When your employer doesn’t provide you with health insurance or you are no longer employed by a company that offers it, you can still have health insurance. Should you be forced to get health insurance for yourself and/or other members of your family, the first step is to find the right insurance agent.
While selling Medicare supplement plans or private health insurance is a noble profession, you will occasionally encounter insurance agents that are only out to make a quick buck. Here’s a guide to help you look for a good insurance agent, one that will look out for your best interests.
1. Trusted People will Refer Them to You
The quickest way to find a good insurance agent is by asking recommendations from friends, co-workers, or relatives who already have a trusted insurance agent. Be sure to ask the important questions like how well the agent provided insurance services, what sets the agent apart, and why your friend or co-worker has retained the services of that agent.
2. Provides the Best Possible Deal
Nowadays, you aren’t limited to big insurance companies. Many independent insurance agents operate as small businesses, and they could represent several insurance providers. Unlike other companies, independent agents can mix and match different products from different carriers to give you a better deal.
Find out if the agent can offer you a selection of insurance products and see if they can recommend the insurance coverage that fits your needs and budget best. Steer clear of those who constantly suggest plans with high premiums and insist you can afford them—these are the ones out to make their commissions and won’t consider your needs.
3. Has a Good Work Ethic and a Good Online Presence
A great way to see if an insurance agent is any good is if they have a website and/or positive reviews online. Even Yelp can help you decide, as many clients can leave a review of the agent’s services.
Don’t hesitate to check the agent on social media either; this can be a good gauge of what their personality is like and will give you a better idea of their work ethic. An insurance agent that parties a lot and posts too much on Instagram may not be a good fit for you, compared to an agent that posts pictures of them attending charity events, or tweets about how they helped injured clients file their claims.
4. Accessible When Needed
Find out if the insurance agent has offices in town or is at least close enough for you to visit by car. The services of a good insurance agent may be rendered moot if their offices are in another state or inaccessible for you. You may consider signing up with an insurance agent in a faraway location if they can convince you they’re easily reached via email, text, or phone. But if you feel you need to have your insurance agent available for claims, or when you have burning questions, find one that’s closer to you.
5. Has the Right Credentials
An agent equipped with the right experience and knowledge can give you the right advice on which coverage you need to protect both you and your family. Look for independent agents that have professional designations after their names, like CIC, which stands for Certified Insurance Counselor or ARM, which denotes an Associate in Risk Management. Note that to keep these credentials, independent insurance agents must continually take classes on these areas of expertise.
6. Willing to Earn Your Trust
An insurance agent must be willing to invest their time and should earn your trust by being transparent, which means giving you all the available coverage options even if these result in a smaller commission. Make sure to ask a lot of questions. See how well they explain the products to you and if they take your needs into account, as well as how they arrive at the best options. This can give you a clearer picture of how they conduct their business with you and if they are worth taking on.
Your relationship with an independent insurance agent can become long term, so be sure to choose the right one. A good independent agent is one you can trust to provide you with the best coverage and limits at the most competitive rates from a range of insurance companies.