Comparison: Independent Agent vs. Captive Agent
There are many ways to purchase an insurance policy these days, whether it be online, over the phone, or in person. Ultimately, you will obtain insurance directly from an insurance company or through a licensed insurance agent.
Let's look at the benefits of using an independent agent vs. a captive agent.
In this day and age, it's all about CHOICES and OPTIONS. This is where the value of an independent agent comes to light. Put simply, independent agents have the ability to offer more choices than a captive agent.
Independent agents represent dozens of insurance companies. This means they can look at your personal situation and shop your needs with multiple insurers to make the best recommendation for you.
In contrast, a captive agent by nature only sells insurance for a single (1) company. An example of a captive agent would be State Farm, Farmers, Allstate, etc. They only have one insurer/company to offer, so therefore they only have one quote to offer you as well.
If you are insured with a captive agent, you would be led to believe that your premium is the best rate available, because within their company - it is. They have no other options or choices for you. Now, I have seen a captive agent reduce coverage amounts as a means to lower the premium - making the client think that they had "shopped" their insurance. I am not saying this is a typical practice but just something to potentially be aware of. FYI... You should never reduce your insurance coverage solely as a means to lower your premium unless you are out of other options.
Independent agents also have a "leg up" on the renewal process as well. When a policy renews with an Independent agency, they have the ability to re-shop your rate with any of the insurers they represent and move your policy if necessary. An independent agent can ensure you're getting the best rates available year after year.
On another note, occasionally consumers can be unsure of going with an independent agent simply because they don't recognize some of the insurance companies that the agent represents. Don't let anyone convince you that if you don't go with one of the well-known "brands" of insurance that you're taking a risk... This is simply not true! Every insurer/company is governed by an associated State Department of Insurance to ensure their best business practice. Additionally, you can research the insurer's financial strength (rating) to gain more knowledge and understanding. A multi-million dollar national advertising campaign should not be a guide for your insurance decisions (after all, who do you think is paying for that advertisement... hmmm).
What are you waiting for... Get to know your local independent agent today!