Today, the fingertip convenience of purchasing both products and services is reaching an all-time high. Even those individuals not yet devotees of online purchasing have altered their life time habits to save time and to access a broader spectrum of products. However, in the world of insurance this practice is less than ideal.
Unlike purchasing a bag of groceries online or over the phone, insurance is extremely complicated. Coverage is in the details and those details are not easily explained on a website or in quick conversation with individuals not always seasoned themselves. Who is this person offering you a policy from a call center? Are they a licensed agent? Where are they located? Who underwrites the proposed policy and how long have they been in business? Is the proposed policy based on what you wish to spend or on your actual needs? In the years ahead will the person on the other end of the line still be there to discuss a claim or are you simply known to a variable hoard of operators by your ID number?
Local agents know your community, know the neighborhood in which you live or propose to purchase a home. They will know if the area is prone to flooding. They will know if the homes built there have experienced sewer line breaks with high rates of occurrence, or have been subject to massive storm damage when hurricanes blow through. A local agent will tailor your policy to account for any localized risks. Do you need flood insurance; do you understand what is covered by wind and hail losses? Since local agents are part of your community they live the same regional weather patterns as you. Those who pick up a phone in a call center or somewhere in the virtual world do not.
Right from the start a local agent will make themselves available to explain all the policy details and any confusing insurance jargon. They will also be around to provide updates on coverage changes due to new insurance regulations or new products being offered, some of which might even save you money. As the years pass you may acquire a motorcycle, a vintage car, a boat, or buy a vacation home. How easy to add coverage when you only need contact your agent. Finally, if and when you have to make a claim, the local agent is right here to advocate for you and walk you through the claim process.
Parents, friends, neighbors, chambers of commerce, and real estate agents can all recommend long standing local agents and agencies. When it comes to insurance, these agents are vested in you and compensated because of you. They have every reason to build a solid relationship as a professional partner always looking out for your welfare.
(Article By: Virginia (Gin) Kinneman, Agency Owner of Kinneman Insurance)