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Factors to Consider When Choosing an Insurance Agent

Picking an insurance agent can be a challenge. Although most people rarely speak with their insurance agent, you should have an agent that you can work with and trust. Remember, when a covered event occurs, you’ll want your insurance agent to be someone with integrity who makes you feel comfortable.

Here are some things to consider when choosing an insurance agent.

Referrals

A referral can be a powerful thing. Talk to your loved ones and friends to find out who their insurance agent is and whether or not they would refer their agent to others.

If possible, pick agents who you know have helped friends and loved ones with claims on their insurance. The true test of an insurance agent and policy happens when a claim is opened, so if you can find an agent who has helped someone you love, you’ll know that agent is likely to help you with a claim when the time comes.

Licensure

Check each insurance agent’s license to ensure that they are approved to do business in your state. When you’re checking the license, find out whether or not the agent has had any complaints against his or her license.

Some insurance agents may be licensed in multiple states, so you can keep the same insurance agent in the event that you move. This may be a factor to consider if you plan to move someday in the future.

Different types of insurance may require different types of licenses. If you’d like to get different types of insurance from the same agent, you’ll need to find out whether or not that person is licensed to sell the insurance you’d like to carry.

Organizational Skills

You might not be able to tell how organized an insurance agent is when you’re just talking to them on the phone. You’ll find out more when that agent drafts a policy.

Before signing on the dotted line, ask yourself: Is the information accurate the first time? Is the agent responsive to your questions and quick to make changes when they’re needed? Does the agent follow through on the things that he or she says will be done?

Be wary of insurance agents who make too many small errors, who don’t answer their phone quickly, who have a hard time returning phone calls, and who always seem to be a few days behind. These are red flags that can become a problem in the event that you ever decide to make a claim.

Interview Responses

You should interview any insurance agent before buying their insurance. When questioning the agent, ask questions such as:

  • Do you have any areas of expertise?
  • How long have you been in the insurance business?
  • Do you have any references?
  • How do you provide excellent customer service?
  • How much continuing education do you take every year?

The answers an insurance agent provides can tell you something about their communication skills. Hire an insurance agent who answers the questions in a way that makes sense to you.

Type of Agent

Insurance agents can be captive agents, independent agents, or brokers. A captive agent contracts with only one insurance agency, while an independent agent will have contracts with several different insurance agencies. These agents do not charge a fee to the insured.

A broker shops for insurance for a consumer and charges the consumer a fee for the service. When picking an insurance agent, understand the difference between these different types of agents.

If you’re in need of an insurance policy, ask friends and loved ones for referrals, then start contacting agents in your area. These tips can help you find an agent and a policy that is right for you.

For more information about shopping for insurance, contact Lanham Agency. We’re happy to answer your questions and give you more information about buying insurance in your area.