Are you looking around for new auto and home insurance? Rates to buy insurance are rising in Georgia and many people are exploring their options. You basically have three choices. I’ll try to give you the pros and cons of each option.
- Direct writer These companies sell directly to consumers without using local agents and try to get you to buy insurance from them. You can buy on-line or over the phone. Examples are Geico and USAA.
Pros: Direct writers can be a good option if you are insurance savvy or if your needs are fairly simple. Most offer expanded business hours. Good if your job won’t let you do business from 8-5.
Cons: No dedicated agent if you need advice or help with a claim. You’ll likely never talk to the same person twice. All service is on-line or by phone. No local offices generally. No matter how big they are you only have one company to choose from.
- Captive agent Like Direct Writers you’re buying from one insurance company but now you’re buying through a local agent. They usually have a local office in your town. The advantage of using a captive agent is you get local advice and the company generally is well-known. Examples are State Farm, Allstate and Farmers.
Pros: Local agent for advice. Usually well known brand due to large advertising budgets
Cons: Only one company. Broad underwriting guidelines can create rate problems for clients with “preferred” underwriting status.
- Independent agent Independent agents (sometimes known as Brokers) represent multiple insurance companies and can provide you with more than one quote. Independent agents use national and regional companies and usually give better pricing due to more available choices. HM Advisors is an example of an independent agency.
Pros: Local agents with better experience. Multiple company options.
Cons: Business hours are typically 8-5 except for claims.
Which is the best option for you? It really depends on which of the above factors you feel are most important. For younger tech-savvy customers who need to insure one car and need a renters policy, a direct writer might be perfect. But if you have multiple cars and drivers, own a home, and are confused by insurance policy language you would benefit from the quality advice and choices an independent agent can provide.
At HM Advisors we’re happy to discuss any of your insurance questions.