Consider These 4 Factors When You Pick an Insurance Agent
Once you’ve decided to seek out an insurance agent, there’s still another important decision to make: choosing an insurance agent from the large pool of agents in your area. It’s not as simple as walking into the nearest insurance office and purchasing from the first agent you meet. Different agents may be more or less suited to your specific needs, and some agents are simply better than others. How to choose? Here are some factors to keep in mind.
- Word of Mouth. Talking to friends, family and coworkers about their insurance agents is a good place to start. Hearing their firsthand experiences is invaluable, and if someone really likes his or her agent, this person will be eager to put you in contact.
- Online Reviews. Reading online reviews is another way to identify possible agents, but keep in mind that, in general, people are much more likely to take the time to post a negative review, so don’t rely solely on these sources.
- Vetting. You can research agents and providers by visiting the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner website, which offers a wealth of information on all things insurance in Washington.
- Location. Regardless of how you research agents, picking an agent near you is usually beneficial, not only for convenience but also because this agent’s reputation within the community might be easier to gauge.
Once you have a small list of potential agents, simply call them up and explain that you are in the market for insurance. This initial chat can be indicative of how the relationship with this agent might progress, so pay attention to the conversation.
The agent should be asking lots of questions about you, your family, home, vehicle, even your interests, all with the goal of trying to understand your unique situation so he or she can offer coverage that fits your needs. If an agent sounds to be simply “checking boxes” on a form and rushing to get you a quote, it might be a red flag.
You might want to ask the following questions.
- How quickly do you respond to calls or emails?
- What is your background and experience level?
- What types of insurance do you specialize in, if any?
- How often do you schedule coverage reviews? (Tip: An annual review is ideal.)
- How involved will you be when I need to file a claim?
Ready to Buy?
Working with an insurance agent provides a myriad of advantages — as long as you find the right agent. With the right due diligence, however, you should be protected in no time, and on the path to having an agent relationship that yields invaluable of peace of mind.
–Written by Matt Forrest