Independent Insurance

The value of an independent agent vs. online-only insurance

March 5, 2021

These days, you can find just about anything on the internet. You probably know by the dozens of online insurance ads you see every day how quick and easy it is to get your home, auto, and even life insurance online.

So why would you bother with a local insurance agent? The thought of picking up a phone and dialing a local agent's office might seem like an act of the past, but I'm here to tell you that it's actually the smartest thing you can do when you're shopping for insurance.  Here's why.

1. It's probably not actually more expensive

Online-only insurance may appear cheaper, but if you have to make a claim (and let's face it - that's what insurance is for), you'll end up paying for it later.

If you're shopping for an apples-to-apples quote, the quotes you receive from online-only insurance might initially appear cheaper than the local agent. But there's a catch. If you're looking at the big picture, you'll be spending more long-term. That's because you probably don't really understand what your online-only policy covers (and more importantly - what it doesn't!).

For example, your local agent will have a conversation with you to tailor a policy specifically for you. They aren't just picking a policy off the insurance tree and handing it to you.

You may end up with coverages you don't need if you just pick a standard policy online. For example, many of our clients end up with AAA, which at $99/year is quite expensive considering our Nationwide roadside assistance is $22/year. Even if the auto policy is the same price, we've just saved you $99 if you drop AAA. Additionally, agents are up to date with any new discounts or incentives you may qualify for, that you probably aren't even aware exist.

Another reason to choose a local agent - they're familiar with events that might be particular to your geographical location. For example, here in Central Virginia we recommend Earthquake Insurance as an add-on to homeowners policies. That's because we live near a fault line. If an earthquake were to level your home and you didn't have earthquake insurance, you'd be sitting with your head in your hands next to a pile of rubble and the insurance company wouldn't be liable for any damages. Talk about expensive!

2. We likely know more about insurance than you.

Ronnie has been selling insurance since 1989. Not to mention the collective years of the rest of our agents and employees (it's over 100 years). We know insurance.

When you purchase a policy online, you can easily misunderstand the quotes and policy details. It's a lot riskier than having those misunderstandings explained to you by an expert before you purchase the insurance policy.

Sure, you can get your own insurance online, but do you know the ins and outs of your coverage? Every individual, family, and business is different from one location to another, and so is the type of policy that is needed to cover those needs. An online quote and policy purchase is not necessarily able to create a custom policy around those needs of your family or business. This means you will most likely get a general policy that is good for the average person, but not necessarily what is best for you.

You might be paying for something in the policy that you don't actually need. Or you might not have coverage that you thought you had. Imagine getting into a car accident, calling the insurance company and then realizing you're not covered because there was some detail left unturned. Leave the details to the experts!

3. We might seem old school, but we're actually tech savvy.

There's no need to pick up a phone or drive to the office to maintain your policy or pay your bill. You can still do all of that and more online or on the app.

4. We truly care about you.

I'm not saying that online-only insurance companies don't care about you. They care to a degree, I'm sure, but are they your neighbors? Do their kids go to the same school as yours? Do they have a personal interest in your well-being? I'm guessing not.

Having one agent you can talk to for every potential claim you have to file is a big advantage that you may be missing out on when buying insurance online. This agent knows your entire history from purchase to claim, and will be able to fight for you better than someone who was randomly assigned to you for that one claim.  If you need to make a claim, it might already be a stressful situation. Think about who you'd rather talk to!

We're here for you. We expect that you'll have a lot of questions about your policies, and we are happy to answer them for you. There are no stupid questions! We can answer all of those "what if" questions so you're not left wondering. It's in our best interest that you're well taken care of.

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