Using a Local Insurance Agent vs a “Big-Box” National Carrier

Some people wonder why they should use a local agent for insurance, rather than go online and sign up with one of the big-name carriers. In a tough economy like this, saving money is a key factor in shopping for just about anything. Insurance is no different. Based on their advertising, it seems the big-name insurance companies are the place to go to for the best price. But is price the only way to determine the value of something?

What is your time worth? Checking prices with even a few of the big companies will take a fair amount of effort, entering your personal information in each one, choosing from a variety of options. Your local agent can take your information and check with all the companies they have available to see which one is the best option for you. And chances are good the price could be right in line with the national companies.

How about the value of informed advice? On the national carriers' sites, you choose the options you want. But simply choosing the lowest limits may not give you the protection you really need. Your local agent can review your particular situation and advise you why the absolute minimum options might not be worth what you may save.

And what are trust and familiarity worth? When you have a question or need to make a policy change, there is a comfort in discussing your policy with someone who already knows all about your situation, even things that aren't necessarily part of your policy. You can't get that from whichever person is available on the switchboard at the big-name carrier.

Consider what you might be saving, or losing, by going with the big-box carriers rather than the insurance agency right up the street from your home.
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