Insurance Agents and Brokers
When using an insurance agent or broker to purchase insurance, don’t be rushed into making decisions and be sure the decisions you make will be right for you when you need the policy to pay.
Agent. An insurance agent is someone who works between you and the insurance company. Some agents will work for one company; others will work independently for several companies. When you work with an agent, you need to have an idea of what coverages you need.
Broker. An insurance broker is required to have a broker’s license and often will be more educated and experienced than an agent. A broker will analyze your needs and offer a range of different products from different companies.
Tips for Selecting an Agent or Broker
The right agent or broker could save you money and help you get the best coverage, so be careful who you choose to help you. Personal connections can help narrow the field. Ask family and friends if they have worked with a particular agent, broker or insurance company they would recommend.
When interviewing potential agents or brokers, ask:
- Which companies’ products can the agent or broker offer?
- How long has the broker or agent been in the insurance business?
- Can the agent or broker provide references from other clients?
- What discounts apply?
- How is the agent or broker paid? (This is important because you may be charged a fee.)
As with anyone you hire to help you, make sure the agent or broker is committed to your needs. Insurance policies are not one-size-fits-all. You want to work with someone who understands your goals and will not try to sell you something you don’t need.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners offers a map to help you locate state insurance departments for company and agent licensing information.