Independent Insurance Agents
If you're trying to find an insurance agent that has the most flexibility in placing your coverage, then you will want to be looking for an independent agent.
You can often tell if an agent is independent by the logos on the front of their office. Many will have either the "Big I" independent agent logo or the Trusted Choice logo on the front of their office.
What can an Independent Agent do for You?
Independent insurance agents do not sell for just one company like State Farm or Allstate agents do. They have contracts with multiple companies, which allows them to quote and insure with many different companies.
Think of this analogy. You go into your local supermarket to buy some ketchup. If you were in a State Farm or Allstate supermarket, you would only find one brand of ketchup at one price. If you are in an independent agent supermarket, you will find many different brands at different prices. Independent agents basically give insurance buyers a choice.
State Farm and Allstate may offer different TYPES of products, such as Allstate's Value Plan for car insurance. But the coverages are not identical to the other policy types. So you can pay less, you just don't get as much coverage.
Now that's not to say that independent agents can guarantee you a lower price than other companies. But you can shop your coverages around between many companies with the same agent. And the agents will have a good "feel" for which companies will offer you the best rates just based on their experience with each company.
After a short time of doing insurance quotes for clients with any particular company, independent agents will discover which type of customer each company prefers to insure. This saves the agent time when quoting and saves the client time when shopping for lower rates.
To get the best rates, you may end up with coverages from different companies. Your homeowner's insurance may be with one company, which the best rates for your cars are with another. And yet a third company may have the best motorcycle rates.
So if you don't have a problem paying multiple bills from different providers, that is generally the best way to save on insurance. But if you prefer to only have one bill and package your insurance with the same company, that can also be done through an independent agent.
Independent agents generally belong to a state organization, which provides industry training sessions and keeps them abreast of changes in coverages and state and federal laws regarding insurance coverage. They are required to renew their licenses every couple of years, and one of the requirements is to complete a specified number of education hours.
To find an agent in your area, simply enter your zip code in the box at the top of this page and choose the type of insurance you're looking for.