Buying car insurance plays a pivotal role in the holistic process of buying a car; people can choose to have local agents service the insurance for them, or choose to be serviced directly by carriers. Often, people choose to simply go with the policy with the lowest premium, but there are facts and myths with both. Here’s what you need to know.
Car Insurance Personal Agent
1. Personal Relationships: You will develop a connection with your insurance agent as you do with your dentist or physician. If you want to file a claim or make a change to your policy, your agent will work with you to attend to your needs
2. Multi-Line Policies: Usually, personal agents represent carriers with multi-line policies. If you are looking for other types of insurance as well, such as home or life insurance, this is another factor to weigh into your decision.
3. Competitive Rates: In the case of independent agents, they can choose from different carriers, allowing for a more competitive policy rate for you.
4. The Myth: An agent cannot negotiate a policy rate – they can only offer you a lower rate by reducing your coverage and cutting back on your policy, or if they are independent,
Car Insurance Direct Carrier
1. Convenience (phone): Largely, Direct carriers will staff call centers every day for 12 or more hours per day. It’s more convenient to get your questions answered, file a claim, and reach a live representative.
2. Convenience (web): Carriers also offer more convenient online tools to answer questions and address your needs. In many cases, this may be a more attractive option for the customer than meeting agents in person or over the phone.
3. Competitive Rates: Direct carriers can also provide competitive rates; because they do not employ personal agents, some of the middleman costs are cut out for the customer. However, working directly doesn’t guarantee a cheaper policy – direct carriers and agent carriers utilize different pricing strategies, and either choice may be cheaper for your specific insurance needs.
4. The Myth: It is commonly thought that direct carriers cannot address individual coverage counseling as effectively because they do not use personal agents. In reality, you speak to a licensed agent every time you call a direct carrier – agents who are equally as qualified as personal agents and can address your needs just as well.
Keep these things in mind when you invest in a new car insurance policy; everybody has unique needs and priorities, so explore your options and get the best deal!
This is our second post from Basil Enan of Coverhound.com. Let us know if you have any insurance questions he could address in this series.