Coming across an insurance advertisement is no strange thing these days. With TV ads, online ad placement, YouTube ads, and so much more, they’re everywhere; especially during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak
What you see on TV are tons of short colorful videos illustrating the advantages of getting an insurance plan. You hear it on radio channels. And if you happen to punch in the words “insurance” on google, the first thing you would most likely see is an ad telling you to purchase a policy at a cheap and affordable price by just going to a website and clicking on a link.
As attractive as that might seem though, purchasing an insurance plan is not a routine decision and should definitely not be treated as such. It’s certainly nothing like going to buy chocolates or bananas at the grocery store. Taking out an insurance policy is a decision that comes with considerable financial responsibilities, and hastily buying one online can be counterproductive to your goals and intentions.
Seeking the services of an insurance agency gives you the opportunity of close professional guidance right from the time you purchase. That professional advice can be the difference between signing up for a plan that meets your needs and is affordable in terms of the premiums you have to pay, or getting a policy that’s overly expensive and doesn’t address your unique situation.
So here are some of the reasons you should choose an insurance agency over a random insurance provider:
Expertise. Think about it. When you find yourself in serious financial distress and you’re thinking of filing for bankruptcy, your first port of call is your bankruptcy lawyer. You wouldn’t want to start the process right away without professional help for obvious reasons. For one, you probably do not know much about the process; documents you would need, or even if you should file for bankruptcy at all. Well it is the same thing with purchasing an insurance policy.
No doubt, you can learn a lot by doing some personal online research. Yet, there are some things you may not quite understand or grasp immediately, and which could have an immense impact on the sort of deal you get. Besides, there is a feeling of reassurance when you hear from a professional about a certain subject.
Working with a Licensed Professional. With Insurance Agencies, you will get one on one consultations with people who are both experienced and licensed to sell and market insurance policies to individuals. In many states, before anyone can act as an insurance agent, he or she must write and pass a licensing exam. This license is not a general one. It is tied to the type of insurance the agent would be selling. For example, an insurance agent who specializes in selling liability and property insurance would need a property or casualty license.
The same applies to all other categories of insurance. Generally, a license has a validity period of two years which means an insurance agent would always need to keep up to date with developing insurance practices in order to remain relevant. Also, to prevent the practice of unqualified persons acting as insurance agents, most states have a search feature on the website of their insurance department. Thus, a policyholder can easily check whether an insurance agent is licensed or not.
Another thing to recognize is that insurance agents are regulated by state laws, common law, and contract law. These places them on an obligation to act in good faith, exercise due diligence, and reasonable care in carrying out your instructions. Failure to do can so can render them liable in negligence.
Making the Best Possible Choice. A lot of factors directly affect the choice of insurance policies among people. There’s price, bundles, exclusions, coverage, and many more to take into account. For instance how do you know you’re selecting the right coverage or getting the best value for money? The choices you have could confuse and overwhelm you. Definitely, having someone who deals with insurance for a living will help relieve the stress involved in trying to select the best possible plan.
Getting Assistance with a Claim. Although insurance agents are not lawyers and cannot represent you, they provide a lot of assistance in this circumstance. Because they are the experts in their field, they are more familiar with the insurance claims processes of your insurance company, can explain what particularly your policy covers, and are in a good position to advise you on the steps you need to take.
A One-Stop-Shop. Insurance agents offer a variety of insurance policies which include home, flood, auto, business coverage, life, and health insurance, all at no extra cost. This means that every insurance cover you need can be provided by one agency. For instance, you could have purchased life or health insurance from an insurance agent 5 years ago. If you opened a business today, you need not go searching for another insurance agent or company for your business insurance as your insurance agent may have one ready at your request in a matter of minutes should they offer this type of insurance.
Continuous Consultation. The job of an insurance agent doesn’t stop when you purchase a claim. It goes on. Whether you need to get a new house, opening a new business, making structural changes to your home, or getting married, your insurance agent will be with you every step of the way.
Your insurance agency also helps your relationship with your insurance provider run smoothly. They would always notify you when your bills are due, and if there’s any other thing you forget to do, they will help cover for you.
Purchasing an insurance plan is not a decision that should be taken lightly. There are always lots of things to consider, some of which would not readily come to mind when you’re not an expert in the field.
Contrary to what adverts would have us believe, insurance policies are not exactly the same – in scope or substance. And hurriedly purchasing a policy online could turn out as an ill-informed decision as you might just miss out on getting the right plan that is the perfect fit for you.
But with an insurance agent, you get the chance to have a licensed professional act on your behalf. They would assess your objectives, comb through different insurance plans, and select what will serve you best.
Admittedly, this would surely come at an extra cost. Yet the benefits of having an insurance agent are far greater than the risks of not having one.