The answer is yes…but you have to ask the right questions. Questions like “Do all companies offer the same or similar coverages?” The answer is no…but how do you know?
For example, let’s say your car is parked at work and a storm blankets your area and this single event damages both your car and your home. Does your company offer a deductible waiver option? With this option, if you have a covered loss involving both your auto and home, the company only applies the larger deductible (provided you have both policies insured with the company). So in this case, if your homeowner policy deductible is $1,000 and your auto policy “other than collision” deductible is $500, the company will apply a maximum $1,000 deductible for this single event, saving you the other $500 deductible!
Some companies do not offer this option, but, again, would you know to ask this type of coverage question? Probably not. Would your agent? Hopefully yes, but finding a qualified and knowledgeable independent insurance agent can be a daunting task. Just as when you look for a good doctor, attorney, or other professional, wouldn’t you do research on your insurance agent to find the professional who fits your needs?
Here are a few tips on what to look for in a good agent:
- How long have they been in business? What is their experience? If you were picking players for a sports team wouldn’t you want someone who knows the game?
- Do they know and contribute to your community?
- What are their professional relationships? Look for agencies that belong to industry associations such as the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (IIABA) or the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA). Also look for an agent that is designated as a Trusted Choice® agent. Trusted Choice® agents offer competitive pricing, a broad choice of products, and unparalleled advocacy.
- What do they do to continue their education on current trends and insurance regulations? Look for agents who have a Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation. There are a host of other highly qualified designations that an agent could have including Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) or Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).
I’m sure there are many other features of a good independent insurance agent to consider but asking these questions can give you the “right” start on your search for a qualified insurance professional to represent you. What do else do you look for in an insurance agent?