June 24, 2011

How Agents And Auto Insurance Companies Can Work Together

Finding an affordable auto insurance quote is easier than ever before thanks to the Internet. A quick query to any search engine will net you hundreds of thousands of results, including many that will link you directly to the auto insurance companies where you can skip going through an agent at all, but is that really a good idea? The answer to that question lies in exactly what an insurance agent is and how agents and auto insurance companies work together.

Agents or producers do much more than simply sell you a policy; they also help you compare different plans from multiple auto insurance companies to get you the best quote, find you discounts such as safe driver and good student rewards, fill out the insurance company paperwork, accept your payments and assist you with any claims or problems that may arise. An auto insurance agent is your liaison to the auto insurance companies.

Did you know that it is illegal for auto insurance companies to offer you a lower-priced auto insurance quote than an agent can for the same policy from the same company? One reason that many people cite as why they chose to purchase their policy direct from the auto insurance companies is price. However, the truth is they could have gotten the exact same coverage from an agent for the exact same price. In fact, they likely would have gotten it cheaper due to discounts, so what exactly is an agent?

There are actually two different types of insurance agents, which are captive agents and independent agents. Understanding the difference between the two can give you a better picture of how they work with you and the auto insurance companies that they represent.

Captive agents are insurance producers that work directly for the auto insurance companies that they represent. When you go to a captive agent, then you will only get a auto insurance quote from a single carrier. Captive agents often have a greater understanding for their parent company and its policies, which can be a tremendous help if you have a problem or need the very latest in special discounts.

On the other hand, independent agents often work for numerous auto insurance companies. To the consumer this may mean a greater choice in finding an affordable auto insurance quote but a little less help if there is trouble later.

There are many benefits to working with an auto insurance agent when you are looking for more than just an affordable auto insurance quote. Agents work with you and the auto insurance companies to make sure that your relationship is a smooth and happy one.