24/7 online quoting offers consumers unprecedented convenience. However, treating insurance like a commodity can be dangerous. Consider a medical world where one could research his or her symptoms, prescribe one’s own prescriptions and be both doctor and pharmacist. Disregard for the value of such occupational expertise poses serious risks. Purchasing insurance online may not put one’s health at risk, but the analogy is a fair one. Discounting the knowledge and expertise of the licensed agent can jeopardize one’s liability exposure and assets.
Independent Agents are immersed in the industry and more familiar with insurance trends, common coverage selections, risk exposures, recognizing competitive premiums, etc. A career agent works for his or her customers. This agent-client relationship creates an inherent need for the agent to provide customers excellent service, and will regularly lead to a more personalized assessment of the client’s needs (better than a call center hundreds of miles away).
At the time of a claim, your agent is your consultant and advocate. If you have purchased your insurance direct or online, then your only consultant may be an employee of your insurance company whose counsel may not be completely unbiased. Your agent’s advice at time of purchase can prove “priceless” in the event of a claim, while an uninformed online purchase or oversight could lead to a financial hardship under the same circumstances.