Are you one of those auto insurance shoppers who sees all the advertising hype about how much this or that auto insurer can save the average car insurance shopper? In a world where they can save you as much as $300, $400, $500, and more do you ever wonder where these numbers come from? Ahh yes, let's talk for just a minute about some of the pros and cons of those Online Insurance Providers vs. your Local Independent Insurance Agent. Online providers have yet to out do local insurance agents so, if you're considering jumping to the online insurance land here's a few things you may want to consider.
Understanding car insurance and how it works is definitely a must when purchasing car insurance online. Do you understand what policies cover? How about things like claims deductibles, what's covered and of course how much liability insurance do you actually need? Are you looking to purchase enough liability to keep you from getting a citation for no insurance or, are you actually trying to provide enough insurance to cover your assets in the event of a loss? Also, what kind of coverage do you actually need for your vehicle? These are only a sampling of things you'll need to know if you go online just to try to find the cheapest car insurance. Another example that we've stumbled across lately is when these advertisements tell you on average how much money they'll save you, they don't actually mention that they may be comparing the exceptional coverage you have now to a stripped down policy version of what they're selling.
Knowing what insurance agents do should give you a better perspective on whether you really need an independent insurance agent or not. An agent's primary job is to sell insurance of course. This means finding a prospect's or current client's information and analyzing it to make an informed decision on what type of insurance coverages might be needed. Agents know about discounts available and are educated on what's acceptable between their carriers. For example, some insurance carriers require a vehicle titled to the named insured, while some do not. Some carriers will give discounts for having your auto and home (bundled policies) insured with them. Some carriers will offer insurance discounts for simply having the policies with the same agent and not the same carrier.
You should also remember that without a local agent you may have to research your insurance questions online. Most online insurance carriers will have an 800 number you can call to try and answer questions online but, you will not have an assigned agent and in all probability you'll speak to a different person each time you call and occasionally you may get differing answers to your questions. Dealing with an 800 number isn't neccessarily awful, but it is impersonal and sometimes annoying to get through an automated system.
Don't underestimate the importance of speaking with a live account person. Someone you've spoke to previously in an agency and who understands what is going on with your policy or account. Online websites can sometimes offer pop up answers, but websites have been known to malfunction.
Purchasing auto insurance online may be a good option for a few but it is definitely not for everyone. It takes quite a bit of knowledge and skill to fill out all the information online and some of the questions are sometimes misunderstood. If your not computer savvy or an expert on insurance coverages, then call or drop by an agent near you.
Finally, at claims time it is comforting to have the familiar voice of your agent tell you what you should do and what you can expect from a claims standpoint. With an online insurance company you will have to file your own claim. And while claims themselves are not necessarily stressful, it is nice to have a local agent work for you. So, take your time and be sure to weigh the pros and cons of buying onling versus an Independent Insurance Agent. Insurance can be serious and complicated, and it is important to know what you are purchasing.
At Beathard Insurance we hope that you'll give us the opportunity to assist you in your "cheaper car insurance" search.