insurance

Finding a good insurance agent

How to work with an insurance agency

You don't need an insurance agency to buy insurance. But if you're buying multiple policies and require help taking a strategic approach to your coverage needs, or even if you just need sound advice to separate the insurance must-haves from all the options out there, it's a good idea to work with a professional. Here's what you need to know.

Find an agent

It may sound daunting, but it isn't hard to find a professional. In fact, there are just a few easy steps to finding an insurance agent. Start by asking your peers for recommendations. The chances are that if an agent served your friend well, you'll likely have a similar experience. But remember to check with your state's insurance commission to make certain that the agent and the insurance agency are in good standing. Finally, make sure you arrange a consultation before you retain an agent because you'll want to gauge the agent's trustworthiness and work style -- two factors that are best assessed in person or over the phone.

Questions

Finding an agent isn't the end of the story. In fact, it's just the beginning. A good dialogue will help your agent determine what's right for you and make sure you don't miss any overlooked insurance policies that might leave you with a gap in your coverage. For example, if you operate a home business, you'll likely need an additional policy. But an agent can also help you determine if a policy covering identity theft is worth the money, or if the coverage provided under a general homeowner's policy (something many insurers are now offering for free) is enough to meet your needs.

Know the lingo

While an insurance agent can explain the myriad complex terms you'll encounter, you may also want to consult a glossary of general insurance terms for when little questions arise. Knowing the basics will help put your mind at ease, and will also help you make the most of the questions you put to your insurance agency.

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