Finding the best insurance policy for you and your family may start with finding the best agent. There is a step by step process that insurance agents use to help families find the best insurance policies. These steps can be learned, but this takes a lot of time and most people are too busy to invest that time.
A good insurance agent can make this process of buying a policy easier for you. A bad agent can make it a costly experience.
A good place to start is finding an agent who is highly recommended. The problem with recommendations of doctors and insurance agents and certain other professionals is that their mistakes are often not found right away. People often judge by the professional’s bedside manner when sometimes the more obnoxious professional gives the best advice and the one with the "sweetest" personality is incompetent or a con artist.
Referrals are a great place to start, but give more weight to a referral from someone who has worked with the agent for several years when compared with a referral from someone who has only had one encounter with a particular agent.
A great source of insurance agent referrals is other insurance agents! A lot of insurance agents specialize. If you are looking for health insurance and you are happy with the broker who sold you your car insurance, ask him or her to refer you to someone. Good insurance agents know how to spot other good agents. Good insurance agents also know that their reputation is on the line when they refer someone.
An agent with more experience is more likely to do a better job for you than a new agent. There is a big difference between a new agent and one who has been in business for three to five years. However there is much less of a difference between an agent with ten years of experience and one with five years. Ask how long the agent has been in the business. You may be able to look up this information on your state’s insurance department’s website.
An agent who is involved in ongoing education is more likely to do a good job for you than one who isn’t. Many states have mandatory continuing education requirements now so this is less of a factor today than it was ten or fifteen years ago. However, when you find an agent who is doing more in the way of education than other agents, you may have found one who will give you good advice.
Check with your state’s insurance department to see if there are any complaints against any agent you are thinking about working with. Agents who have been suspended are not necessarily bad agents. A perfectly scrupulous agent can forget to pay his license renewal on time or take the wrong continuing education course. However, if there has been disciplinary action taken against an agent you want to work with, find out reason for the action or select another agent.
Captive Agent vs. Independent Broker
A captive agent is an agent who can only sell the products of one company. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work with a captive agent. For example, when we searched for auto insurance, our best quotes came from an Allstate agent. If you want an Allstate policy you have to buy from an Allstate agent so we bought from a captive agent and have been happy with him.
However often captive agents will try to sell you on their company’s products when many of their competitors could offer you a better deal. An independent agent can often offer you a better deal, but not always.
I certainly hope that you will allow me or my son help you if you are looking for health insurance in Connecticut. However, if you are looking for another type if insurance, I hope that the ideas I shared above are helpful to you.