Why Should You Use an Independent Agent Over a Captive Agent to Buy Home Insurance

Why Should You Use an Independent Agent Over a Captive Agent to Buy Home Insurance – Agents who sell for only one company are captive agents. Companies like Nationwide and Farm Bureau Insurance have captive agents who only write for that company. They do not have access to insurance rates of any other companies, so do not do comparison shopping for your coverage.
Independent agents sell insurance for many insurance companies. They may have contracts with companies such as Travelers, Allstate and other smaller regional companies. Independent agents can quote your coverage with several companies and shop for the lowest rate.
Captive agents are trained by the insurance company to fully understand the product set they sell. As a result captive agent will be quite knowledgeable about all products, features and discounts. It is a struggle for independent agents dealing with a large number of companies to keep up with the product upgrades.
In theory it’s a good idea to get quotes from both captive and independent agents. But this puts the burden of comparing the quotes on you. Home insurance is quite complex and you should be very careful in comparing the quotes.
Another important aspect in shopping for insurance is whether the agent can provide you great service when your home is damaged. Captive agent is much more beholden to the company than an independent agent. Most of the captive agents are getting out of servicing altogether. Insurance companies want their agents to focus on selling and leave servicing to them. As this trend catches on, an independent agent looks like the best bet for homeowners.
For full disclosure, I am not agent or an employee of any insurance company.
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