While you might be tempted to reach out to large insurance companies like Geico and State Farm, there are many reasons why it is simply not in your best interest. These carriers spend millions and millions of dollars to grab your attention with their vast marketing efforts. Their only goal is for you to buy their policies. A local independent agency doesn't have the deep pockets to compete with these huge companies from a marketing standpoint, but they have several advantages. Let's dive into the various benefits of using an independent agency.
Quotes Various Companies (This Means Better Pricing!)
Let’s start with the label independent insurance agency. The fact that an agency is “independent” means that it isn't reliant upon a single company. State Farm agencies can only quote State Farm. Nationwide agencies can only quote Nationwide. But independent agencies work with dozens of various insurance carriers, so they can get a variety of different quotes to see which company offers the best rate. What does this mean for you as the customer? You’re typically going to get much better pricing (i.e. lower premiums!) on a policy. There's a reason why the big players spend so much money on marketing. They need to get your attention before you find a local, independent agency that can beat their rates.
Puts the Customer First
Since the agency is independent of the insurance companies, they can truly put the customer first. It can be really difficult for non-independent agencies like State Farm to do this. A State Farm agency works for State Farm and is paid by State Farm. At the end of the day, State Farm will come first. If there's a claim, they won't be pushing State Farm to increase the amount owed. An independent agency on the other hand, will work for you. They’re able to put more pressure on the insurance companies to pay you a fair amount.
Independent agencies will be happy to share their experience and their client's experience with the various insurance companies they work with. They have no obligation or incentive to hold back information. Often, you will see an independent agency say something like, "This company is offering rates $20 cheaper per year, but they tend to be pretty bad with giving accurate claim estimates. This other company is a little more expensive, but will be better giving you what you deserve in the event of a claim. You can decide which matters more to you."
A captive agency with someone like State Farm won't offer this perspective. For starters, they can't, because they only quote one company. Why would they mention something that will damage the only option they can offer? In this respect, it's much easier to trust an independent agency who has less to lose divulging information.
Builds A Relationship with Clients
The benefit of local, independent agencies is just that--they are local! You can actually meet with your agent, drive past their office on your way to work, and possibly see them at the grocery store. That’s a far fetch from calling an 800 number and speaking to a different person every time. The independent agent can get to know you as a person.
In addition to the personal aspect, the agency knows the risk of your local area. They can let you know what to look for in a policy and share options best suited for where you live. This can be a huge help for ensuring you are properly protected.
Can Assist with All Your Insurance Needs
Since independent insurance agencies work with such a variety of carriers, they can provide a wider set of insurance options. They are truly a one-stop shop for insurance. If you need a policy for your home, car, boat, ATV, vintage car, jewelry, or anything else, they can help. For protecting your business, they can offer commercial auto, workers' compensation, cyber insurance, and any other type of coverage you can imagine. With an independent agency, you won't need to work with multiple agencies / companies. You will have all you need in one place!
Unparalleled Customer Service
One of the hallmarks of an independent agency is their level of customer service. Instead of calling a 800 number, you are able to speak to the agency using a direct, local number. What could take several minutes to get a hold of a human is replaced with the personal touch of an independent agent. The agency is vested in you specifically and provides tremendous support for any needs, whether you are filing a claim, updating policy details, or looking for a new quote. Agencies will often go the extra mile to support their clients.
For one, they can do annual reviews (some will even proactively reach out to schedule one!) whereby they check all their carriers to see if you can get a better price. Independent agencies also keep a close watch on which carriers are dropping rates. If they see an insurance company is lowering rates for others in your local community, the agency will normally send a notification to everyone to ask if you want a quote.
Finally, an independent agency is your best help during a claim. They represent you, unlike a captive agency like State Farm that represents "you" and State Farm. An independent agency will work towards getting your claim processed faster and ensuring you are awarded a fair amount. A State Farm agency, who serves the company that pays their salary, doesn't have nearly as much incentive to get your claim completed immediately, nor badger them for a higher settlement. When it matters most, an independent insurance agency provides the most value to you.
Contact Us Today!
At Baldwin Insurance Agency, we are proud to be an independent agency that puts our clients first. We love serving our local community in Kearney, MO and the nearby areas. If you are looking for an independent agency to support your insurance needs, please give us a call today!