Local insurance agents are starting to go the way of travel agents did a few decades ago. There used to be a travel agent on every corner and they are making a comeback, but nothing like what they used to be. Insurance agents on the other hand are going the other way, as more and more people get their policies from a website or call companies directly.
As a former local agent this trend is really scary to me. There were times when I would literally save a family thousands of dollars, just because:
I knew them. I knew their financial situations an was able to match the best insurance products for them.
I also fought many claims that would have been otherwise denied and won.
I also found discounts that the insurance companies would take off.
I would do these things a lot of times without the customer ever knowing or even noticing. I’m not even sure in some cases the family ever would have noticed,they would have just continued to pay the bill as sent without question.
I am not sure if people realize that insurance agents by law have to be on the side of the client, so if an insurance agent goes against the best interest of his client that is against the law. Granted, they cannot legally lie or be deceptive, but they should be always considered what is best for you as an insured and lot looking out for their own best interest.
It is the underwriters that work on the side of the insurance companies to protect the insurance company interest. This is why a policy will be denied sometimes and cancellations will be issued even after everything was done right when a policy was issued. I’ve had policies cancelled because a property was too far from a fire department or because a teen that wasn’t disclosed to me lived in a house.
Knowing these two things, facts can maybe help you understand why your local agent is so important. When you buy a policy directly, you are not receiving this person that is by law looking out for your best interest. It is sort of like having someone looking over your shoulder help you out in the area of your insurances.
If you don’t have a local agent, consider getting quotes and getting to know an agent today. You may find the prices beat what you are paying the “direct” sales guys.