I started Insurance Blog by Chris™ because I have a passion for insurance. Here at the blog, our job is to educate and inform people about the best insurance for them. Since then, we have grown into national brands with a large team of researchers helping people understand all forms of insurance.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 18, 2021

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by insurance experts.

Although many folks tend to purchase their insurance straight from an insurance provider, there are alternative options that may offer you the chance at finding better rates and policies that are better suited to your individual needs.

Shopping with local insurance agents and brokers gives you the opportunity to consider a wider variety of policies with an expert dedicated to helping you find the best possible rates. And that’s the most important thing to us!

insurance agents near me

An insurance agent typically works directly for one insurance provider from a local office. The agent meets with you in person to discuss the insurance company’s policy offerings, rates, and any discounts that may be available to you.

On the other hand, brokers are authorized to sell insurance for multiple companies. Brokers can offer you a broader range of coverage options and can do the shopping around for great rates on your behalf, saving you time and frustration.

That’s big! Brokers work to find the best protection at the lowest available rate for your vehicle.

What’s the Difference Between an Insurance Agent and a Broker?

In the insurance industry, there are three main types of insurance agents.

It’s important to know the difference between them, so you’re able to get the best possible rates from top insurance providers.

#1 – Captive Agents

Captive agents are those who work directly for an insurance provider.

While they’re able to provide you with a customized policy and know how to save you money on your insurance, they can only provide you with rates and policy information from the specific company for which they sell.

This means captive agents don’t represent you. They represent the company they work for.

#2 – Independent Insurance Agents

An independent agent works for multiple companies.

They’re authorized to sell insurance policies from many insurance providers and can assist you in comparing rates and coverage options. While they can help you to shop around for the best deal, they are still paid a commission by and work for the insurance companies.

In other words, they do not represent you as does an insurance broker.

#3- Insurance Broker

Insurance brokers are not contracted or commissioned by insurance providers.

They work directly for you the consumer, and therefore, may charge a fee when setting up a new insurance policy for you.

However, as an independent local insurance agent, they can help you to shop around for the best insurance, rates, and discounts. And, they represent you not an insurance provider or companies.

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How to Find a Local Insurance Agent or Broker Near You

While it’s not difficult to find a broker, finding one you can trust is sometimes another story.

We recommend you follow these steps to find an excellent local insurance agent or broker.

Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations

Before taking to the web to conduct your search, ask friends and family if they might know a good insurance agent or broker who can speak with you and make recommendations.

Most likely, you’ll get several names of trustworthy insurance salespeople to choose from. This really is one of the best ways to find a great agent or broker.

Search Online for Reviews

Once you’ve found a local insurance agent or broker you like working with, you can then search for online reviews of that agent.

If you’re unable to find reviews for the specific agent, search for the brokerage or office location where they work. This can give you a better understanding of their customer satisfaction, policy offerings, and rates to make sure they are a good fit for you.

There are several places you can conduct your search, where you can find honest reviews from previous and current customers. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is another reliable place to search online.

There, you’ll find legitimate reviews, the company’s BBB rating, and information on whether the company is BBB accredited.

Schedule a Meeting Before Making a Commitment

Once you’ve done your online research and have chosen a local insurance agent or a broker, go ahead and schedule a face-to-face meeting so you can go over your car insurance options in detail.

Make sure the agent or broker is able to offer you a policy that is going to suit your needs and your budget, and most importantly, make sure you’ve got a good rapport with them.

We want you to work with someone you respect and trust.

Confirm the Agent’s Licensing is Valid

Make sure the agent you’re considering is properly licensed. Most state insurance offices have a directory where you can check the status of an agent’s license, and some also allow you to verify whether or not there are any complaints.

When looking up a license status, look for one of the following designations: Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), or Accredited Adviser in Insurance (AAI). Whew, that’s a lot of acronyms.

If you’re unable to find information on the agent’s license status online, ask to see a copy of their current license when you meet in person. While this may feel a bit awkward, agents should have no problem with presenting their license. If they hem and haw, this may be an indication that they’re not fully on the up and up. Big yellow flag!

Why You Should Use a Local Insurance Agent or Broker

There are many compelling reasons why working with a local agent or broker can provide a better consumer experience for you than buying insurance online or directly from a provider over the phone.

  • Most insurance providers and agents won’t provide quotes over the phone. Therefore, unless an insurance provider has a quote calculator on its website, the only way to obtain an accurate insurance quote is in person at a local insurance office. Keep in mind that even if you receive a quote online that you’re pleased with, a local agent or broker may be able to find you a better rate or offer discounts.
  • Local insurance agents and brokers have a better understanding of both state insurance laws and how geographic location affects the rates in your area of residence. This also means they have a more thorough knowledge of the prevalence of certain claims that occur where you live, and they can provide you with insurance that covers you against common issues.
  • A local agent or insurance broker means you get personalized customer service. You have peace of mind knowing you’ve got a point of contact right down the road that you can trust. That’s a big deal in our world of high-tech.
  • A local agent is more likely to build a customized insurance policy that suits your specific needs. One of the best qualities they have is their insider knowledge of policy offerings and therefore can make sure that you’re covered no matter what happens.

In Conclusion

With the above information, we hope you can now make a more informed decision about buying directly from an insurance company or using a local insurance agent or broker.

Understanding the different types of insurance agents, captive agents, independent agents, and insurance brokers, can also provide you with more knowledge and help you to get the best service and insurance policy that suits your needs.

Happy Shopping!