If a thing can be purchased, you can probably do the transaction over the internet. So, if you can buy your insurance online and cut out the middleman (gulp, that’s me) then why should you bother talking to an agent? This question comes with at least three assumptions about agents and salespeople in general as well as some misconceptions about insurance and what an agent does.
The first assumption behind the question is that talking to an agent will increase your cost since he/she must be paid. The commission paid to agents does not increase your rate. Companies that don’t utilize agents have to pay for online portals, service persons and other infrastructure, which is a similar cost so, either way you purchase your insurance will have a comparable expense built into the policy. So, bypassing an agent does not save any money by itself and may actually cost more in the long run.
A second assumption here is that an agent is a salesperson and all salespeople will try to make you spend more in order to increase their commission. I can’t really defend against this since there are unscrupulous salespeople who will always try to take advantage in any industry. Insurance is no different in that regard. But the agents I know would rather make a long-term client by serving you well than have you shop your insurance again in 6 months and leave. It is expensive for me to gain a new client in terms of time and expense so I will generally bend over backward to keep a client. I would be shooting my own business in the foot if I consistently over sold people. My job is to educate you about what insurance is available, what it would do for you and why you might want one coverage but not need another. That way you can make an informed decision. This educational approach means that at Brukhouse we do not “sell” anyone insurance, rather we help our clients buy the insurance they need at the best rate we can find.
The last assumption I want to bring up is that talking to an agent will take more time and you just want to move on to your next task. If this is your line of thinking, then I highly recommend talking to an independent agent. Rather than entering your information onto a website or talking to 4-5 agents to get multiple quotes, an independent agent can save you time and money. You talk to one agent (your information is more secure and it takes less time) he/she brings you quotes from 4-5 companies (saves you time) he/she explains what each company has to offer (you can make an informed decision) and the agent is not trying to hard sell you into one company, you get to choose.
Finally, studies have shown that most people prefer to shop online but then buy from a person. So, my website is set up for both. You can shop by clicking the “Get a Quote” link and then call us so we can make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.
There are other benefits to having an agent work for you as well. As an Independent agency, our priority is to our clients first, then to the carriers. If you are familiar with real estate, this is similar to a buyer’s agent. We can answer questions about some lesser understood coverage options, and we can tell you our experience with claim frequency and cost to help you with your informed decision process.
So if it doesn’t cost more, if the agent’s motivation is truly to benefit you as a long term client and if it saves you time and money, then the real question isn’t whether you need an agent but rather, why wouldn’t you want an agent?