A few weeks ago we celebrated our independence. Here at Patriot Insurance, we believe that one can enjoy independence in a number of different ways. That is why this month, we want to take the time to spotlight the ways independent agents offer a superior insurance-buying experience. Continue reading to find out what makes independent agents stand out from other insurance providers and learn how working with one could benefit you for years to come.
Types of Car Insurance Agents
There are two types of car insurance agents in the Minneapolis Metro area – captive agents, such as State Farm and American Family, and independent agents, like us. Though each is licensed and regulated by the State of Minnesota, we work in very different ways to provide you with the local car insurance options you are searching for.
Captive agents are agents who work for one specific insurance company. Their job is to sell insurance products offered only by the company they represent, which severely limits consumer options. If you prefer one-stop-shopping, a captive agent may not be able to sell a specific type of coverage you need if the insurance company he or she works for does not offer it. In addition, captive agents are often unable to accommodate high-risk customers, and they may not be able to provide the most competitive rates.
Like captive agents, independent agents must be licensed and regulated at the state level to sell insurance in Minnesota. However, that is where the similarities end. Independent agents are not obligated to any one insurance company. Instead, they contract with multiple insurance companies at one time, allowing a greater selection of coverage, and options to choose from. If one company is not able to accommodate the needs of a particular customer, the independent agent can find another one that will. Likewise, a bigger insurance marketplace often means better coverage and a greater overall value than would be possible with a captive agent.
A third and lesser used option for purchasing car insurance is buying directly from an insurance company. This option is often used by do-it-yourselfers who think buying direct will save time and possibly money. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Getting a direct quote may take just a few minutes to do online or over the phone, but that is just for one insurer. When you consider having to repeat that process as you comparison shop insurers (shelling out highly sensitive private information each time), the process can actually take much longer than if you had comparison shopped with an independent agent instead.
In addition, it is difficult to personalize your policy options when you buy direct. Perhaps you want OEM parts protection for your luxury SUV, or you need to supplement your liability limits with an umbrella policy that increases your coverage, protecting your assets and future income from court judgments beyond your underlying limits.
When you start going above and beyond the inclusions of a standard-risk car insurance policy, it is easy to come up short. Not to mention that overlooking critical coverage types or underestimating your limits could lead to major financial consequences down the road.
If you live in the Blaine area and are in the market for car insurance, contact our office to find out how using an independent agent could improve your policy and coverage. We look forward to hearing from you soon.