Years ago, the only way to buy insurance was through a local insurance agent. Even small towns had multiple agencies that often competed directly across the street from each other. There was no internet, no online quotes and no way to contact many companies except through an agent.
Boy times have changed. Today you can not only get free online quotes from almost every insurance carrier, but you can usually call a toll-free number if you need to talk to a licensed representative. Are the days of the local insurance agent numbered?
We don’t think so. Sure, there are many avenues for buying insurance online and many people take advantage of how easy it is to compare rates online without leaving their home. But if you truly want custom-tailored coverage that protects your assets, the only place to turn is to your local agent.
Let’s say you own three cars, a home, a boat and have two teen drivers. You also have a company-provided truck and pull a fifth-wheel camper with it. You have significant assets that you worked hard to accumulate over the years, and the last thing you need is to get hit with a big liability claim and not have adequate coverage in place.
Are you properly covered pulling your camper or boat? Does coverage extend to your family if they drive your company vehicle? Even if you made a smart decision and have a personal umbrella policy, do you have coverage gaps from where your personal policy leaves off and your umbrella kicks in? How much coverage is “enough”? Are you covered when you go on vacation and rent a car?
These types of questions only scratch the surface of the issues that can arise as your personal situation gets more involved. That’s where your local insurance agent is your most valuable asset. They are trained to address coverage issues such as those posed earlier, and many take advanced courses such as CPCU or CIC training to help them spot deficiencies in your coverage.
It’s tempting to place your coverages with the cheapest carrier, but if you cars are insured with one company, your home with another, and your recreational vehicles with yet another, it’s very difficult to coordinate coverages so that all your bases are covered. Independent agents have the ability to place your coverages with multiple companies and still keep an eye on your total insurance protection. But if you have coverages with different agents, it can be difficult for them to know what other coverages you have or do not have.
If you are in a position where asset protection is your primary concern, it’s best to seek out a skilled agent and place all your coverages with them. It may cost you a little more than buying coverages from multiple companies, but a trained insurance agent is able to spot possible issues before they arise and address them with the proper coverages and endorsements.
Insurance agents may not get the respect they once did, but for those who need insurance done right, there is no substitute for a good insurance agent.