One of the most common confusions I hear from callers as an insurance representative is what an insurance agent is vs. what an insurance carrier is. Today I will help clear that up!
An agent is the local representative you can visit in office to obtain advice, quotes and explanations about your policy. Insurance agents obtain a specific license that covers the general lines of: auto, home, health, marine, etc.
Most agents are able to write insurance policies with multiple carriers to find you the best price for an adequate amount of coverage. The agent is able to utilize tools to determine the replacement cost of a home and the coverage needed to rebuild it. Agents offer multiple forms of insurance and are knowledgeable about what is and is not covered by a policy.
Reasons to go to an agent:
1. To educate yourself on what your insurance policy truly covers
2. To discuss a claim prior to reporting it to the carrier and make sure you have coverage on your policy
3. To obtain quotes from multiple carriers to determine the best option
4. To make updates and changes to an active policy such as adding a mortgage adding more coverage
The insurance carrier is the company who would pay out a claim in the event you have a loss covered by the policy. The carrier can assist in answering basic policy questions, accepting payments and accepting claim information.
If your agent is unavailable or unable to help, trying calling your insurance company directly. Some carriers have customer service departments who are able to answer questions or provide resources you might need.
1. Choose an agent who is local so you can stop in for an appointment when necessary
2. Have your agent run a Replacement Cost Estimator (RCE) annually for your home insurance to make sure it is insured correctly
3. Shop for a new insurance policy every few years to see if your carrier’s rates are in line with others or if you can save money
4. Speak to your agent about purchasing proper inspections that can apply a discount on your insurance policy
5. Understand what is and is not covered under a policy
Tip! Wind mitigation inspections can provide a discount in Florida on your home insurance if you have had your roof completely replaced since 2002.