Independent insurance agents are almost always the best way to go when you are trying to get the best insurance rates and have the most options. Independent insurance agencies are able to present various options for their clients, they are usually able to save their clients money on policies such as auto, home, business, motorcycle, and boat insurance.
What is an independent agency?
Independent insurance agents represent multiple companies and sell multiple products. This usually results in lower premiums since there are more companies that are shopped. They are also open to better underwriting options because different companies offer varying policies and underwriting guidelines.
What is a captive agency?
A captive insurance agency is typically an agency that sells almost exclusively through one company. Think State Farm, Nationwide, Geico, or Allstate. These companies can have competitive rates provided you meet their criteria for their target market.
What is an online insurance company?
This refers to a company that is accessed online where you are able to quote and issue your own policy. The issue with these companies is you will likely only get quoted by one company or only a handful of companies. Further, you will not have a local agent whom you know and trust. Future service or claims questions are always left to calling a call center or chatting online with a different company representative every time.
What are some of the companies that independent agencies sell through?
People often ask what companies we write through since we market our individual agency name.
Some of the more common ones that we write through are shown below. These companies are commonly used in other independent agencies as well
- National General (GMAC)
- The Hartford
- Liberty Mutual
- Universal Insurance
- State Auto
Why use an independent insurance agency?
More Insurance Companies to Shop
By representing numerous companies, they can typically quote them all and give you better pricing. Most independent insurance agents have some form of comparative rating software that allows them to shop various insurance carriers at the same time without having to quote each one individually.
This saves time and money during the shopping process. The law of numbers proves that if you get quotes through 12 different insurance companies then you will likely find a better rate with one of the 12 rather than just calling 1 company.
Less Stringent Underwriting Guidelines
Whereas captive insurance companies can be very particular about their target market, going through an independent insurance agent gives you various companies and policy options. Some examples of situations where your rates might be negatively impacted by certain captive agencies are shown below.
- Poor credit
- Tickets or accidents
- A suspended drivers license in the last 5 years
- A recent home claim
- Inexperienced operator
- No prior insurance
- Insurance on older home
- Business insurance on certain business types
You Need an Expert
Insurance is complicated and you need an expert to help explain coverage and give advice. Just like you would hire a medical doctor for health problems or an attorney for legal concerns, you should put your trust in an insurance professional to help explain terms you may not understand or be familiar with.
One Stop Shop
Your typical independent insurance agency can offer you most or all of your insurance needs under one roof. This way when you have questions on your various policies you won’t have to call around to multiple agencies to get answers. Your independent agent can shop your rates for all of your insurance policies giving you several options.
An independent insurance agency is a valuable source for all of your insurance needs. Too often people feel safe by going with one of the 4-6 insurance companies that you see advertisements for almost daily. Those ads are expensive and that typically means you could be paying for them to find their future clients. I currently have all of my personal and business policies through 7 different insurance companies and this saves me the more money on my premiums versus bundling it with one company that may charge me a lot more on certain policies. If you are worried about your bottom line than you should consider getting a quote through a local independent agent.
We work directly with a lot of captive insurance agencies and when we feel like our clients are better served by placing their policy or policies with one of those companies, than we refer them. Many captive companies return the favor and refer clients to us when they may not be able to offer them the most competitive rates.
It is up to you to make that choice because you cannot rely on others to provide you what is best for you. I recommend at least putting an independent insurance agency on your list the next time you are shopping for insurance.