There are a number of ways you can find your ideal home insurance policy for you. When your insurance requirements are few in number and the coverage is simple, you can step out and buy a policy after doing a simple online search and narrowing down on a good insurance company. However, if you have a complex insurance requirement, such as having expensive furniture, coverage for third parties on your property or even insuring a secondary home or vacation home, the details of your coverage will need expert advice. This is why it’s a good idea to look for a good home insurance agent or broker.
Insurance agents may be ‘captive’ agents implying that they help you with insurance packages from a single Insurance Company. They may also be ‘independent’ agents who, through experience, are able to put together an insurance package from various insurance companies, in order to give you the best suited one.
A broker however will charge a commission and a fee for having provided you with his expertise and for functioning as your middle-man. Let’s look at a few tips on how you can find the best home insurance broker:
• Ask friends and family: By far the best way to narrow down a search for a good insurance agent is by asking friends and family. Your friends and family are the ones closest to you and most likely to give you the best advice on choosing a good agent. They are also likely to give you the heads up on what to look out for and which agents specialize in different insurance covers. Which agent can give you the best advice on reduced rates, which ones can give you the best mix of insurance policies offered by various vendors, etc.
• Check with your state insurance regulator: Every state has an insurance regulator that exists for the benefit of consumers. Check their website for licensing, ratings, consumer complaints etc., of insurance agents in your area. In Canada, the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR), is the authority to contact if you want to know more about agents in your locality.
• Meet with a few potential agents: Since you need to disclose a lot of personal information to an agent, ensure that you know everything you need to, about your agent. Ask about your agent’s history, a few clients who would recommend him, the kind of policies he can provide and also about how he can help when a claim is to be made. If the agent does not seem helpful about providing you with accurate information, best policies for the best rates and other helpful tips, you would probably be better off with another more experienced and obliging agent.
• Find an agent who can provide specialized packages: When you need a policy for a secondary home, or if your home is in a unique situation, its best to have an agent who also specializes in that area.
At the end of the day, having an agent who can provide you with customized advice and an equally customized insurance package is the right one for you.