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How To Find The Right Insurance Agent For You

Aug 17, 2007
Insurance 101 - Finding The Right Agent

The field of insurance is complicated and highly specialized. Few people know a lot about it, and most of us find it confusing, boring, or both. Insurance agents are often held in similar esteem to used car salesmen, and as a result, our insurance needs are often put on the backburner until it is too late.

Having the appropriate insurance coverage for your various needs is a crucial element of financial security, and thus it should not be overlooked. Finding the right insurance agent, with whom you can determine what types of coverage are right for you, makes navigating the complex world of insurance considerably less difficult.

Three Steps To Get Started

Shop around. Talk with at least five agents from at least three different companies or offices. Talk with them about your insurance needs and see what types of coverage they have in mind. Compare not only the premiums you will pay, but also the coverage being provided.

A good agent will explain things thoroughly, and it should be evident whether they are looking out for their own interests by trying to sell you the most insurance possible, or looking out for you by trying to find the types of insurance that best suit your needs. Visiting with at least four or five agents will make these distinctions clear.

Evaluate. Evaluate the different types of coverage proposed by each agent you meet. You should be able to eliminate at least two agents from consideration right away. Schedule follow-up meetings with the other agents to ask them any new questions you might have.

Also, call the Better Business Bureau to see if any of the agents you are considering have had any complaints against them. If so, what were the complaints? An agent with a bad record should definitely be avoided.

Meet each agent in person. If to this point you have only talked with your potential agents over the phone, insist that any follow-up meetings be face-to-face. Do the agents appear professional? Do their offices seem well-managed? If not, then these are factors to take into consideration.

Keep in mind that a good agent will ask you plenty of questions to find the right policies for you. The difference between a salesman and an insurance professional should be readily apparent.

Don't buy insurance from someone who tries to guilt you into purchasing more than you think you can afford, or intimidate you with what he or she considers their superior knowledge. In fact, learning as much as you can about the different types of insurance that you're in the market for can be your best defense against an agent who is more of a salesman than a true professional.

Making the Final Selection

Before signing the dotted line, it is important to do a little more homework. First, review the financial stability of the agent's company. If the company goes under, then all of the premiums you will have paid won't amount to anything.

There are several annual reports on the financial soundness of insurance firms, the most famous of which is Best's Insurance Reports.

Secondly, check your state's insurance department for claims and complaint information on your agent's company. Some companies develop a bad reputation for not paying on claims, and no matter how friendly your agent is, it is important to remember that insurance is a financial product, and you and your agent are ultimately involved in an impersonal, business transaction.

While it is important to have an agent with whom you can get along, at the end of the day, your insurance must be a useful element in your financial planning.
About the Author
William Smith the author provides additional financial information on many subjects as well as the secret to his success in the market along with 5 Free power stock picks emailed daily so grab your Free subscription on his website at Stock Picks (All is Free)
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