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How to Decide Between Using an Insurance Agent or Going Straight to the Provider

By November 25, 2020No Comments
An insurance agent works with a young couple

You work hard for your assets, and you want to protect them. Unfortunately, insurance isn’t a simple “yes I have it” or “no I don’t have it” thing – in the real world, claims are denied (or partially denied) all the time. And, as frustrating and financially disastrous as that can be, much of whether or not something will be covered depends on how well you’ve done your homework on the front end. An insurance agent can be your key to getting it right.

5  Reasons Why You Should Choose an Insurance Agent

When deciding on the right insurance to get, you have two options. You can go straight to an insurance provider like Allstate or Geico, or you can talk to an insurance agency (like us). While there are pros and cons to each choice, there are certain things you can’t get when working directly with an insurance provider. 

1. Get a Translator to Insurance-Speak

Anyone who’s ever dealt with insurance knows it’s not always easy to figure out the ins and outs of various policies.  Sure, you can read each policy, but every contract comes with dozens of pages of pure legalese. It can make things even more complicated, especially if you’re not well-versed in insurance legalese.

The reality is that insurance isn’t actually designed to cover everything that could go wrong.  But it is designed.  You have a lot of choice.  A lot of options.  And there is a correlation between the likelihood that something will be covered to the amount of time you spend understanding and selecting coverage.

Working with an insurance agency simplifies the process. Agencies don’t provide insurance directly; they work for you. You can talk to your agent. Tell them what matters to you. If you care about comprehensive coverage more than just the cheapest price, they will help you make the choices that won’t leave you exposed after a devastating loss. 

That’s why agents still exist in 2020, despite how easy it is to talk directly to insurance providers.  Agents help you get what you really need and want from your insurance.

2. All Your Insurance Policies, One Phone Number

Nobody ever has only one type of insurance. You probably have separate policies for your house, car, life, boat, plane, helicopter, yacht, private island, etc. Yes, we joke, but every time you need to cover a new major item, you may need a different policy.

If you’re dedicated to getting the best coverage and prices, many of your policies might not be with the same provider. That means when something happens, you need to track down which provider and agent you’re working with for that specific item. 

When you work with an insurance agency, all your policies live under one roof. They’ll manage everything for you. If something happens to any of your assets, you have only one number you need to call. 

3. Ask Your Insurance Agent What Insurance Coverage You Really Need

The coverage you think you need isn’t always (or even often) the coverage you actually need. A good insurance agency will take the time to dig a little deeper into statistics and data to identify the threats for which you need coverage.

An insurance agency will have access to all the information you need to identify any risks you might encounter:

  • Fire
  • Floods
  • Weather
  • Mold
  • Crime
  • And much more

 

For example, Florida is prone to sinkholes, but they don’t pop up everywhere. Your agency will run a report for your address and, using past data, determine how likely it is for your house to fall into a sinkhole. If you’re low risk, save some money and don’t buy the coverage. If you’re high risk, you should absolutely add sinkhole coverage to your policy. 

4. Get an Insurance Expert on Your Side

Let’s use the sinkhole example again. Say you live in an area that’s prone to sinkholes. You should get full coverage, right? Of course, nothing in the insurance world is that simple. Different policies offer different coverage.

For instance, some policies cover only catastrophic ground cover collapse. That means four conditions have to be met in order for a claim to be payable – if a sinkhole occurs, damages your house but the house is not declared unlivable by a government agency, you may have to find another way to pay for those damages. Did you know that? Probably not, but your insurance agent did.

An insurance agency knows how coverage works and can help you find the right policy to suit your needs—regardless of provider. This means you can be confident that you have an advocate.

5. Insurance Claim Support

Insurance providers are in the business of covering damage, but getting your claim paid isn’t always as easy as just asking. When you need to submit a claim, sometimes it makes sense to have an expert in your corner.

While an insurance agency will never be able to promise coverage, they will be able to go to bat for you against the insurance company. And, since they have a comprehensive understanding of the insurance system, they’ll be better equipped to get you the money you deserve.

When Do You Not Need an Insurance Agent?

We’ll be honest: insurance agencies aren’t the best option for every scenario. We’re big enough to admit that.

If you’re just looking for quick, basic coverage, going directly to the insurance provider is the way to go. Similarly, if you’re more interested in the cheapest price than the best coverage, you should probably go directly to the provider. If you’re even an average Googler, you can probably find a better price somewhere online.

In general, insurance agencies are best suited for people and businesses who want to make sure they have comprehensive coverage, want to manage their risk intelligently, or have many different policies. But if you’re looking to just tick the “yes, I have insurance” box, an agency is overkill.

Erwin Insurance Agency® is an independent insurance agency offering a comprehensive suite of business and personal insurance solutions to cover the things that matter to you most. Serving Florida, New York, and beyond, with offices in Jacksonville, Fleming Island, and New York City, and licensed in 17 states.