The easiest way to review your auto insurance options is with a web service like Online Auto Insurance. A quick search can help you compare auto insurance quotes from numerous agencies and see which best fits your budget.
But what if you'd prefer working in person with an old-fashioned broker? In that case, you'll need to find a broker that you love. Considering how many insurance brokers work in most cities, finding a great professional is easier said than done.
Follow these eight tips to find a trustworthy auto insurance broker who understands your needs.
1. Ask Your Friends and Relatives for Recommendations
Start by talking to your friends and relatives about the auto insurance brokers that they’ve used. A quick post on social media could give you several leads to try.
Importantly, the people in your social circle can also tell you about their negative experiences. That way, you can avoid brokers that haven’t worked well for others.
2. Read Online Reviews to Focus on the Best Auto Insurance Brokers
Once you find a few leads by talking to your friends and relatives, you can learn more about auto insurance brokers by reading online reviews. Search for the broker’s name online to find reviews written by other consumers.
If you don’t find useful information from your first search, include the word “review” in your next search. Depending on the broker’s popularity, you could find dozens or hundreds of reviews.
When reading reviews, make sure that you look for a consensus. A broker with 100 positive reviews and one negative review is probably great doesn’t do an excellent job. Brokers can’t make every customer happy. At the same time, you should avoid brokers with overwhelmingly negative reviews even if a few people love them.
3. Meet in Person to Talk to the Auto Insurance Broker
You can learn a lot about a broker by meeting in person instead of just talking on the phone or exchanging emails.
When you meet with the broker, you want to look for qualities that make you think the person is honest and enthusiastic. You want to find an experienced auto insurance broker who’s willing to work on your behalf.
4. Find Out How Many Insurance Providers the Broker Works With
Using an insurance broker means that you can explore policy options from a variety of companies. If you don’t care about options, then you might as well use an insurance agent that works for an insurance provider.
Since you do care about your options, you should look for a broker with a lot of connections to the auto insurance industry. More often than not, you’ll get more options from a broker who works with 10 companies than a broker who works with three.
5. Request Policy Options That Match Your Needs
Bigger policies aren't always better. Talk to brokers about your budget and how much coverage you would like for your vehicle.
A great broker will have several policy options that match your needs. Have the broker explain the differences between the policies so you understand what you will get for your money. You do not want a broker that doesn’t want to explain coverage and cost details with you. That’s poor client service, and you shouldn’t tolerate it.
6. Ask Brokers How They Get Paid
In most cases, brokers don’t earn commissions from insurance companies. They get paid by charging you a fee or higher premium.
Ask brokers to describe how they get paid so you can avoid expensive options. More often than not, insurance brokers charge a percentage of the policy they sell you. If the broker takes a 10% fee, then you will pay the person $100 for a $1,000 policy.
Don’t assume that brokers get paid 10% of a policy’s price, though. They can charge practically any fee that they want. Luckily, brokers are required to disclose their fee structures. You can even request a document that shows exactly how much money you will have to pay the broker for your auto insurance policy.
7. Question Brokers About How They Can Help File Insurance Claims
Insurance brokers should do more than help you find a reliable, affordable policy. They should also help you file claims and get answers from insurance companies after you file a claim.
Ask auto insurance brokers how they help clients file claims, whether they can expedite the claims process, and who will deliver the check to you.
Once you use a broker, you’re that person’s client until you cancel the policy. If the broker doesn’t want to participate in the claims process, then you should look elsewhere for better support.
8. Find Out Whether the Broker Will Inform You of Future Policy Options
The auto insurance policy that works well for you today may not serve your needs a year or two from now. Ideally, your broker will stay in contact with you and let you know about new policy options you should consider.
You should also feel comfortable calling the broker to discuss other policy options. If you lose your job, for example, then you may need to find a cheaper policy. If you buy a new car, then you more need more coverage. The broker should give you information freely even if it means losing money on a commission.
Don’t expect to find the perfect broker right away. You may need to spend a few days or weeks researching the brokers in your area. Once you finish, though, you’ll have a trustworthy guide to the world of auto insurance.