Woman/Man Seeking Insurance Agent
We all have qualities that we find desirable in the people we choose to invite into our lives. Everyone likes friendly, intelligent, and honest people, and an insurance agent shouldn’t be an exception.
Unfortunately, when you Google “Auto Insurance,” or “Insurance Agent,” Google doesn’t necessarily rank them by how knowledgeable, honest, or personable they are. While this may be true, you should never be afraid to ask your agent questions and get to know them. You entrust them with a huge portion of your financial security, and this blog will help arm you with some key things to look for in a great Insurance Agent.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. The law requires every insurance agent to carry an insurance license. Most agents should have a property and casualty insurance license as well as a life insurance license. A property and casualty insurance license allows them to sell auto, home, and business insurance. A life insurance license allows them to sell term, whole, universal life insurance products as well as fixed annuities. Sometimes insurance agencies will have employees or assistants that are not required to carry an insurance license. They should know better than to give insurance related advice, however you don’t need to be afraid to ask if they are licensed in the state you are doing business.
Along with being licensed, you want an agent that is knowledgeable. Does your agent know and understand complex insurance options? Can they quickly find resolutions to your problems? Can they provide the quality advice that you depend on them for in your time of need? An experienced insurance agent can prove to be invaluable. Insurance agent is a job position with high turnover, and when dealing with a big box insurance company you could be working with someone with very little experience. Don’t allow yourself to be someone’s guinea pig. Make sure that you are working with an experienced agent that can add value to your insurance.
Another key aspect to consider is if they are an independent insurance agent. An independent insurance agent has a distinct advantage over captive agents, or agents that only work exclusively with one company.
At Bridge First Insurance, I always warn clients that a captive agent is going to provide one option and usually insist on the company they represent. When an insurance agent only represents one company, they will have one option, and who knows how favorably that company is going to rate you? Every insurance company takes in hundreds of factors when determining your rate, and they all calculate them differently.
A person may get a very inexpensive quote from one company and a much more expensive quote from another depending on the factors that contribute most to their rates. In addition, they could be promoting certain coverage that the insurance company wants to sell that may or may not be in your best interest. If you have a captive agent competing against your current policy based solely on price, there is a chance they will begin to sacrifice coverage to lower the premium.
An Independent Insurance Agent’s advantage is that they are not tied to any one company. They usually recommend multiple companies and have a profound understanding in the factors that contribute to the best price. In addition, they know the reputation of the company and can factor this into your insurance decision. Usually, Bridge First Insurance will present multiple options and let the client decide what is most important as far as coverage, insurance provider, and price are concerned. With an Independent Insurance agent you have options that you won’t get anywhere else.
When looking for an agent, you should find out if they are local. At Bridge First Insurance, we like to meet our clients and build a personal relationship with them. This is impossible to do if your agent works out of a hub in Florida.
A local insurance agent will have a better understanding of the market in your area. They know the kind of coverage you need to be protected and other key coverage that could benefit you. For example, at Bridge First Insurance we know that a lot of homes in Arlington and Alexandria area are older. This can lead to issues with water damage and pipes breaking. To combat these risks, we offer additional coverage options. If you are from around here, then you know that these same homes still have huge price tags because of the other factors that contribute to the overall value of a home.
It is not uncommon to see a house that is worth $220,000 but is selling for $1,000,000 or more. When a mortgage company issues this loan they want to know that their $1,000,000 is protected, so they will require insurance for that amount. The insurance company will pay what it costs to rebuild the home but no more. What we see is homes that should be insured for $220,000 being insured for $1,000,000 because the mortgage company wants to make sure the home is rebuilt. This passes a huge insurance expense onto the homeowner for insurance dollars that they will never ever use.
When an insurance company offers guaranteed replacement, it allows the home to be insured at its correct value, and saves the client hundreds. Guaranteed replacement means that regardless of the home’s value on the insurance policy, the insurance company promises to completely rebuild it, even if costs exceed the limit of coverage. Not all companies offer this coverage, so it is of benefit to you to find a local independent insurance agent that can guide you in the right direction.
When I say available, I don’t mean single; I mean available when you need them. Your agent should be easy to contact. At Bridge First Insurance our clients know they can call, text, or email us any time. They can contact us through our website, Facebook page, or even Tweet us. We are available by almost any means of communication around the clock. Once you are a client it is easy to see the value between being one text away or having to call and dial through an automated message. If your agent won’t give out their cell phone number, then look for another agent like the ones at Bridge First Insurance.
Insurance is a service. Your insurance agent is the face behind the company. If your agent isn’t personable or likeable, find another agent. If you don’t feel like your agent is honest, find another agent. If they can’t or won’t make time to answer your questions, find another agent. If you don’t know how to reach your agent, find another one. If you don’t have an insurance agent or more importantly an independent insurance agent that meets all the criteria in this blog, find Bridge First Insurance.
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.