you’re not in the insurance industry, the answers might seem out of reach. Working with an independent agent is one way to get the answers you’re after, but if an agency isn’t for you, you can still find coverage. It just might be expensive, inadequate, or full of exclusions.