Here’s a quick guide to insurance carriers, explaining the differences and features of each.
It’s typical to have questions about insurance, especially for anyone not well-versed in the field. Knowing what type of insurance you need, for when and for whom, as well as needed coverage can be confusing, as there are a lot of options that all seem important and necessary. So when the advertising suggests that you can/should “Only Pay for What You Need”–is that really useful if you don’t know what you need?
Insurance companies, also known as insurance carriers, have different structures and use different types of sales agents. Understanding these differences can help you decide how to pursue your insurance.
With the help of The Cincinnati Insurance Companies, here is a breakdown of typical carriers and the features of each.
Direct writing companies are common, selling insurance directly to policyholders rather than working through agents. The primary benefit of working with a direct writer is you can get insurance quickly using a phone app or through a website online. Insurance may be less expensive because the direct writers do not incur the expense of maintaining agencies. However, guidance is limited so the buyer is responsible for determining adequate coverage limits and making sure there are no coverage gaps.
This might not be the best fit for people who don’t recognize insurance gaps or those with complicated insurance needs.
Companies that maintain an agency you can visit in person have their own “captive” agents. The agency primarily represents one insurance carrier. Agents are employees of that carrier. While they may be knowledgeable about their products, you may have to seek other agents for quotes to make sure you’re getting the best plan for you or if you have insurance needs that the carrier cannot cover.
Independent agents can help you answer all the insurance questions you have! They may have brick-and-mortar agencies or be 100% digital, but they represent multiple carriers and can offer a variety of coverage choices. They earn commissions from the companies they work with, employ their own staff, maintain their own businesses, and cover their own expenses – they are truly independent businesspeople. Their goal is to develop a relationship with you, get to know your personal insurance needs, and place you with the right carrier to cover all of your assets. At renewal, if your situation changes, they will have options to compare your coverage with other carriers and make sure you’re getting the best value.
One of the major benefits of an independent insurance agent is that they are highly trained professionals with local knowledge of the risks in their community. This makes them uniquely qualified to advise their customers on the proper insurance protection and to be on the scene in the event of a loss.
While there are multiple factors to consider when buying insurance, understanding the different insurance models can assist you in deciding which type might be best for you and your family. If you’re sold on the benefits of an independent insurance agent, reach out to The Feltner Group to get started today. We work for our clients, not the insurance companies, and we’re dedicated to getting you the coverage you need at the best possible rates.