How does comparing insurance rates online usually end?
Looks awfully familiar, right?
Don't worry, it is perfectly normal. Insurance is tricky and everybody gets to this stage sooner or later. Especially after shopping around for auto, home and health insurance at once.
Eventually you have to make a decision: go directly to the Insurance Company or work with the Broker.
Contacting Insurance Company directly:
At first sight purchasing insurance directly from the carrier might seem like a good idea. But is it?
Sometimes, comparing rates from different providers, you fill out numerous questionnaires just to get to the quoted premiums. And when you finally make a choice - you have to provide more details in order to purchase that policy. And this happens - the price changes! Maybe the system checked your loss history, missed a potential discount or added an optional coverage you don't need. Maybe you will never find out what caused the change. Would you go through the quoting process again? Most of us would agree to the new price just to get over with the whole process.
When the policy term is over, you receive a renewal offer from your insurance company. When you realize that you don't like the price very much (if you don't miss this reminder of course) - usually you would just lower the coverage limits to make the plan more affordable, and keep on paying.
Working with Insurance Broker:
The main advantage that an Independent Insurance Agent or Broker has over the Carrier is the access to multiple providers and big brokers. The comparing process takes 5 minutes and nobody keeps asking you the same questions over and over again. The broker will choose 3-4 top results and run these quotes individually. In order to apply all discounts you are eligible for, the agent will take into account your particular situation and create a custom plan that will cover you properly without being unbearably expensive.
And every time 3 to 4 weeks before the policy expiration your Agent will run quotes with other carriers to check if their options make more sense. If there is a hot offer on the market - your Broker will help you switch the companies painlessly.
We have approached the main question:
How to Find the Best Insurance Broker in Miami in 5 Steps?
Location and Tenure
Big Insurance Companies prefer dealing with their clients over the phone or online. That is why you won't run across their offices all over the city. For example, look at Progressive Service Centers - a little over 60 in the whole country!
But Insurance Brokers and Independent Agents are numerous - check Progressive Agent Lookup only for 33160!
It is very important have your Agent nearby, at least within your Zip Code. For personal insurance you will need to bring your car for inspection, come in to compare different plans in person or maybe to bring in a letter from the Insurance company that just doesn't make any sense!
For commercial lines it is perfectly fine to choose the Broker within your county and have an occasional drive for a productive meeting.
Another major factor to base your decision on is how long these guys have been in business for. Look for phrases like "since 2000" or "established in 1996" and subtract a couple of years for an accurate result.
Make sure to check what Companies are represented by the Agent and see what markets he has access to.
Keep in mind that companies like GEICO and State Farm are represented by Captive Agents who are highly knowledgeable about the product they offer but do not have access to other players in the insurance world.
Independent Agents in their turn learn to use various kinds of software and differentiate between all kinds of rules and regulations different insurance companies have. This allows them to maneuver freely while looking for the right quote for you.
Online Presence and Reviews
Always check the website of the Insurance Agency:
- Is it alive and updated regularly?
- Does it have a Blog? Who are writing the posts?
- Can you find photos of the team?
- Does it have F.A.Q. pages for different types of services provided?
- If you decide to submit contact information - is the connection secure ( it is if you can see https:// in the address bar)?
Apart from this, look for their Google reviews (you can only leave a review if you are logged in to your Google account); for Better Business Bureau accreditation; see if the Agents are on LinkedIn and check their profiles.
Services and Knowledge
If you only need Car Insurance it is OK to get it through this cool Auto Insurance guy your friend told you about. In and out, nice and simple. But what about your Health Insurance - it is so confusing at times! The laws keep changing, notices are lost in mail... Or let's say Home Insurance - all the inspections and regulations.
The best way to deal with Personal (and/or Commercial) Insurance is to have a trusted Broker who is always up to date with Various Lines of Insurance. It is even better when this specialist works with a group of colleagues to consult and share experience with.
Last but not the least! When choosing your future Insurance Agent take a closer look to his/her personality. You are about to entrust a lot to this person. It is certainly great if the Agent is polite and knows what pages you should place your signature on. But can he/she go out of their way to help you find the best solution? Will he/she check your file several times before submitting it? Will you receive a friendly reminder not to miss a payment even though the insurance company has sent you a missed notice a week ago?
Look for a compassionate, responsible and curious individual. The one you would choose to ride with in a "two-officer" police car!
It looks like you are all set to go and choose the Insurance Broker of your dreams! But remember: it is crucial to follow all five steps we described above.
To summarize - look for the right combination of Location; Partners; Reputation; Credibility and Character.
Thank you for reading!
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