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How Do I Find a Reputable Car Insurance Agent?

How Do I Find a Reputable Car Insurance Agent - Garrett Insurance

For many people, getting car insurance is as simple as going to an insurer’s website, choosing one of its pre-selected plans, and paying for it. 

Getting insurance this way might be easy, but you often end up paying for coverage you don’t need. And if you aren’t looking closely at the fine print of the policy you pick, you also might miss out on some of the coverage you do need. 

A reputable car insurance agent can take the guesswork out of finding the right policy. Here’s how to find one.

Choose an Independent Insurance Agency

If you don’t have an insurance background, you may have already found that the world of insurance is more complicated than you’d thought. Broadly speaking, there are two main categories of agents: independent agents and captive agents.

A “captive agent” works for a particular insurer. This means that they can only recommend and sell you insurance products offered by their employer. Captive agents aren’t inherently untrustworthy, but their primary goal is to convince customers to purchase their company’s products. 

If another insurance company offers the same coverage for a better price, a captive insurance agent isn’t going to tell you that.

An independent agent works for an independent insurance agency. At an independent insurance agency, agents work with multiple insurance carriers. So if you need a car insurance policy, your agent will be able to get quotes from multiple insurers. 

Because independent agents don’t work for a particular insurance carrier, their primary focus is finding you a policy that fits your needs.

Check Out an Agent’s Qualifications

Doing your homework on a particular agent can help you determine whether they’re a good fit for you. Most agents will have some information on their background and qualifications on an independent insurance agency website, their LinkedIn account, or both. To get an idea of their expertise, you might want to look at the following:

  • Their educational background
  • Their experience in the industry
  • Their focus/area of expertise 
  • Their licenses and certifications

When you’re in the market for a particular kind of insurance (like car insurance), looking at an agent’s area of expertise is especially important. Someone who is a generalist might not have the same in-depth knowledge of car insurance that an agent with a special focus would.

If you’ve identified an insurance agent you’d like to work with, it doesn’t hurt to ask them for references. These are past (or current) clients who can give you an idea of what to expect.

Ask Questions Yourself

Making sure an insurance agent is qualified is one thing. However, much like an employer would interview a potential employee, you should also ask an insurance agent your own questions to make sure they’re a good fit for you. Here are some of the questions you may want to ask:

  • Do you get different commission rates for different kinds of policies?
  • How do you get paid?
  • How can you help me find what kind of car insurance I need?
  • If I need to file a claim, will you assist me?
  • Will my insurance premiums go up over time?
  • After I purchase a policy, will you periodically check in to make sure it’s still the right policy for me?
  • Do I qualify for any kind of insurance discount?

Once you find a reliable independent insurance agency, don’t be afraid to ask the agents questions like these! Trustworthy agents will welcome questions.

Take Recommendations and Reviews Into Account

Most people have car insurance policies, so it’s worth talking to friends and family members about their insurance agents. See if they’d recommend their current agent. If so, why? If not, why not?

If you want to cast the net a little wider, reviews can be informative, too. If there’s a particular independent insurance agency (or individual agent) you’re considering, check out online reviews on a few different platforms. 

You probably don’t want to base your decision on a single review by a stranger, so look for trends — if many reviewers mention a particular advantage (or disadvantage) of a particular agent, there’s likely some truth to it.

Pay Attention to Your Gut Feelings

Having the right qualifications is an important part of being an insurance agent. However, choosing an insurance agent isn’t like buying a car — you’re selecting someone to enter into a working relationship with. Ideally, you should choose someone you feel comfortable around.

One of the best ways to see whether you’re compatible with an insurance agent is to make an appointment to see them in person. An independent insurance agency will usually encourage you to come into a local office and meet face-to-face with an agent. You can get to know your potential new insurance agent, ask questions, and decide whether they’re a good fit.

Need a Great Car Insurance Agent? We Can Help

The right car insurance policy safeguards your health, your vehicle, and your financial security. At Garrett Insurance, our agents are ready to help you find a policy that delivers all the coverage you need — and none of the coverage you don’t.We’re an independent insurance agency that has been serving individuals and businesses for over 100 years. We have locations in both Texas and Kansas, and we’re proud to be able to serve our local community. Contact us for a quote today!

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