Step 3: Find the right insurance agent

Insurance shopping tips

We recently switched to Affordable Family Insurance for our auto and homeowner’s insurance. Dennis Bertz tailored our policies to our needs at excellent prices. Going with Affordable Family Insurance was an excellent choice for us, and I highly recommend their services.

J. Bitgood

If you decide to buy directly from an insurance company

If you choose to buy insurance directly from an insurance company, you do not need to find an insurance agent. Just call the company’s toll-free number or visit its web site.


If you decide to buy insurance through an agent

If you want the personal attention of someone who is committed to selling you the best insurance for you and your family, you need to find an insurance agent.

Some people like to find an insurance company they like, then find an agent who call sell them that company’s insurance. Others prefer to first find an agent they like, then work with the agent to get the insurance they need.


Gather some opinions

Ask people you trust about insurance agencies they have worked with. Find out about their good and bad experiences. Ask them about:

  • Availability and communication
  • Price and coverage compared to other companies they looked at
  • Their agent’s knowledge about insurance
  • How well the agent understands their needs
  • How often they hear from their agent
  • If they submitted a claim, how the company handled it

More and more people are posting reviews of local companies in local directories like Google and Yahoo.

Contact the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau and Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner’s Office to see if any policy holders have complained about an agency.

Meet with agents

If you have already decided which insurance company offers the best policies at the best prices for your needs, then look online or in the Yellow Pages for an insurance agent who works for that insurance company. If you have not yet decided which insurance company to buy from, then look for an independent insurance agency whose agents can give you good advice about the range of options available.

Meet with at least three agents before you choose one. Pay attention to how the agent treats you in your meeting:

  • Does he ask good questions? Does he listen more than he talks? A good agent wants to find the insurance that is best for you. He cannot do that unless he listens carefully to you.

  • Does he speak your language? Does he tell you the truth? You do not need to be an expert in insurance to make good decisions about insurance. A good agent will help you by speaking plainly and answering your questions clearly.

  • Is he knowledgeable? A good agent knows what insurance can and cannot do. He knows how to find the right policy. He stays on top of changes in the law. He tracks changes in the insurance industry. Find out how long he has been working for his agency and how long he has been selling insurance. If he cannot answer your questions, make sure he knows how to find the answers you need.

  • Can he sell you what you need? A good agent should not try to sell you an insurance policy at the first meeting, but he ought to be able to tell you whether or not he will be able to find a good policy for you.

  • How does the owner of the agency treat the agents who work there? If an agency owner does not treat his staff well, customers will likely not be treated well either.

  • Do you like him? Can you trust him? It is not important to like everyone you work with. But it helps to work with someone you like. More important, you must be able to trust the insurance agent you work with.

<⇐ Step Two: Decide how to buy

Insurance shopping tips ⇒>

Prepare for your first meeting with an agent ⇒>