Thanks to the internet, buying homeowners’ insurance has never been easier. But buying the right insurance? That’s a bigger challenge. Large, multi-national insurance companies let you enter your information in an online form and buy so-called custom coverage in minutes. Unfortunately, though, this streamlined approach often leaves customers with less-than-suitable insurance policies, which can be a real hassle when it’s time to make a claim.
In an age dominated by technology and globalization, your local insurance agent is still the best place to turn for homeowners’ insurance that truly suits your needs. Local agents take the time to get to know you and your living situation before recommending coverage. On top of that, working with a local insurance agent can save you money — in more ways than one.
1. Local Agents Can Shop Around
When you work with a local, independent insurance agent, they can shop around to find you the most cost-effective policy. Independent agents are not contracted to work with any single insurance provider. They can set you up with a policy through any one of the many insurers they work with. You might get the best deal from Insurer X, whereas your neighbor may get the best deal from Insurer Y. Agents do the leg work and comparison shopping for you, so you can be sure you’re getting the best deal for your unique needs.
2. Local Agents Have Access To Better Deals
Sometimes, you’ll pay less for a particular insurance policy purchased through your agent than you would if you were to buy that same policy directly from the insurer. Agents may get a special rate from the insurer because they bring in so much business.
Your agent may also be able to more effectively negotiate a discount that you were not aware was even on the table. When you buy insurance online, you have to pay whatever price is displayed on the screen. An agent, on the other hand, has an opportunity to negotiate that price down on your behalf.
3. Local Agents Make Sure You Have The Coverage You Need
Everyone has different needs when it comes to homeowners’ insurance, and figuring out what those needs are takes some skill and experience. Independent insurance agents have this experience. They know what questions to ask you about your home and lifestyle in order to determine how much insurance coverage you really need. In this process, they’ll make sure you don’t end up paying for riders or coverage that’s not needed.
An independent agent will also make sure you’re not without important insurance coverage. This can save you countless dollars down the road since you don’t have to worry about being denied coverage for a claim. For instance, if you live in an area where floods are likely, an independent agent will make sure you have good flood coverage on your home. Without this coverage, you could be left to pay for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage out-of-pocket!
4. Local Agents Give Unbiased Advice
Is it worth adding hail coverage if it only hails in your area once every 30 years? Should you pay for that additional $50,000 in medical liability coverage? These are the types of questions you may want to ask your insurance agent.
If you ask these questions of a representative of a large, national insurance company, they’ll often answer in such a way that encourages you to buy more coverage, since that benefits them. An independent, local insurance agent, on the other hand, is an unbiased source of information. They don’t advocate for any single insurer, which means they are able to truly point you in the best direction for your needs, and not for the insurance company’s wallet.
5. Local Agents Know The Local Climate and Risks
Every region comes with its own weather, climate, and environment-related risks. For example, in the Palm Coast area, hurricanes are a real concern, and you need top-notch hurricane coverage included in your homeowners’ insurance policy.
If you work with a large, national insurance company, you might end up being sold insufficient insurance by someone from New York who lacks a personal understanding of hurricanes. That could cost you a small fortune if your home is damaged in the next storm. Local insurance agents are personally familiar with the unique risks in your area, so they can make more accurate, reliable recommendations.
6. Local Agents Can Sit Down With You In-Person
Buying insurance is personal. Many people have an easier time clearly communicating their needs and preferences in person rather than via the internet. When you work with a local insurance agent, you can sit down and ask questions in person before you buy a policy. This helps ensure you get your questions answered fully and accurately, which helps ensure you buy the best, most cost-effective coverage for your needs.
7. Local Agents Make It Easy To File A Claim
When your home does suffer damage and you need to file an insurance claim, you want the process to be as smooth as possible. This helps you get repairs made more promptly, so you can return to your home a lot faster. Generally, the sooner you are back in your home, the less the experience costs you.
Working with a local agent is so much easier when you do have to file a claim. They’ll be aware of any big weather events that may have contributed to the damage. This can save you the time of having to explain what happened. They’ll be familiar with contractors in the area, and they can even meet with you in person if needed. All of this translates to faster processing of your claim, which means you get more for your money.
8. Local Agents Can Recommend Cost-Saving Bundles
Sometimes you can save a lot of money by bundling your insurance. In other words, you may pay less if you buy car insurance and homeowners’ insurance from the same insurer. However, this is not the case for everyone. A local agent can do some comparison shopping to find out whether it’s worth bundling your insurance to save. This way, you won’t waste time switching to another insurer and bundling your coverage for no reason.
If you want custom homeowners insurance that gives you the coverage you need at a fair price, then working with a local agent is the way to go. To learn more about finding cost-effective homeowners’ insurance, contact Flagler County Insurance Agency. We are independent insurance agents with many years of experience in the business. We’re excited to build a custom policy to suit your needs and budget.