It doesn’t really matter what type of insurance you’re after, be it health, auto, life, or business, you need to have a basic understanding of how various policies work to be able to secure the best deal for you and your family. There’s no doubt that insurance plans can get pretty complicated at times because there’s such a wide variety of them available and there’s a lot of fine print that you need to read and understand. In addition, there are numerous state insurance rules and regulations that need to be abided by. With the new health care reform act being put into place, these rules could affect you when seeking an insurance plan.
Some people know exactly what they want or need when it comes to insurance coverage and are able to find a plan that suits all of these need. However, there are many others who aren’t too sure what they should be looking for and they often end up with a policy that doesn’t fulfil their requirements or they pay too much for it. One of the best ways to make sure you get the best coverage possible at the most affordable price is to enlist the aid of a professional insurance agent/broker.
These people are specifically trained in the insurance industry and understand how it operates inside out. A good agent/broker is up to date on all of the news and happenings in the insurance field and can pass this knowledge on to you. You’re really in a win-win situation when using an agent/broker since you don’t have to pay for their services. They will make sure your insurance application is filled out properly and will personally assist you in your search for the perfect insurance policy.
However, to clarify things, insurance agents are licensed by the state they work in and they generally represent one or more insurance carriers. An agent obtains quotes from insurers and passes them on to customers who are looking for a policy. If you buy a plan through the agent the insurance companies they represent will take care of their commission. However, a captive agent is one who works for one specific insurance firm.
When it comes to insurance brokers, they also have to be licensed by the state, but they work closely with the customer to help match them up with an insurance plan that suits them. A broker usually explores more coverage options than an agent and will gather information on coverage and cost from multiple carriers. A broker can be considered to be a professional advisor who will offer you personal assistance every step of the way when you’re looking for suitable insurance.
Some brokers deal in a variety of insurance plans, while others may just focus on one type, such as health or auto. Basically, if a person sells an insurance policy for the firm they have been appointed by then they’re acting as an agent. However, if the person finds a policy on behalf of a client with a firm they don’t represent, then they’re acting as a broker. Many people don’t realize there’s a slight difference between the two and often refer to agents and brokers as being one and the same.
Whether the person is acting as an agent or a broker you need to work closely with somebody who is focusing on your specific insurance needs. They should be committed to finding the best insurance plan for your unique situation and price range, no matter what type of insurance you’re in the market for.
Some of the best reasons for getting professional help from an agent/broker are knowledge, accuracy, and speed. They can access all of the relevant insurance information you need very quickly and make sure everything is done according to law. Basically, they will do all of the legwork for you as well as most of the paperwork and explain to you exactly what each insurance plan covers and what it doesn’t cover.
They will also be able to explain insurance terms to you and what they mean. This means everything will be clarified and you’ll have a full understanding of premiums, deductibles, out-of-pocket expenses, co-payments, maximum lifetime benefits and coinsurance etc. It’s hard to go wrong buying an insurance policy when receiving expert advice and assistance. However, there’s always a chance that you may not be getting exactly what you bargained or paid for if you’re unclear how the insurance industry operates. The end result of your insurance search should always be finding a plan that is designed for you.
An agent/broker will talk with you to gather all of the relevant information needed when seeking a plan. Based on this information, most agents/brokers will then know which insurance carriers may be the best to apply to. They’ll also be able to help find the most affordable insurance premiums available by comparing the rates and services a wide variety of insurers in your state.