Why You Are Better Off With An Independent Insurance Agent
Did you click this blog to read about the value of an insurance agent? Please press 1. Have you considered how an agent can make sure you are properly insured? Please press 2. Have you considered the roll the agent plays in the claims process? Please press 3.
We all know the pains of dealing with a business that can be summarized as impersonal, uncaring, and having an elongated process that ends in being forwarded to someone else and the process hardly ever ends in answers.
Whether it’s your phone company, cable company, or even your insurance company, it’s an experience most of us dread. But does it have to be that way? Well, with Bridge First Insurance, it doesn’t have to be.
What does an agent cost you?
I wanted to tackle a common misconception people have about independent insurance agents. With a lot of products in our lives, it costs extra money when you go through a middleman. We all know that through the supply chain, a middle man can add to the cost of a product and that when we go directly to the source, it is usually less expensive. Although, this may be true with some products, insurance is a completely different ball game.
It is impossible to know the cost of insurance. Insurance companies use analytics to predict the potential cost accumulated by accidents, but they can never know for sure. They use tons of factors to predict risk. A good agent can, to an extent, weed through everyone and pick top-of-the-line clients with the lowest risk. When this is done effectively, the number of accidents is lower, meaning that the cost of insurance is lower for clients.
Look at some of the companies that don’t have agents. They spend millions of dollars on additional marketing because they don’t have a local presence. This additional marketing cost, as well as a lower ability to control claims, results in higher premiums, which means a company represented by an agent not only costs you nothing more than you’d already by spending, but actually keep costs low. An insurance agent isn’t a middleman, but a representative that can direct you to the best deal.
Now that we know insurance agents play a key role in migrating risk and keeping costs low for an insurance companies, what does an agent do for you the client?
How Does an Independent Insurance Agent help you get the most out of your insurance?
Independent insurance agents speak with hundreds of people every week about insurance. An experienced and professional insurance agent has seen almost every scenario play out. They have a profound understanding of the local market and needs of the people in the area they serve. An Independent Insurance agent can make sure you have the coverage you need. For example, in Northern Virginia, the law only requires $25,000 in coverage for someone else’s property (vehicle.) In this market, it’s common for people to have high-end Mercedes and BMW’s that easily exceed $50,000 in value. If you have the legal lower coverage limit, you could find yourself owing a lot of money. This is what we call an insurance gap. A professional insurance agent can make sure you purchase a policy that doesn’t have any gaps.
Everyone loves to save money but when you start naming your price, something has got to give, and you end up paying for it if you have an accident. When you don’t work with an agent, you are literally guessing on what fits you. I recently ran a quote for myself online with one of the major insurance companies. They showed a bunch of their analytics to help you make a decision on what coverage to have. The graph showed me that 58% of people my age opted for the lowest possible coverage. It was misleading. Ask yourself, what are they basing “People like me,” off of. Many people end up price obsessed and make decisions over a couple dollars that will hurt them in the long run. Another possibility when you aren’t working with an agent and just a company representative is that they are more focused on making the sale. They could provide you with a cookie cutter option, whatever will be the most profitable to them, and may have the company’s interests at heart, over your own. You have to remember that when it comes to your insurance, you are making potentially million-dollar decisions and you should trust an independent insurance agent to guide you.
An independent insurance agent is unique because they represent multiple insurance companies opposed to just one. They are able to direct you towards a quality company that fits you.
Did you know the average person only looks at two insurance companies when searching for insurance? Bridge First Insurance can look at as many as 10 different insurance companies for you.
As I mentioned before, insurance companies weigh hundreds of factors when determining your rate: your age, sex, location, driving history, vehicle type, usage, and more. An independent insurance agent can find the company that will provide you with the most favorable rate, allowing you to maximize your coverage while minimizing your cost.
A professional Insurance agent knows what it costs to increase certain coverage as well. Sometimes it only costs a couple of dollars to significantly increase coverage. When you are working with a big-box company you are going to get a cookie cutter policy. As an added bonus, independent insurance agents know what companies will offer discounts (like good student and military discounts) and which don’t, in order to make sure you can take advantage of those savings whenever possible.
Can an Insurance Agent help me during a claim?
Of course! This is when the agent can really shine and make a difference. You have an accident, you are not sure what to do, call you agent. When filing a claim your agent can advise you on next steps and procedures. They are your inside man. Remember when you file a claim you could potentially be rated differently when your policy renews, especially when most companies offer a discount for being claim-free.
If you are going to receive minimal benefit and risk losing key discounts, you may not even want to file a claim. A professional Insurance agent can help you make these difficult decisions.
The insurance agent acts as your point of contact. If you have questions or need advice, would you rather talk to an answering machine, or a person that can make things happen? That is the value of an agent.
Companies know that an Independent insurance agent has other options for you. If you report a bad experience, the agent can easily switch you to another company and won’t write any new clients with that company. This is another way to ensure that their clients have a smooth claims process. Anyone who doesn’t have an agent and has had an accident before knows what it feels like to be at mercy of a company that tells you how it is with no consideration of how it affects you.
Insurance agents play a key role in making sure that everything with your policy is up to date and in good standing. If there are inaccuracies in your policy, you are running the risk of having the company deny your claim or reduce what they will pay out. I can’t even tell you how many times people have called me and said they didn’t even know their policy had been canceled, because they changed bank accounts and no one at the insurance company contacted them. In this situation, if they had an accident they would be out of luck.
Do you underestimate the personal touch?
Most of Bridge First Insurances’ clients’ value having an independent insurance agent because they can advise on coverage and find them the most competitive rates with top companies. At Bridge First Insurance, your agent can be reached on their personal cell phone even after business hours to help in any way possible. I meet most of my clients and I have even helped several find new careers through my network. I have personally picked up a client at a collision center and drove them to work so they wouldn’t lose their job. We know our clients, we care about our clients, and if something happens, we are there for our clients. A big box insurance company with a policy bought online is just a company trying to turn a profit. An insurance agent is a person.
Jack has achieved success in the insurance industry through a consultative and honest approach to clients. He designed this approach around educating clients on important coverage and allowing them to decide what policy would best fit their insurance needs. In 2013, Jack and co-founder Dave Zappacosta, established Bridge First Insurance, as an independent insurance agency operating in Virginia, DC, and Maryland.