What Is an Independent Insurance Agent?
Updated: Jan 17
Are you thinking of getting insurance coverage? Read on to find out why you are better off working with an independent insurance agency instead of looking for insurance on your own.
To most people, one of the challenges of getting insurance is dealing with agents. Once you show some interest, they can be overly aggressive when trying to get you to take a policy. However, they are not your only option.
Independent insurance agents are agents that issue insurance policies from different companies. Unlike captive agents, they are not employees of any specific company. As such, independent agents will help you get a policy that suits your needs.
Some of the qualities that distinguish independent agents from captive agents include:
They are keener to understand your insurance coverage needs.
They search for the insurance policy in the marketplace that best suits your needs.
Advice on each policy is objective and impartial.
They help you understand every detail in your policy, including exclusions, costs, and potential hidden fees.
An independent insurance broker is your advisor and negotiator.
Benefits of Working with an Independent Insurance Broker?
The purpose of getting insurance coverage is to protect yourself. However, it is not about just taking out a policy but getting one that suits your needs. Here is how an independent insurance broker will help you achieve this.
1. They Are Licensed Experts
When it comes to matters that involve health and long-term financial commitments, you should make sure that you get value for money. The best way to ensure this is by dealing with people with the requisite proficiency. Though independent insurance agents are not affiliated with any insurance company, they are just as qualified as captive agents.
Before one can practice as an independent agent, they must first be licensed. As such, you can be confident that your independent insurance agent is well-equipped to help you find a policy that is ideal for you.
2. More Options
With over 900 health insurance companies in the US, there are plenty of options to consider when taking out an insurance cover. However, this is not the case when dealing with captive agents. They are only interested in getting you to take the policy their company is offering.
Being able to choose from many different providers is good, but it can also be challenging. Working with an independent insurance agent allows you to capitalize on the benefits of having multiple providers while also eliminating the hassle. Ordinarily, independent agents sell policies from five to eight companies.
Regardless of your unique needs, this gives you enough options to get a policy that meets your needs.
3. Saves You Money
Undoubtedly, everyone would love to know that they can access treatment if necessary and be safe from the excessive costs. However, the cost of insurance is the major obstacle for most of the uninsured people. From a 2019 survey, 73.7% of uninsured adults stated that the cost of coverage was too high.
If cost is a key consideration for you, independent insurance brokers can help you get the best rates. Since they do not have any incentive to recommend a particular provider, they will shop around for the best policy for you with the best rates. Any savings you make on your premiums, however little, can have a massive impact eventually.
If you are insured but not covered, you do not need to take out a new policy that caters to everything. Your independent agent will help you purchase policies that complement each other. This will help you avoid unnecessary costs of an additional full cover.
4. They Serve as Your Personal Advisor
Finding the right health insurance coverage is much easier with an independent insurance broker. Other than giving you more options, they will also breakdown what each entail. Depending on your needs, they will advise you accordingly. This ensures that you get the best policy for you.
5. They Serve as Your Advocate
One of the key questions to ask yourself when pursuing insurance options is where the agent’s allegiance lies. Captive agents solely represent their company’s interests, and there are very many stringent requirements they should follow. These requirements guide how they should respond when you file claims.
On the other hand, independent insurance agents have no restrictive obligations to insurance providers. As such, they can serve as your advocate when it is time to file claims. With the lack of support from captive agents, the already complicated process of filing claims can become even more difficult. In such situations, the help of independent insurance agents is invaluable as they will help you get a fair settlement.
6. Better Perspective of the Industry
If both captive and independent insurance agents have your best interest at heart, you are still better off with the latter. Captive agents only deal with the policies provided by their company. As such, they have a narrow perspective of the industry. This means they may genuinely believe that their product is the best for you when there are more suitable options.
With an independent agent, you can be confident that the policy they recommend is the best for you. This is not only because they are not affiliated with a particular provider but also because they deal with several providers and have a better idea of market conditions.
7. Saves You Time
Though it is possible to shop for insurance policies on your own and get the best fit for you, it is challenging and time-consuming. The process involves visiting several insurance companies or downloading and filling online forms to know the policies they offer and prices. Once you have done that, you must go through every detail and deal with agents looking to land you as a client.
The process is long and can take you weeks or months to complete. Therefore, many people abandon the process midway. Rather than spend lots of time doing such research, why not work with an independent insurance agent? They serve as your one-stop-shop for insurance needs. There you will get information on multiple providers, reducing the research period, and eliminating the hassle of dealing with multiple agents.
8. Access Discounts
When shopping at retail stores such as Walmart and Target, consumers are always looking for discounts. The same cannot be said for insurance shopping. This is not to say that insurance providers do not give discounts. In fact, there are plenty of insurance discounts available, but providers do not always apply them automatically.
Since independent insurance agents want to get the best deal for you and they have a better understanding of your needs, they will be able to get you the best discounts available. Such discounts, along with the best rates, can lead to substantial savings down the road.
9. You Gain a Consultant for a Lifetime
One of the main benefits of working with independent insurance agents is that they often live and operate from your neighborhood. They understand the needs of the community and participate in local events. Additionally, you can form a long-term partnership with them as their interest is not just issuing you with a policy but helping you. As you will be able to count on them for genuine help with insurance in the future.
Do not Settle for Less
When it comes to health and insurance matters, you should always take the necessary steps to protect yourself and get the most value for your money. In this regard, your best bet is working with an independent insurance agent to get a policy that meets your needs.