How Do I Find a Good Insurance Broker?

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If you are in search of insurance, you may be wondering how you can get the most out of your policy. Fortunately, there are people who are experts at tailoring plans to the needs of their clients: insurance agents. These brokers work to ensure that you sign up for the proper insurance plan, stay aware of changes in your insurance, and make smart choices when it comes to filing claims. How do you go about finding a good insurance agent? These are some tips for finding a trustworthy, smart, and credible broker.

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In order to find a good insurance agent, you’ll first need to consider what your needs are. Every insurance agent has their own approach to insurance policy pairing, and finding someone who fits with you is crucial for a positive long-term business relationship. This isn’t only about the agent’s attitude or temperament, but it’s also about what they can bring to the table in terms of expertise, community, and specialty. Why are you signing up for insurance? Are you expanding an old policy, or starting a new one? Are you interested in consolidating your insurance plans with one company? If so, choosing a broker that is company-specific is a good choice. However, if you plan to have multiple insurance plans, an independent contractor may be a better option.

Oftentimes, you can find trusty insurance agents by searching within your community or asking around in your circle of friends and family. Creating a relationship with someone in your locale can give you a face-to-face relationship with your broker rather than requiring you to depend on spotty online communication. If you locate some good agent candidates, you can arrange a few meetings to give you a chance to interview them. You want to avoid people who seem focused only on selling a policy as quickly as possible or on collecting commissions rather than advocating for your best interest. Good insurance agents should be able to provide past history of success in protecting their client’s assets, including favorable client recommendations or references. A good agent should also be able to walk you through the process of filing a claim, adjusting insurance information, and related processes.

What Characteristics Should You Look for in an Insurance Agent?

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On a base level, you want to find an insurance agent that you believe is trustworthy, responsible, and working in your best interest. If you do not trust your agent, you will struggle to have fluid communication, which is essential in a relationship where sensitive information is exchanged. On this note, good insurance agents should encourage open communication, whether by phone, email, or online communication forms through their website. They should make it easy to get in touch with them, be receptive to your communication, and respond within a reasonable timeframe to your messages/calls. 

You’ll also want to find an agent with good experience/credentials. You’ll want to ask them about their history, as well as run a background check on any potential insurance agents. They should be able to provide an up-to-date copy of the verification of their licensure. Strong agents will likely have a distinguishing title such as Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI), or Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)/Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU). These upper-level degrees demonstrate that an agent is trained in more than sales and will be able to help you navigate various branches of your insurance policy with total confidence.

Lastly, you’ll want to find an agent who is willing to take the time to listen, analyze, and cater to your requirements. Good agents will steer clear of one-size-fits-all policies, helping to tailor-make a plan that is applicable to your individual life. Agents with integrity will keep their focus on your needs rather than their financial kickback.

Is It Worth Using an Insurance Agent?

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Although it’s not a requirement to go through an agent to get an insurance plan, brokers come with plenty of perks. Their job is to ensure that you choose the proper policy for your needs. If you are not versed in insurance terminology and/or have minimal experience with selecting comprehensive insurance plans, agents can help you make the smartest choices possible regarding your policy. A good broker will keep you from selecting any unnecessary policies, while also ensuring that the plan you do end up choosing is geared towards your needs. This can save you money in the long run.

An insurance agent is also around to give you ongoing advice about your policy. They help you keep up with any necessary changes in your policy that might need to be reviewed or updated year-to-year. If you struggle to understand the ins and outs of your insurance policy on your own, you may miss these little benchmarks without outside intervention. It will be your broker’s job to keep up with these. They will also be able to help you to adjust your plan in the event of major life transitions, including marriage, divorce, homeownership, pregnancy, and more.

An insurance agent will be one of your biggest advocates when it comes to protecting your assets. In addition to fitting a policy to your needs, an effective agent will be ready to assist you when you need to utilize your policy. Brokers should be able to help you file insurance claims or file them on your behalf so that you can get the highest return for your claim. They will guarantee that, during times when you need to utilize your insurance policy, you get the most out of the plan you are paying for.

How Much Do Insurance Agents Cost?

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Although agents do need to get paid, they are not a major expense on your end. Rather than getting paid directly, insurance agents get paid a portion of your premium (typically 1-5%) from the insurance company that they sign you onto a policy for.  Collecting a solid repertoire of clients and negotiating insurance policies for them is how agents make a living. This is why it’s so crucial to find an agent that is focused on your needs rather than their commission, as they do not get paid for providing you service until you sign onto a policy. Once you do, a portion of your monthly premium will be distributed to that agent as a commission.