How to Find the Best Insurance Agents Near Me
Connecting with the right insurance agent
Learn the best way to find car insurance, home, life insurance, or other coverage that suits your needs and meets your budget.
In other words, how do you find the best insurance agents near me?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 386,000 insurance sales agents operated nationwide in 2017.
Independent Agents vs. Captive Agents
The latter, also known as a direct agent, only offers policies from a single insurance company.
Independent insurance agents, on the other hand, sell policies from many companies.
What to Look for in an Insurance Agent
- Honesty – The best auto insurance company agents, home insurance agents, and other insurance agents are open and transparent with their clients. You shouldn’t feel pressured at any point. If an agent is offering something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Options – Assuming that you select an independent agent, have a variety of options to explore. The ideal business insurance agent, life insurance agent, or other insurance professional will have relationships with many top carriers, and they will be well-versed regarding the types of policies offered by each.
- Accessibility and Answers – The right insurance agent will never leave you hanging. You should be able to count on them for prompt answers to your questions. Experienced home insurance agents and other insurance agents are vastly knowledgeable about their products, and you should feel confident about the accuracy of the information that they provide.
- Personalized Advice – Finally, the right agent will get to know you and your coverage needs, allowing them to provide personalized advice. They will understand your pain points and the issues that matter the most to you. With these insights, the ideal insurance agent can deliver an exceptional level of service – and you’ll rest easy in the knowledge that you’re being presented with options that best suit your unique needs.
Factors to Consider when Seeking Local Insurance Agents Near Me
- Licensing – The right agent will be licensed to operate in your state. One way to look into this is by contacting your local state insurance department. Alternatively, you can find state-specific information through the NAIC, or National Association of Insurance Commissioners, website, which also includes a convenient insurance agent directory.
- Credentials – When investigating an independent insurance agent, you’ll notice that many have letters listed after their names. These abbreviations represent designations that the agent has earned through industry associations and groups. Examples include Certified Insurance Counselor, or CIC; Associate in General Insurance, or AINS; and Certified Risk Manager, or CRM. Ask prospective agents what their designations stand for and what they had to do to obtain them for more clarity.
- Financial Strength – The best way to avoid fly-by-night insurance agencies is by checking a company’s financial strength. You can easily learn the financial rating of many insurance firms through organizations like A.M. Best, and it’s well worth it to take a look.
- Reputation – Whether you’re seeking home insurance, commercial insurance, life insurance, or other types of insurance, always check to see if any complaints have been filed against them in the past. The NAIC website has a Consumer Insurance Search tool, or CIS tool, that you can use to check for complaints against a particular agent. You can also try contacting your local state insurance department or the Better Business Bureau.
- Find an agent near by zip code and qualify them based your insurance needs. Some will will work more with auto or homes, others life insurance, and commercial insurance. They may work for a mutual company (which is owned by the customers) or public insurance company that is stock owned. Regardless searching for a local agent online by zip code included in the search helps narrow down the list.
How to Research Independent auto insurance agents near me
- Get Personal Recommendations – One of the best ways to find a reliable life insurance agent or other professional is by asking around. Relatives, friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances may be able to refer you to someone who is truly outstanding. They can also help you avoid potential issues.
- Check Online Reviews and Testimonials – See what others have to say about an insurance agent on the internet. Portals like Yelp, LinkedIn, and Facebook are all valuable sources of information. People also often leave reviews via Google, so try to check an agent’s Google listing too.
- Visit Your State Insurance Regulator’s Website – Another great way to vet a prospective auto insurance agent or other professional is by visiting the United Policyholder’s website. Visit the State by State Assistance section to learn how long the agent has been in business, check licensing status and see if any complaints have been filed.
- Check with the IIABA – The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America is an excellent source of information. Their online insurance agent directory makes it easy to vet agents on the state level, which is a convenient way to zero in on viable options in your area by zip code.
- Investigate Their Online Presence – Finally, get a feel for an agent’s professionalism by checking out their online presence. What kind of website do they have? Is it informative and useful? Is the agent active on social media? How do other people interact with the agent and their agency online? These points can clue you into how an agent manages their business and cares for their customers.
Questions to ask insurance agent
- How Long Have You Been in Business? – Sure, it’s nice to give the newbie a chance. If you have specialized insurance needs, in particular, you’ll want to stick with an agent who’s been around for a while.
- How Many Insurance Companies Do You Represent? – Unless you are dealing with a captive agent, ask them how many companies they represent and for information about each one. Explain your insurance needs to the agent, and ask about the types of policies they offer that might fill the bill.
- Does an Earned Minimum Premium Apply? – With many insurance policies, an earned minimum premium is applied if the policy is canceled mid-term, meaning that the agent keeps the first three months’ worth of premiums even if the policy is canceled just a few weeks in. A cancellation fee may also apply, and it helps to be aware of these things ahead of time.
- How Does the Agent Handle Claims? – Ask a prospective auto insurance agent or another agent about the process they follow when handling claims. Find out what you can expect in the event that you have to file one. The right agent will inspire confidence in you that they will manage everything from start to finish, making things as easy for you as possible.
- Can You Provide References? – Always ask for references. Ideally, these should be for existing clients or clients they’ve worked with recently. Better still, ask for references for clients with similar insurance needs as you. Contact each reference you are given and ask them for their candid opinion about the agent and their services.
- Are You Familiar with My Industry or insurance needs? – If you are looking for insurance coverage for your business, ask the agent if they are familiar with your industry. When seeking commercial insurance, it pays to select one that understands the unique needs of your industry and business. They can use this knowledge to recommend options that cater to your unique business needs.
- Can You Meet My Needs? – Explain your situation to prospective agents and ask if they think they can truly go to bat for you. For example, perhaps you have teen drivers on the horizon, or maybe you’re establishing a business and need in-depth commercial insurance services. Have the agent explain precisely what they will do to make life easier for you.