Author Topic: Any drawbacks to using an independent insurance agent?  (Read 870 times)

Unicorn

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Any drawbacks to using an independent insurance agent?
« on: September 23, 2017, 01:46:38 PM »

I'm looking to get lower prices on my auto and home insurance. I was thinking I would just try to get some quotes from the big names on my own, but it has been suggested to me that I use an "independent insurance agent" who can collect bids from multiple companies and coordinate getting the best price. Apparently these agents make money on commissions from the companies, and therefore I would not be paying extra (?!). This seems like too good an option to be without a catch (i.e., steer me to a preferred company for a bigger commission, or jack up the rate to cover the commission?)... Even so, though, if I don't like the quotes it seems I would not have to buy from them. Any pitfalls here that I am missing?

KMMK

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Re: Any drawbacks to using an independent insurance agent?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2017, 02:03:23 PM »
I'm an insurance broker - life/illness in Canada. So probably very similar, though not guaranteed the same.

As far as jacking up the rate, brokers have zero ability to do this. The insurance company sets the prices.
As far as steering you to a preferred company for more commission - possibly. But we make the most money by getting referrals from happy clients so it's in our interest to actually get you the best options. However cheapest is not always best.

Ask them to get you two or three quotes from the major companies and explain the pros and cons of each. Then you can make a decision. (Here there isn't that much variability with home and auto policies, but there can be small differences that actually matter depending on your situation.) And yes, you shouldn't have to buy from them.

There may also be online brokers where you just enter some info and quotes from various companies pop up and they contact you. I did that when I was curious about car insurance prices.

terran

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Re: Any drawbacks to using an independent insurance agent?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2017, 03:45:38 PM »
Definitely get an independent agent to shop around for you, but also get quotes from the companies that don't sell through independent agents (like Geico and Amica).

EarthSurfer

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Re: Any drawbacks to using an independent insurance agent?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2017, 11:34:31 PM »
Unicorn, ask for a referral to an agent from friends. Insurance agents who have been in a community for years are typically not going to oversell you.

In my experience, you will receive the same quoted price from both an independent agent and the company toll free quote line. I prefer to have the local independent agent who can help me work through the claims process rather than someone in a call center.

I have been using the same husband (health) and wife (property & casualty) agents for 17 years. They re-quote my insurance lines annually to ensure I have the appropriate coverage at the lowest pricing.