November 21, 2010

Understanding How Auto Insurance Quotes Are Affected By Insurance Agents

The world of auto insurance is split into two realms - the new insurance market in which consumers seek out their own insurance policies online, and the old market in which brokers and insurance agents were contacted in order to find and price out auto insurance quotes for individuals and families. Both systems have their merits, with some customers preferring the hands-off approach of taking care of their insurance needs online, and some preferring the human touch of an agent. But regardless of which method is preferred, it is true that insurance agents do have an affect on the price of quotes, one that those who shop online often underestimate. While there are no absolute rules or figures for this, there are a number of reasons that an insurance agent will be able to offer policies at different prices - sometimes significantly different - than those same policies found online.

Simply put, an insurance agent is in the employ of an insurance company. It may be one or more than one, and insurance agents may be either "free" to do business with multiple companies or "captive" by one, but they do, in some fashion, work for a company. As a result, they will encourage customers to buy from the companies they work for, and while they will have access to other quotes online, they will only have the level of access that anyone at their own home computer would have. It is in their dealings with companies they work or contract for that their ability to influence quotes comes to light. Companies will offer agents special rates and deals on policies, not available online, that they can then pass on to clients as they see fit. This allows agents to offer the same kind of coverage that is available on the Internet, but often at a significantly reduced price.

An auto insurance agent is also able to speak directly with the company in order to tailor a plan to a client's needs. Online, it is difficult to find anything but a broad and basic plan, and getting through to a live representative of the company can be difficult. Agents are in a position to "deal" with the company in order to give the customer the best version of the deal they are looking for. Agents do require a fee for their services, but in many cases the fee is worth it when compared to the overall savings.

Although the auto insurance world is moving away from the use of in-person quotes and agents, there are still a number of ways in which agents can positively affect the price of insurance quotes for customer that hire them.