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Food for Thought – Buying Insurance From a Search Engine
Jun 29, 2015
By Christopher Mazza
Central Penn Insurance Agency
If you haven’t already heard, the most widely used search engine (it rhymes with frugal) will soon be introducing a tool for people to shop for auto insurance. Millions will likely take advantage of the service, and in my professional opinion, eventually regret it. Here’s why buying insurance online is one of the worst mistakes you will ever make:
1. Unless you are a trained and licensed agent, you have no business writing an auto insurance policy: Do you know what stacking is? Do you know what an SR-22 is? What if you need to package the auto with your home? Should you opt for a named-operator policy? Do you fully understand the different tort options? Are you aware the level of coverage you will need should you also want an umbrella?
2. Nothing Is Superior To a Local Agent’s Customer Service: Clients of my agency not only get a policy, they get my personal cell phone number with permission to call day or night. Customer service in the insurance industry is so important, I would recommend a competing local agency rather than buying insurance online. Put it this way, we all dread having to call the cable company. It’s usually at least a 30 minute ordeal (15 on hold). That’s exactly what your internet based auto insurance will be. You’ll get the main 800 number and after that you are on your own. Even if the local agent’s policy is $20 or $30 dollars more, you will never have to lift a finger when it comes to servicing the policy.
3. Experience is Critical: As a broker, I represent a good handful of insurance companies. I also know these companies very well. I know their likes and dislikes. I know which company will make an exception for a client if I pick up the phone and call my underwriter. I know which company favors good credit, which company doesn’t care about bad credit, and which company will take you even if you have prior claims. Matching individuals with the right insurance company for them takes experience, and simply picking the cheapest rate the search engine spits out could definitely spell disaster down the road.
So, please, think twice before you use a search engine to buy insurance. Local agents and brokers such as myself have a plethora of highly competitive products that, most importantly, come with a real person at no extra charge