HOW TO CHOOSE

THE RIGHT AUTO INSURANCE BROKER

Contents

When people decide to buy a new car, they typically spend a lot of time choosing the right one for them. They think about their needs:

Is reliability important?

Is gas mileage a factor?

Do they have a family and require lots of seats or lots of trunk space?

Do they transport clients in their car?

What car brands do they know and trust?

Do they have a preference in color?

How much are they willing to pay for the car?

As they evaluate these and many other questions, they research, study, evaluate, compare, and shop, so that they can find the perfect car for them and their family.

Typically though not much thought or research is put into the insurance protecting them and their car. Obviously because we are in the insurance business this is important to us, but we also believe that it should be important to you too.

In fact, choosing your auto insurance broker can be one of most important aspects of owning a car.

Auto Insurance

Now, notice that I said “choosing your auto insurance broker” not just getting an “auto insurance policy.” This is an important distinction.

As important as the policy protecting you and your investment is, having the right broker is what makes the biggest difference in making sure you have the right coverage at an affordable price.

You want to know that your auto insurance broker is in your corner and will work to protect you and your family in the very best way possible. I like thinking of it like having a personal body guard in a way—keeping you safe from financial setbacks and threats.

For example, recently one of my clients received a notice out of the blue that her auto insurance carrier was no longer offering insurance in Arizona. Because she has a relationship with me as her broker and not the insurance company, she simply called me up and told me about the letter.

In the meantime, I had already received notice from the insurance company about the change in their coverage and had already prepared other options for her and her family. She didn’t have to do anything. As her broker, I did all the legwork comparing different quotes from other carriers and provided them for her to compare.

I offered my advice on each company’s reliability and customer service and claims record, and she made a decision.

Within a day, a new policy had been issued with no stress or work on her part.

This particular client also had an auto policy in another state for her son who is away at college. A few weeks after we moved her policy, her son got a letter that his new policy had been cancelled, again completely out-of-the-blue.

Once again, she simply called me and asked me to resolve the situation.

I went to work with the insurance company and had to speak to several underwriters before I could figure out the error that had been made. I worked out the mistake with the carrier and had the policy reinstated that day.

Again, my client didn’t have to do anything. She didn’t have to spend hours on the phone and work her way up the chain of underwriting command. She didn’t have to arrange for documentation or clarification or do anything to get the policy reissued. I handled all of it.

This is the great thing about choosing the right insurance broker. They know their business. They know your family and your needs. They are your advocate with the insurance company and they clean up all the snags and problems to make sure you are protected without any headaches or hassle.

Auto Insurance Broker

This is why I think it is so important to choose the right auto insurance broker. It will save you time, aggravation, and money. It will keep you protected, covered, and free of stress.

In this article we will give you tips on choosing the right auto insurance broker, what to look for and what to avoid, and the characteristics that separate a good broker from a bad one, so that you can make the right decision for you.

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW TO
FIND THE RIGHT AUTO INSURANCE BROKER?

1Who Does the Broker Work With?

Choosing an Auto Insurance Broker

One of the most important considerations when choosing an auto insurance broker is to find out what carriers the broker represents.

In other words, what insurance companies does he or she have a relationship with? A good insurance broker will work with a number of various, reputable insurance companies.

You should understand the important difference between a captive agent and an independent broker. Remember, a captive agent works for one insurance company and is only able to sell that one insurance company’s products.

While they may work for a great company, they are still limited in the products they have to offer and the prices their policies are set at. Captive agents are also loyal to the results for their particular insurance company and not necessarily what might be better for you as a customer.

On the other hand, independent brokers can have relationships with many different insurance companies, allowing them access to dozens of different policies and coverage options at varying premiums. This always gives you an advantage as a customer, and allows the broker to be in your corner, putting your needs ahead of any insurance company.

Before I was an independent broker, I worked for a single insurance company. I was often frustrated that I couldn’t offer my clients better options that fit their needs and budgets. I was always constrained by the products my company had at the prices they set.

My hands felt tied and didn’t feel good about signing clients when I knew they could get better options somewhere else. That is exactly why I chose to become an independent broker and why I think it makes the most sense for you when you are choosing an auto insurance broker.

If you decide to choose an independent broker, keep in mind that only the most responsible and fiscally-sound brokers get contracts with the best carriers. The best insurance companies work with brokers they trust.

So take a look at the companies your broker works with and make sure that the broker you are considering works with A-rated carriers. You can investigate carriers and their financial stability ratings on credit rating websites like Standard and Poor’s and A.M. Best.

2 Check Out Your Broker’s Reputation

Because of social media and the internet, there is so much transparency for consumers to be able to learn about their broker before they hire them. Before you make a decision about hiring your broker, check out the feedback they have received from other customers.

Insurance Professional of Arizona

You should be able to easily access and research other people’s experiences with your potential agent or broker.

Go online and read reviews and testimonials. You can simply google the broker’s name and agency. Have they faced any lawsuits? Are there any news articles about them?

Most importantly, read their reviews. Any legitimate broker or agency will have lots of reviews from their customers.

Don’t get distracted by a few rogue reviews. In any business, there are always customers who are dissatisfied, but it’s just good to notice the overall rating of the broker and their agency.

What is the general consensus? Are the majority of the reviews positive? This person will be your partner in protecting you and your car and you want to choose someone that is trustworthy and responsive to their customers.

While you are online, look at their website. Is it professional? Read their blogs or watch any informational videos they provide. Do they provide helpful content for their clients? Do they include testimonials from others? You can also look at their social media pages (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Instagram) for more reviews and content.

3Make Sure Your Broker is Licensed Properly

Insurance Products License

Everyone who sells insurance products needs a license.

These requirements vary from state to state, but most states require that brokers not only have a license but also earn continuing education requirements in order to sell or service insurance.

Again, reputable insurance companies will not do business with unlicensed brokers. If you want the best protection with the best companies you will only want to work with licensed brokers. The whole point of having auto insurance is to mitigate your risks and protect you financially. Don’t put yourself at risk by working with someone who doesn’t have the proper licensing and credentialing.

Additionally, other good things to check on is their experience in the insurance industry and their education and training.

4 Ask for a Quote

One way to evaluate a broker is to ask them for a quote before you become their client. This will help you accurately understand what it would be like to work with them. You will be able to see firsthand the carriers they work with, how well they know their industry and understand your needs, and how thorough they are in giving you auto policy options.

This experience alone will speak volumes about how the broker works and what you can expect. In order to get a competitive quote, a broker has to gather relevant underwriting information, which will allow you to assess the following questions:

Is the broker quick, efficient, and responsive?

Do they understand your particular needs in regards to coverage and budget?

Can they get a variety of auto quotes at different rates?

Is the quoting process easy and professional?

Do they know the strengths and weaknesses of the different carriers they represent?

Do you enjoy working with the agent?

Does the broker inspire trust and confidence?

Does it feel like the agent has your best interest at heart?

Think about your experience with the broker to decide if you would enjoy a long-term relationship with them.

5 Consider the Broker’s Claims Experience

Brokers Claims Experience

Obviously, the most important part of having insurance comes when you have to use it to resolve a claim.

When it comes to choosing a good auto insurance broker, filing a claim is where the rubber meets the road. (Pun intended!)

As I said before, your agent is your advocate and will act as a liaison between you and your carrier. Simply put, the better the broker is at handling the claims process, the better experience you will have.

Find out the broker’s procedures for servicing any claims. For example, does the agency have dedicated people handling claims or will your broker be the one to help you through the process?

Additionally, a good broker will know about the responsiveness to claims for all the carriers they work with. They will understand which companies efficiently settle claims which carriers are harder to work with. Before you buy a policy, they can let you know what to expect from the carrier you have chosen.

Keep in mind that every insurance company has different requirements when it comes to filing a claim. In some cases, if you don’t meet these requirements or timelines, it will lead to delays or denials in claims.

You want to choose a broker that is an expert at the companies he or she represent. They need to be familiar with the various requirements of each carrier in order to help you successfully navigate the claims process.

This goes back to choosing a broker who truly understands the insurance industry and players in it. Again, this comes down to experience and training. Good brokers know the carriers and how to manage their claims processes.

6 Understand What Happens After You Hire Your Broker

Auto Insurance Policy

After you buy an auto insurance policy, it is not unusual for a broker to turn a client over to an account manager in their agency who will continue to service your insurance needs.

When you are choosing your auto insurance broker, make sure you know how their agency handles customers and make sure you are comfortable with their procedures.

Ask your broker about how they handle their accounts and make sure you are okay with them. Will you always work with the same agent? Who will you contact when you have a concern? Knowing this ahead of time will help you avoid surprises.

Over the course of your life your auto insurance coverage needs are likely to change from time to time. You will have changes in coverage needs and you need to know that your agency can meet these needs and requests and respond quickly and efficiently for you, much like the client I mentioned at the beginning of this article.

You want to choose a broker and an agent that has an organized process for handling client accounts so you know who to contact when you have a problem, a claim, or need to make a change in your policy.

WHEN SHOULD I CHANGE MY AUTO INSURANCE BROKER?

So far, we have talked about things to look for in an auto insurance broker.

But what are the signs that your current broker is not providing the kind of help and service you should expect? Here are some good indications that it is time to get a new auto insurance broker:

Auto Insurance Broker

1 Lack of options

Good brokers have access to dozens of different, reputable insurance companies. They should always have the ability to give you several quotes different premiums.

Additionally, a good broker will also be able to show you the differences between your options and the pros and cons of each carrier. If your broker can’t offer you a variety of options on limits, coverages, deductibles, and premiums, it is time to get a different broker.

2 Lack of expertise

The job of your broker is to know his industry. They should be able to answer your questions or solve your auto insurance problems, just as I did for my client. You shouldn’t have to do their job. Your broker should be an expert. Their knowledge and experience allows you to worry about other things, while they handle the insurance.

If having insurance feels like too much work, it’s definitely time to get a different broker.

3 Lack of response

If you have to constantly bug your broker in order to get help, it’s time to get a different broker. With one call or one email, you should be able to get the assistance you need. Responsiveness is one of the most important characteristics of a good broker. Your broker’s job is to make your life easier and alleviate all the work and stress in regards to your auto insurance

4 Lack of organization

Keeping your auto insurance policies renewed and up-to-date is just as important as getting the policy to begin with. If your broker is unaware of what is happening in regards to renewals, cancellations, or changes in policy, it’s time to get a new broker.

A good broker knows and cares about all the details and pays attention to any changes happening with your account.

WHO IS THE RIGHT AUTO INSURANCE BROKER FOR ME?

I may be biased, but I believe that you can find the right auto insurance broker at Insurance Professionals of Arizona. Our agency is made up of experienced, independent brokers that are experts in the auto insurance industry and truly care about their protecting their customers from financial risk.

At Insurance Professionals of Arizona, we have relationships with dozens of the best insurance companies which allows us to offer all the best options to our customers.

The needs and interests of our customers always come first and our primary concern is meeting your auto insurance needs, and not the needs of carriers.

We know that we have done our job if you never have to think about your auto insurance.

Independent Insurance Brokers

From getting a quote to selecting a policy to renew or changing policies to filing a claim, you shouldn’t have to worry or stress about any part of the process.

We are here to make your auto insurance easy, affordable, and effective at protecting you. That’s our job. And I think we do it better than anybody else in the business.

The best part of choosing the right auto insurance broker is that it makes all the other decisions and choices about your auto insurance easy. Choosing an IPA broker is the way to do just that.

The client that I talked about at the beginning of this article is just one of many, many clients that we help every day. We make getting and keeping the right auto insurance policy just as easy for each one of them.

Our goal is always to keep you, your family, and your cars protected without keeping you busy or bothered at any step in the process.

Contact us today and we can show you the difference the right auto insurance broker can make for you. Finding the right broker is easy; just call Insurance Professionals of Arizona. After that, everything else will take care of itself.

We’re here to help! Call us today.

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope Understanding How to Choose the Right Auto Insurance Broker.

And now I’d like to turn it over to you:
Did you learn something new from this
guide?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, leave a comment below right now.

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