There are many benefits to having a local insurance agent. Perhaps you want to sign on with a person who lives in your town, a local agent with whom you can foster a working relationship.
How to find a reliable local insurance agency
Seek out a licensed car insurance company
If you go with an agency who works at a major company such as State Farm or Allstate, you can be certain the company is properly licensed. But if you want to give your business to a smaller mom-and-pop-style company, make sure they are licensed beforehand. You can check them out at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Know your state’s insurance requirements
The agent you hire should know this, but knowledge is power, right? Knowing your state’s requirements is important. This way, you can also make sure the local agent is providing you with the correct information. It’s easy to find this out here.
Do your research
There are several places where you can read ratings and reviews of companies. Some factors to consider for insurance companies are their ratings on coverage options, cost, claims processes, financial strength, and customer experience. For example, you can check customer reviews on Allstate, Liberty Mutual, and Esurance.
Review customer complaints
Read what real customers have to say about a company on Supermoney. You can also get information from your state Insurance Commission at the National Association of Insurance Commissions.
Benefits of a local agent
There are many pros to going local. Here are a few positives to consider if you decide to hire a local auto insurance agent.
They want your loyalty
Courtright says that, because most agents hope you’ll stick with them for your other insurance needs, “Local agents have more incentive to keep you as a client and will, therefore, be more inclined to advise you adequately.”
If you have a local insurance agent, you’re not going to have to call an 800 number and be put on hold for hours while you wait to ask them a question. Most likely, you’ll have a direct line right to their desk, and you can always pop in and say hello in person too.
This goes both ways. If you hire a local agent, you’re supporting the community and local businesses, which helps your town to thrive. The agent who lives in town will also have an interest in the community. They will understand any particular needs required by people in your town.
If you end up liking your local agent for car insurance, you might decide to have them to hook you up with all of your other insurance needs. And you’ll likely get a discount in the process since bundled services usually come with price savings.
Anytime you have to purchase a product or service online, there is a risk of a security breach. If you feel uncomfortable typing sensitive information into a form on the computer, then meeting with a local agent is a better fit for you.
Benefits of online shopping for insurance
Comparing rates and getting quotes online has never been simpler. Why not take advantage of modern technology and find your insurance while relaxing on your couch?
You can receive your insurance documents the same day you sign up online. You just need to print them out, and you’re ready to go.
No sales pressure
Whenever you’re being sold a product, even a necessary one like insurance, there’s always a chance that you’re being advised to buy more than you need. If you do your own research and decide what type of insurance coverage works for you, then you won’t have to worry about agents working hard to get a commission.
Can compare lots of agencies
Online search vehicles are created to make comparison shopping simple. Whenever you’re able to compare three or more options, you’re usually going to get a better deal.
Read company reviews
Online searches usually come complete with customer reviews. You can kill two birds with one stone: look at pricing and read what other people think about the company in one place.
You may decide that going local is best for you. Even if that is the case, consider doing some quick research on your own. The more you know, the better.
You can easily review and compare auto insurance rates here. By doing so, you can get the lay of the land and see what types of rates are available before you meet with an agent in person. It’s always best to be prepared.
Heather Skyler writes about business, finance, family life and more. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, Catapult, The Rumpus, BizFluent, Career Trend and more. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband, son, and daughter.