There are seemingly endless ways today to achieve instant gratification with a few mouse clicks.
Shopping has become so streamlined that you hardly need to leave the house anymore. With so many e-commerce stores offering free shipping and next-day delivery, the shopping and buying process has become ridiculously easy.
How about insurance? Surely it’s a more complex process to buy an insurance policy, right? Not exactly. Services such as The Zebra and Lemonade have made it almost comically simple to obtain an insurance policy of any kind.
Getting a quote and purchasing insurance in the time it takes to order takeout is a level of convenience that many consumers seek these days. But is any time being spent trying to figure out what it all means? That’s where an independent insurance agent comes in. Having your own agent is especially beneficial during tough times—for instance, now, when the industry is embroiled in a "hard market." Let’s explore five major benefits of having your own agent from an organization like SELCO Insurance Services, as well as potential pitfalls of going a more convenient route of buying a policy online.
Your one-stop shop
Throughout our lives, we’ll be protected by a variety of insurance policies—health and dental, vehicle, homeowners, just to name a few. Rather than stressing about how to keep them all straight, wouldn’t it be nice to have all your insurance needs taken care of under one roof by an experienced SELCO agent? “What better place to obtain a policy than from the financial institution you know and trust?” said Eric Medrano, SELCO Insurance Specialist. And if you’re already a SELCO member, consolidating your insurance needs would be just another quick stop.
An agent well-versed in many types of insurance is a good one to have in your corner. The SELCO team, from Insurance Specialists to the service team, boasts nearly 200 years of cumulative experience. Whatever type of coverage you need—vehicle, health, homeowners … even farm & ranch insurance—a SELCO agent has you covered.
“Our experienced team offers personalized service, attention to detail, and the benefit of talking to and interacting with an actual human,” said Jenna Kipper, SELCO Insurance Specialist.
Many options to choose from
If you buy insurance straight from an insurance company (State Farm, Farmers, etc.), you’re not only assigned a direct agent—referred to in the industry as a “captive” agent—but you’ll only have access to that company’s products. On the other hand, an independent agent can find products from different insurance carriers—and bundle different types of coverage—that mesh with your price and coverage preferences. Think of it as a la carte insurance coverage.
Local, personalized service
Not only can an independent agent scour the marketplace for the best deals and coverage, at a place like SELCO Insurance Services you’ll also receive local, personalized service. In fact, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch with a SELCO agent by phone, email, or in person. “We are also your advocate—if you have billing or claims concerns, need to change your coverages, or have questions, we can work with the insurance company on your behalf.” You won’t find that at plug-and-play online services like The Zebra and Lemonade.
Leaving it to the professionals
Let’s face it, trying to understand the complexities of insurance can be confounding. Tucked into all your policies are confusing insurance terms, legal clauses, coverage limits, etc., that could make your head spin. Rather than repeatedly banging your head on the table, let an independent agent handle all the unsatisfying matters and offer insight whenever you need it.
Pitfalls of not having your own agent
Reinforcing the point about “leaving it to the professionals,” here are a few roadblocks you might encounter by going with an online insurer.
- Comparisons are time-consuming. Accurate comparisons of quotes and coverages take considerable time, research, and analysis. For example, differences in deductibles can significantly affect your quote. An agent can do all the comparing and contrasting for you.
- Potentially inaccurate quotes. An online insurance quote is generally an estimate and may be inaccurate if you don’t disclose all of your personal information. If an insurer asks for your car’s make, model, and year only—leaving out the VIN, which would reveal the vehicle’s full history—you may be deemed riskier than originally thought.
- Not suitable for all drivers (or vehicles). Some insurers don’t offer online quotes—or just flat-out reject you—based on unusual situations. You would likely need to go through an agent if you’re considered a high-risk driver or you’re wanting to insure a specialty car, motorcycle, or RV.
- Not all insurers operate online. Some insurers don’t offer online quotes at all, while others may ask you to start the process online then ask that you speak with an agent to complete the process.
- No specific agent to contact. Like having “your person” to contact when you have an insurance-related question? That might not be an option if you buy your insurance policies online.
- Not getting proper coverages or endorsements. Policy coverages differ among carriers, and endorsements often need to be added to fit your individual risks. That’s where an experienced agent comes in. By going with a fully online experience, you may miss some important details.
The convenience of online insurance engines as well as name recognition of major insurance companies can be a strong pull. But take a step back, think about everything you want out of your insurance, and you just may discover that an independent agent is exactly who you need.