What’s the difference between dealing with a car insurance company directly or a local agent?

January 26, 2017 · Posted in FAQ 
car insurance
Jim D asked:

I was with the same insurance company for 10 years using the same local agent. My car insurance rates kept going up every time my policy was renewed. I decided to explore and see what better rates I could get with other car insurance companies. Friends and family gave me names of local agents from insurance companies they used. All the agents quoted me really high. Then, I called a major insurance company’s 800 number (not through an agent) and got the lowest quote. So, why do people use insurance agents? Is there a reason why it’s better to use an agent?

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6 Responses to “What’s the difference between dealing with a car insurance company directly or a local agent?”

  1. jose l on March 27th, 2009 5:19 pm

    when you fille a claim you’ll know why good agents help you with that and explain the prosses of claims its like why take your car to the mechanic if you can do it yourself cause they no the ins an outs knowledge man

  2. Apple on March 30th, 2009 4:08 pm

    The use of an agent, or getting insurance DIRECT (that word will come up a lot) from an agent really depends on your needs.

    If you are talking about basic insurance – you have an average house, with average items, etc; you may not need the assistance of an agent.

    Howver, insurance policies can be complex, and they have a number of exclusions that people may not be aware of. Theoretically, the agent will be better at identifying how these possible exclusions may affect you, and what you need to do to avoice any non-covered loss.

    Also, many agents do provide a higher level of service than a direct company. but, thsoe agents need to be paid – thus the reason a direct writed can offer lower rates.

  3. Mark P on March 31st, 2009 10:55 am

    Full disclosure I’m an executive with one of the top insurance companies in the country. We sell, as many insurance companies, both directly to the customer by the web or 800 number and through local agents. I’d offer that, for auto insurance, either works fine. Most people only talk to their insurance company agent by phone so talking to them is like talking to a call center. Not much difference at all. The advantage of an agent CAN be, if they are good agents, that they can be your advocate during a claim. If you are with a large and reputable company however most adjusters will take care of you just fine. Their job is not to deny claims but rather to quickly and fairly pay your claim. If you are not happy you can escalate your concerns to higher levels in the company yourself. If you have a local agent, and they are good, they will do that for you but, in th end, a local agent cannot get the company to pay any more on a claim than the claims department feels the claim is worth based on the contract, value of the claim etc.

  4. car253 on April 3rd, 2009 10:12 pm

    The difference is the amount of help you get with a claim and the amount of knowledge you get from a good agent.

    Both are invaluable when you need them. Sometimes you get what you pay for. And, sometimes it does not cost any more to have an agent than going with a direct company either.

    I think having an agent to be there is peace of mind that I have someone that I know to talk to if I need them whether it is asking a a question or getting advice or help in a claim. I would rather have a person that I know for help then calling someone who does not care about me in a call center.

  5. James S on April 6th, 2009 8:26 am

    Try using to compare car insurance rates for all the major providers in your area.

  6. Rich H on April 7th, 2009 9:02 am

    I like using an agent because if I have a question, I call the same person or I go to their office and sit across the desk from them. I don’t have to call India and then give up and research answers online and hope for the best. I don’t like the way big companies dismiss the need for customer service!

    I’ve found some helpful info here too:

    Have a nice day.

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