You need insurance to protect you financially, but finding an agent you can trust isn’t always easy. Is he going to give you real advice or sell you on everything to make more money for himself? Will he be there when you have a claim and really need him? Do your research before deciding who gets your insurance business.
A brand new insurance agent can be knowledgeable, but you can’t real world experience. An experienced agent has likely seen almost any insurance situation possible. He understands the ins and outs of the business so he can give you knowledgeable advice. And if he’s still in business for several years, he’s probably earned some loyal customers that have kept him in business. Most people wouldn’t stick around if he was a bad agent.
Your insurance agent doesn’t have to win a best personality award, but he should be personable and sincere. You want someone who has people skills so you know he can communicate with you. He should also be someone who listens to your needs and responds to them. If he rambles on when you first meet him and doesn’t take the time to listen to your concerns, he sure won’t do those things once he gets you as a client. If he doesn’t work hard to earn your business, you should question how hard he’ll work to keep it.
Accidents don’t always happen during business hours. You need an insurance agent who is available when you need him. Look for strong customer service. Does the agent get back to you right away with your quote? Does he pass you off to someone else? The agency’s customer service representative may handle regular account maintenance, but you should be able to reach your agent as well.
What are the procedures if you have a question or claim after hours? Does the agency have an after-hours line? Or can you call the insurance company directly?
Check out the services the agent has available. A captive agent only offers insurance through one company. State Farm agents are examples. This limits your options to only State Farm products. While you might find the company fits your needs, you might also find the flexibility offered by an independent agent — who can get you quotes from several different companies — is better for you.
Whether you choose a captive or independent agent, check out the scope of products offered. Make sure the agent offers all of the insurance products you need. It’s easier and often cheaper to have all of your insurance through one company.
Go With Your Gut
Trust your instincts when choosing an insurance agent. You can often get a vibe from someone when you meet them. Don’t rush in to the decision. Check out several agents to find one that fits your needs and offers you the kind of customer service you want.