Independent Insurance Agent v. Insurance Company

What’s the Difference between an Independent Insurance Agent and a “Company” Insurance Agent?

The most significant difference is that an independent insurance agent sells insurance from many different insurance companies; provides advice about insurance coverage, companies and rates; and earns a commission.

You can also buy an insurance policy directly from an insurance company or a dedicated insurance agent representing only one insurance company.  Insurance agents working in offices or storefronts for one particular insurance company are also called “captive” insurance agents.

Captive insurance agents working in an outside office, such as Allstate and State Farm, and in-house insurance company sales representatives, such as at GEICO, only sell for the insurance company he or she works for and are paid a salary and sometimes an additional commission.

If the sign outside an insurance office has the name of an insurance company or if the phone is answered with the name of an insurance company, such as the Jane Adams State Farm Insurance Agency, it’s not an independent agency. If the name of the office is Jane Adams Insurance Agency, this should be an independent insurance agency.

An independent insurance agent is able to do business with several insurance companies which the independent agent represents. An independent agent can provide you an insurance policy with the company that has the best insurance product, at the best price, for your particular situation.

For instance, some car insurance companies prefer better drivers; some companies seek to be competitive with riskier drivers; and some even prefer to sell SR22 insurance to drivers with a DUI arrest.  If you have a custom motorcycle, some insurance companies provide better coverage than others and some insurance companies will provide stated value coverage, the best insurance for custom motorcycles.

Most importantly, when you buy insurance directly from an insurance company or insurance company agent, you pay for the insurance product, not advice. When you buy insurance from an independent insurance broker who represents several different insurance companies, you get the advantage of an insurance professional who can evaluate your needs and advise you accordingly.

Your premium includes advice, not just the insurance policy. A good independent insurance agent will determine what your needs are, provide you with the right options for you and explain to you what the differences are.

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This article is for informational purposes only, should be considered advertising, is the opinion of the author and is not meant to provide legal advice which cannot be provided without formally retaining a lawyer.

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