When it comes to protecting your assets such as your car, insurance isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law. The state of Minnesota requires minimum coverage amounts, and if you are still making car payments, your bank or credit union will also require physical damage coverage. In similar fashion, if you own a home and still have a mortgage, your lender will require you to have homeowners’ insurance. Finally, the passage of the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to have health insurance. When you think about it, that’s a lot of insurance, and if you’re like most folks, you’re probably asking yourself: “What is the best way to buy the coverage I need, and get it at a fair price?” Here are your choices when shopping for insurance:
Buy Insurance Directly from an Insurance Company
When you buy insurance directly from an insurance company, such as with Geico, you don’t have an agent. Instead, it’s up to you to decide what policies you need and buy them directly from the insurance company. This is typically done either through the company’s website or over the phone.
While it not be apparent at first, there are a few drawback to buying insurance direct from a company. To begin with, you can only choose from the policies that are offered by that particular company. This severely limits your choices. Second, while you may talk to people when initially making your decisions, when it comes to managing policies and claims, you likely will never communicate with the same person again. Finally, the big drawback to purchasing insurance directly is that you make policy decisions on your own, without the guidance of a personal agent. This oftentimes leaves you not knowing whether you have the right coverage, or the right amount of coverage.
Buy Through a Captive Insurance Agent
A “captive” insurance agent represents a certain insurance company such as State Farm, or American Family. When you buy an insurance policy through a captive insurance agent, you do gain the benefit of having an agent help you figure out what you need and what you don’t need, with regards to coverage and limits. However, like in the case of buying direct, you are still limited to choose coverages and limits that are offered through that one particular company your agent represents. Another thing that one should be aware of is that a captive agent represents the interests of the company they represent, which may not align well to your interests. Probably the biggest inconvenience is that if the company can’t provide coverage due to a company underwriting rule, you will have to find a different agent to buy the coverage you actually need. Captive agents may be able to offer competitive prices from time-to-time, but that may not always be the case should your situation change, such as when you add a new driver to your policy, or have to file a claim.
Buy Insurance from Independent Agent
Similar to a captive insurance agent, independent insurance agents provide personalized service, but that is where the similarities end. Unlike a captive agent, an independent agent doesn’t just represent one company. Instead, he or she represents several insurance companies and acts a bit like a broker, providing a range of coverage options and prices. They can even offer multiple price quotes for each type of insurance you require, giving you the opportunity to find the best options for your budget.
Benefits of Buying Through an Independent Insurance Agent
Given the three options listed above, you could imagine that there are many benefits to working with an independent agent, compared to buying direct or through a captive agent. You’ll also be happy to know that there are Independent Insurance Agents throughout the United States, including Andreotti Insurance right here in Oakdale, Minnesota.
We can help you to discover potential liabilities, explain how to cover them, and recommend appropriate coverage limits. Because we work with a variety of insurance companies, we can review multiple policies to find one that fits your coverage needs and price points. This almost guarantees that you’ll save money compared to purchasing insurance from a captive agent or buying direct. Another thing that you’ll appreciate, is that because we’re an independent agency, we’re not bound to any insurance company – we work for you, and represent your interests.
Additionally, because we work with so many different insurance companies, we’re able to find the right coverage for all of your needs. Whether it be auto, home and life insurance for your personal needs, or commercial coverage, workers compensation and disability insurance for your business, we can take care of all of it for you. As your life changes, such as with a marriage, having a baby, buying a home, moving, or even getting a dog, we can update your policies to adjust for the additional coverage you’ll need (or cancel that which you will no longer need.) We’re basically the Swiss army knife of the insurance industry.
It should be clear by now that while there are multiple ways to purchase insurance, some ways are better than others. Instant online quotes are convenient, but they can’t match the personalized advice and service that you get from an independent insurance agent. When it comes to insurance, you should demand the coverage you need at a competitive price. That’s exactly what we’ll do when you work with a local independent insurance agency such as Andreotti Insurance.