The Importance of Quality Car Insurance
The magic of insurance has less to do with the Company you choose and with the service provided by your broker. As a broker, I provide access to multiple companies and year-over-year opportunities to better serve my clients. However, experience does lead me to lean towards certain companies and avoid others. When I see certain companies providing quality service for my clients, during claims and inquiries, I tend to prefer knowing my client is going to be treated fairly and ethically when they have to use their insurance. Trust is the basis of every healthy relationship, and it’s important you trust your insurance broker to place you with a company that has your best interest in mind.
What to look for in an agent that works with you.
Is my agent captive or independent?
A captive agent only sells one company or possibly a few subsidiaries. This means if they save you money year one, that’s great! However, what happens year-over-year when they raise your rates, or you have an at-fault accident or your child gets their driver’s license, etc. and your rates skyrocket? That agent only has one offering. That means, if you’re not happy with that offer, it’s on you to go find an alternate option.
An independent agent offers access to multiple insurance companies. This means 3 things: 1) The Agent is working for you, not any one insurance company, 2) More opportunities to save, year-over-year, and 3) Typically higher coverages for lower costs.
A good agent proactively looks out for your insurance needs.
Insurance is a reactive industry. Meaning, client’s typically only reach out to their agent when there’s a need. This is good for quick policy changes, like adding or removing a car, address changes, car loan notice, etc. Your Agent and staff should be available for you for these items. Since life changes, insurance companies change and driving records change, you want an Agent who reaches out to you with alternate options, ways to save or better insurance coverage options without you having to ask.
Nearly every Agent will say they are shopping your insurance. An Agent who actually looks out for you is, unfortunately, is very rare. If you find one, never let them go! You won’t necessarily save every single year, but at least you’ll know a good agent is proactively looking out for you.
Your agent should have a high level of communication and service. That means your agent answers their phone and gets back to you in a timely manner, is courteous and available to help on your ideal form of communication (i.e. text, call, email, etc.), and will be consistently quick to solve problems.
Claims can be very confusing.
Who do I call? Where do I take my car to be fixed? What/who’s a claims adjuster & why aren’t they getting back with me? Is this covered? What’s going to happen to my insurance rates?
- Confusion during a claim is the reason negative online reviews exist.
- An Insurance adjuster is the representative assigned to handle your claim. This person can have 30+ cases going, each with 30 moving parts. Which means it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle.
- Your Agent should be available to aid with communication and help get my questions answered. You should feel like the agent is your advocate.
Renewals and Annual Reviews
Annual reviews are where an Agent earns your business year-after-year. This is where they are going to propose changes to your insurance company or coverage. Reviews typically take place around renewal time. A good agent will be in touch well before renewal to present changes so that a change is not a stressful event for you. Nearly any Agent can save you money year one but are they continuing to earn your loyalty? Always ask yourself this, as you need a trusted partner to move forward with your insurance.
How to determine the type of coverage you need.
Most people call their insurance company and say, “Give me the cheapest insurance you have,” and that is exactly what they get. Something cheap, a policy that is not valuable, and coverage that can leave you exposed to a lawsuit in the event of an at-fault auto accident. Many drivers don’t think beyond the vehicle itself when it comes to auto insurance. Did you know that if you’re at-fault in an auto accident and someone gets hurt, you could be responsible for the injured person’s lost wages, medical bills and potentially pain & suffering payments? If your insurance contract doesn’t have enough coverage, your personal assets could be at stake. Home equity lien, wage garnishment and liens against non-qualified accounts are not unheard of in California.
If you think you may not have the right coverage, talk to an insurance broker. Many times, they’ll have access to companies who will offer the high coverages for rates that are the same, or less, than you’re currently paying.
This article was written by Cord Williams of Steele Insurance Agency, INC. As a Home & Life insurance broker, he offers the ability to shop the markets for the best rate and coverage for each client, taking his clients and referrals through a financial review, educating them on how much is at risk when it comes to an accident. This is not a sponsored post and Cord Williams is not an agent of BMW of Escondido.