Auto and Home Insurance is a significant expense for every family and the amount you pay, may have more to do with the broker you choose than anything else. Although prior claim history and insurability have a major affect on rates, for those people who have a good history and rating, the broker selected could affect your rates even more.
Yes, it is true that not all insurance brokers are alike. Many brokers boast of being associated with 15 or 20 different insurance companies, leading customers to believe that based on sheer numbers alone, that they will provide the most competitive rates. However, many of them will only write policies for a select few out of the 15 or 20 companies, depending on their volume and sales goals. Therefore more is not necessarily better.
On the flip side are the agents who are tied to just one company and can only potentially offer the best rates that one company has to offer. At least in this case, the customer knows they are not being offered rates based on a wide ranged comparison of affiliated companies. However, in this case less is not necessarily more.
It is important to compare rates at least before every renewal period and to not get caught up in having allegiance to any one company. The truth is, with insurance companies there aren't any "good hands people" or "friendly neighbors," as they all simply want your money. The best insurance company for you, is the one that is credible and provides you with the lowest premiums for the appropriate amount of coverage. That's where selecting the right broker becomes essential.
Choose an insurance broker that you trust and know personally, if at all possible. If you don't know one personally, then go with a recommendation from a trusted professional. A good broker is accessible and returns telephone calls. In addition, when your premiums increase significantly, a good broker will contact you with an explanation and offer credible alternatives. Beware of the broker who tries to offset premium increases by telling you to just raise your deductibles. If you follow that advice you may be able to keep your invoice the same, but you are receiving less coverage for the money which effectively means you are paying more.
There are many factors to consider in choosing an insurance broker and this article is by no means exhaustive. If nothing else, choose a broker that you know and believe to be sincere in doing what is best for you and is as trustworthy as possible. As many of our clients can attest to, choosing the right broker can save you up to in excess of $1,000 per year. If you have any questions or are not sure about who to choose, please do not hesitate to contact us for a recommendation.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.