Tips on How to Choose an Insurance Agent

Just as it is important to research and choose your automobile insurance company carefully, it is equally important to choose the insurance agent that is right for you. Unless you live in a very sparsely populated area, you do have multiple options when it comes to insurance agents, even within the same insurance company. Some of the larger insurers try to have multiple sales agents even within the same zip code. Here are some things to consider when you are choosing an insurance agent.

Location: is the agent’s office convenient enough to your home or workplace that you can drop by easily for payments, questions, policy changes, etc?

Office hours: will the agent’s office be open when you need it to be? Does he have extended hours or what would stereotypically be considered “bankers hours”. If the office is open when you need it to be, will it be manned by support staff, or will the agent actually be there?

Does the agent communicate in the manner that you need him to: telephone, email, text, etc?

Whatever the method of communication, does the agent respond to your requests quickly? If you prefer email, does the agent respond personally, even if it is only to tell you that he is forwarding your question to the attention of someone else who might be better able to provide an answer? Whether you have purchased a policy from the agent or are still researching him, the results should be the same.

How long has the agent been in the business, and how does that matter to you? Are you looking for a younger agent who is new to the business, fresh out of training on the most up-to-date proceedures and eager to do whatever it takes to earn and keep your business? Or are you looking for an older, more experienced agent who hopefully knows the business inside-out and might be less likely to make a mistake when handling your issues?

Get out and meet the agent in his place of business. You can learn a lot about a person by looking them in the eye. You also have the opportunity to meet any support staff and check out how the agent runs his office.

Don’t be shy. Ask the agent these questions. After all, it is your money. If you do buy an insurance policy through an agent whom you later realize is not such a good fit for you, but you are happy with the insurance company itself, you can request a change. Some insurance companies may try to tell you that you cannot change agents, but if it really wants to keep your business (and what company doesn’t want to these days) they will let you switch if you insist. You can change agents without changing insurance companies.

This article is approved for informational purposes and is not intended to take the place of competent local legal counsel. It does not endorse any specific insurance company or agent.

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