In a world of countless commercials and online insurance calculators, it’s hard to make sense of where the best insurance options can be found. Starting your insurance journey right can lead you to the right coverage at the right price for you. Here’s why an independent insurance agent really is your best option.
The Different Types of Insurance Agents
Before choosing an independent insurance agent off the bat, it can be helpful to know how they differ from other types of insurance agents.
- Online agents: As the name suggests, you find and work with these insurance agents online. Online agents can be either independent or direct. You don't get the option to meet with them face-to-face.
- Captive/direct writer agents: These are the agents that work for big-name insurance companies, like the ones you see on TV commercials. Though you may get matched to a popular insurance company, your agent isn't working for you. Captive agents are most interested in their contracts with these major insurers, not their customers' needs.
- Independent agents: These agents can be found in person or online, but what makes them stand out is that they're not contracted by just one insurance company, so they can work for you. Independent agents browse options from multiple insurance companies to get you the most affordable coverage that does what you need it to. They're also pros at finding you the discounts you qualify for.
Independent insurance agents can be found locally, so not only are they experts on finding affordable coverage, but they know the insurers in your specific area.
So What Really Makes Independent Agents Better?
There are many reasons you should choose an independent insurance agent over a captive or online agent.
Choose an independent insurance agent because:
- Independent agents are experts: Independent agents are experts in what they do. They really understand the products they sell and the companies that offer them. That's how they can get you matched to the right insurer and policy for you.
- Independent agents are your one-stop shop: Not only can independent agents find you the right coverage, but they're also there for you through the life of the policy. Independent insurance agents can file claims for you directly and much more.
- Independent agents are personable: Independent agents get to know you, your lifestyle, and your unique needs. This allows them to match you to the policy that really fits best.
- Independent agents are affordable: Instead of having to go through multiple online or captive agents to browse multiple companies and their product catalog, an independent insurance agent offers this service for you in one place. That means you end up saving money while shopping for insurance too.
Independent insurance agents put your needs first and work hard to survey all your coverage options before matching you to the right fit. They're not bound by one major company, so they're free to work for you.
What’s the Difference Between an Independent Agent and a Broker?
It can be a bit harder to separate independent agents and brokers. Here's how to tell them apart:
- Brokers can't write insurance policies: While independent agents can write insurance policies, brokers can't. But brokers can submit insurance applications for you. They create a binder, or temporary policy, that grows into a full policy after a month or two.
- Brokers don't have contracts: While independent insurance agents have already formed relationships with a list of companies, brokers are free to search the entire insurance realm for a company that matches your needs. But as a trade-off, they don't have the extra background info or insight into specific insurance companies like independent agents do.
- Brokers don't have specialty niches: While independent agents have niches that they specialize in, brokers don't. This can make brokers a better option if you're looking for a highly-specialized coverage that an independent agent might not be versed in. However, both independent agents and brokers are professionals that are highly educated in insurance.
Note that not all states have broker's licenses, so you'll only find independent agents in those areas. Independent insurance agents tend to have the edge over brokers when it comes to being a one-stop shop for their customers. They simplify the process of finding multiple forms of coverage in one go.
Which Costs Less: An Insurance Broker or an Independent Agent?
Well, the cost of an independent agent or broker could end up being the same. But brokers can set their own rates or toss in admin fees that might make their services less affordable than an independent agent's. That said, both independent agents and brokers are legally required to tell you how much they charge upfront, which means you'll have an idea of what you'll be paying before you agree to work with them.
So, how do you find independent insurance agents in Missouri?
All you have to do is head over to our database of Missouri independent insurance agents, which can be found here. From there, you're just a few quick questions away from entering a massive catalog featuring over 250,000 independent insurance agents. Our handy database will match you up to recommendations based on your coverage needs and location, and then you're ready to go.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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