Insurance Agents vs. Buying Direct
Why You'd Be Crazy To Buy Direct
Unless you've been hold up for the past few years in your apartment playing Second Life or have gone off the grid you most likely have seen those commercials with lizards, cartoon characters and colorful clerks peddling insurance. The attempt of these companies to make buying insurance more exciting than the product itself is understandable, but the effect of doing so could very well create complacent consumers not understanding the importance of having the right coverage before the right price. Let's face it insurance is not a glamorous product. People aren't shopping weekends for the latest insurance product and it's seldom a topic of conversation. That said, at the time of purchase it still needs careful attention and the lack of importance some direct writers portray auto insurance, or any insurance will, in my opinion, be problematic to some of their customers when they have an accident.
But even beyond the proper coverage issue I still don't understand why people are attracted to Direct Insurance Writers when they only offer one product. I mean we as American Consumers don't go shopping at stores that only sell one brand, or eat at restaurants where the only item on the menu is chicken. So why are we happy to purchase insurance from a company that only offers one product for one price?
Maybe as Independent Insurance Agents we've done a poor job promoting ourselves and staying ahead of technology. Scratch that, I know we've done a poor job. However, the fact does not change that Independent Insurance Agent provide a much better choice of insurance products, from a variety of companies. Not only do Independent Insurance Agents have a larger selection of products, but also provide several discounts and credits. They do not charge more for their products or service and unlike Direct Writers, they are brick and mortar and local. Add it all together and I think you would agree that anyone would be crazy to buy insurance from a direct writer.
LOCAL INSURANCE AGENTS
- Offers a choice of products & services
- Choice = Best Price & Product
- A personal insurance resource
- A local agent will know you best
Insurance Agents Offer Choice
Since the major attraction of Direct Insurance Writers is price I thought this would be the first things to talk about. I touched on it lightly above, but the simple fact is Direct Insurance Writers only offer on product at one price. In most cases the Direct Writer only offers car insurance and no other product like home insurance. That's not much choice in product or price if you ask me.
Independent Insurance Agents carry several insurance companies offering several different types of products all providing a different level of protection and coverage's. Whatsmore, each product offers a selection of discounts and credits. Take us for example. We offer a choice of 11 different car insurance companies and 13 Home Insurance companies; all offering a variety of credits and discounts like AAA group and Massachusetts Teachers discounts.
An Insurance Agent Is Your Personal Resource
When you have a question about insurance, want to make a payment, change, or have a claim issue or any issue; you have to call your direct writer which means that joyful trip through voicemail. And for those that think you can just go to their web site and get answers, you're out of luck because seldom will an insurance company answer any insurance question via email or web site. They usually have a policy in place to steer all inquiries to their call centers. It's all about tracking correspondence for legal reasons.
Granted, most Direct Insurance Writers have 24/7 support, but what is that worth if the person you're talking to is not educated in the insurance industry? Most likely the support on the other end is hired only to provide general assistance. If you currently have your insurance with a direct writer ask the person at the other end if they are licensed in Property & Casualty Insurance. I'm going to bet that they are not.
And I'm betting most of these companies have resources outside of the United States to answer calls and I can bet you that each time you call you'll get a different person. My point is a local insurance agent is one phone call away and without the dreaded voicemail labyrinth. With an Independent Insurance Agency you'll almost always work with the same person each time you call. Even better, with each conversation your agent will learn more about you; building a relationship that allows your agent to better understand you and your specific situation.
An Insurance Agent Has Your Back
Just the other day we had a client come in and complain that their insurance company charged a $5 late fee on a $20 reinstatement fee. I know, I know, no shocker here. What had happened is our client paid the remainder of the policy in full, but the payment did not get to the company before the policy cancelled. Because we have a long standing relationship with each of our companies we contacted the insurance company on our clients behalf and requested they reverse the $5 late fee as long as our client paid the $20 reinstatement fee to settle the balance. This is just an example of the service and resource we provide our clients every day as a full service Independent Insurance Agency.
An Insurance Agent Knows You Better
Like any relationship your Insurance Agent only knows what you tell him and what he may gather from your conversations. It's ultimately up to you to help your insurance agent understand your insurance needs and current financial situation. However, as time goes by your agent will gain from your growing relationship and will be better equipped to know and understand your specific insurance needs as they grow. A direct insurance writer is not capable of building that level of a relationship which could leave you more vulnerable to uninsured risks.