What is an Independent Insurance Agent? Everything You Need to Know
You need insurance. We all do. In some cases it’s required by law, in others it’s required by the unwritten code of being a responsible adult that owns things. So, what’s the best way to buy it?
Online or with an agent?
What kind of agent – independent or captive?
Oh, and what does this all mean?
We think life is complicated enough; your insurance doesn’t have to be.
What is an independent insurance agent?
An independent insurance agent is a trained and licensed professional that tailors programs to meet their customer’s specific needs. They can do this because they work with many insurance carriers, rather than just one. They are locally based and operate out of their own local insurance agency.
This may surprise some people, but an independent agent is a small-business owner. Agents are not an employee of the insurance companies whose products they offer. The insurance agency is often run by a few agents and administrative staff members. Oftentimes it’s family owned. Another misconception is that they sell their own insurance products. They do not. Instead, they work on behalf of their customers to obtain policies from insurance companies.
Now, it’s important to point out that every insurance agency you see is not an independent agency. There are also captive/exclusive agencies that operate differently.
What’s the difference between independent insurance agents and other insurance agents?
The main difference is that independent insurance agents offer more choices than captive/exclusive insurance agents. Captive/exclusive agents offer only one insurance company’s products. This means they can only place your policy with that one company. Independent agents, on the other hand, have options. They can place your policy with one of the several insurance companies they work with to make sure your unique needs are met.
Summary: Independent insurance agents help you find a policy with one of the several insurance companies they work with at their agency. Other, captive or exclusive, insurance agents can help you find a policy with the one insurance company they work with at their agency.
So, what’s the best way to buy insurance? If you ask us, an independent insurance agent!
What advantages? Glad you asked.