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Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Insurance Agent

1. Can I see your resume?

Do some background checking on the insurance company or agent you are considering giving your hard-earned dollars to. Make sure they are worth it. Don’t just take cousin Fred’s recommendation.

  • Do they hold a certificate of authority to do business in the state?
  • Are they financially sound (so they can pay for your claim when you encounter a texting driver without insurance)?
  • Do they have a complaint history?

2. What’s your specialty?

If you’re a motorcycle enthusiast, why choose an agent whose client base is 1% bikers? If your business finds you in a rental car 65% of the time, don’t you want someone who knows about rental insurance? If you’re in the military, why not go for the company that understands and now how to handle your car that be in storage for a year? If you know your insurance needs may be somewhat out of the norm, you should make sure your insurance provider is qualified to meet those needs. Research and find out if the particular company you are looking at handles your type of clientele.

3. How do you handle claims?

Hours of availability, who will be handling the claim as well as the insurerer's record of payout can all serve as key insight in to how smoothly your claim will go. Don’t be shy. Be sure to ask how long a typical claim process takes and what their average payout is. Knowing the answers to these questions could save you a significatant amount of time, money and hassle when decideing which agent or agency to go with.

4. What discounts do you offer? This list should be long and varied. Insurance companies offer discounts for all sorts of things, from driving record, to credit record, to car ratings. If the agent is not willing to work with you to provide at least some savings, you can easily find one who is.

5. What coverage do I need?

Premiums, deductibles, state requirements, car value vs. payout, uninsured motorist, bodily injury, property damage – the list of terms and concerns goes on. Get clear answers as to how much coverage you need, exactly what will be covered in a policy, and how any unfamiliar terms are defined. You don’t want to end up with a policy that simply gets the agent a good commission but does not meet your needs or worse that you do not understand. If any of these questions produce answers along the lines of: I can’t divulge that information, I am unsure at this time, or simply, “Uhhh…” red flags should raise and you should consider shopping around a bit more.