Deciding on an insurance company can be challenging.
In a matter of minutes, you can find a dozen insurance companies claiming to have the best coverage and rates.
But before buying an insurance policy, you should do your research.
To choose the best insurer for your unique needs, read reviews and ratings on multiple companies, learn about what types of coverage they offer, and how much it will cost you.
You will find there are many options out there and that you will also need to decide between a local insurance agency versus a national one. Knowing your budget, what you need covered, and your expectations will help you when choosing.
Both options have advantages and disadvantages, meaning you will need to consider what you want most out of your insurance agent and policy.
Benefits of a local insurance agency
There are many advantages to purchasing insurance with a local agency.
It is often easier to establish a relationship and build trust with an agent that you can call directly, visit when needed, and speak with on a more personal level.
A local agent will be familiar with the area you live in and know the risks in that particular location. For instance, those in Michigan may live in a flood zone, meaning it would be wise to add on flood insurance. A national agent may not know this or mention it.
Investing in local business
When you invest in a local business, you also invest in your community. Many local agents donate their time and resources to bettering their communities, as well as helping out their customers. Rather than being an account number, you become more like a friend.
References are easy to find
It is relatively easy to find references and ratings for local agents. You will likely have neighbors, friends, or family members familiar with local companies and have purchased a policy with them before. Their experiences can give you an idea of what to expect.
A more personal experience
If you want a personal experience, a local insurer is the way to go. Since you will typically speak with the same agent, they will remember your name, needs, and preferences. It can be easier to change your plan or add additional coverage when an agent is familiar with your lifestyle and family.
When you look at a local insurance agency versus national, you will be given competitive rates. Your agent will want to offer you bundles and discounts for choosing their company. Local agents are also better at customizing policies.
Differences between local and national agencies
Now that we’ve covered some advantages of local agencies, what are some other important differences between local and national?
National agencies are larger and have more locations, while local agencies are smaller and often only have one office.
Due to their smaller size, local agencies will typically look for cost-effective ways to meet their customer’s needs.
Local agencies are better at knowing specific risks for their location and what type of coverage is most beneficial. National agencies tend to use more of a one-size-fits-all approach, meaning you may miss out on essential coverage or pay for coverage you don’t need.
Communicating with your local insurance agent can be a more comfortable experience. You usually speak with the same agent who is familiar with your needs and policy. With a national agency, you get a different agent each time you call in, making your experience less personal.
Filing a claim with a national agency will be quicker, as they have likely handled more claims in the past and have more resources to speed up the process. A local agent may be slower, but they will also be more helpful and get you the same, if not better, results.
National agencies offer a broader range of coverage than what a local agency does. However, local agencies can customize and even change plans quickly, with no hassle. Meaning, you can still get the same amount of coverage if needed.
National insurance agencies provide their customers with toll-free numbers and are available 24/7. Local insurance agents are unable to do this and only operate during business hours. Though, some have emergency lines that you can call if you need to leave a message.
11 questions to ask your agent
Whether you choose a local or national agency to work with, you’ll want to make sure you understand everything you’re getting and what you’re paying for. Questions you can discuss include:
- What will my policy cover?
- Are there any gaps in my coverage?
- What is my deductible?
- What is my premium?
- Which add-ons may benefit me?
- When should I consider life insurance?
- When and how do I file a claim?
- Which services can be bundled?
- Am I eligible for discounts?
- Do I need an umbrella policy?
- What if I need more coverage in the future?
Choosing the right insurance agency
At Frost & Remer, we strive to understand and meet our client’s needs.
We know that protecting your property and assets is critical, which is why our goal is to help you determine the amount of coverage you need to feel safe.
Knowing that you and your family will be protected should help ease your mind and keep you worry-free.
If you would like to receive a free policy review and full risk assessment, schedule a virtual appointment with us at any time. During that meeting, we can discuss bundles, discounts, and specialized add-ons.
For immediate questions or concerns, you can contact us to speak with one of our reliable and professional insurance agents.