The answer is no – they are not all the same. At all. While you can always call a carrier directly and talk with one of the company appointed agents, it is always a great idea to shop your car insurance several different ways and to also be aware of what each of them bring to the table. This knowledge could not only save you time and headache in the event of an accident, but often times a good deal of money off of your annual premium if you know how to go about doing so. There are options and resources available to you day or not, each having its own benefits. Below are the top three ways to shop your auto insurance rates and what each means for you as the consumer.
1) Do your own quotes online from direct companies
If you feel comfortable in knowing your coverage limits and what they mean, while also considering yourself savvy enough to use an online rater, quotes are often at your very own fingertips. The problem with this is most people only think they know enough about what they are paying for and often leave gaps or omit coverages that wouldn’t normally be advised. With each state having different requirements, this can be confusing. There is also the pending hassle and headache that should a claim arise, you would only have access to the 800 number to reach out to for assistance, as opposed to having a direct contact when needed.
2) Talk to a captive agent
If you have a certain carrier that you are adamant about using such as a State Farm, you can contact a local office to speak with an agent directly appointed to write solely with that company. These are known as captive agents and they can assist with providing knowledge and helping you finding the right coverage through the company you are wanting to do business with. These companies have their own underwriters and rating standards, but they also only have only that one option to give you when choosing your auto insurance.
3) Look into insurance brokers
Car insurance brokers work with several companies on behalf of the insured and have access to a variety of different options. They are not bound by a certain company and often have carriers for specific types of risks (youthful drivers, multiple accidents, etc). They work with the multiple carrier underwriters to abide by their specific guidelines, while ultimately providing the insured with the experience of a having a direct contact to the carriers without having to do all the research. Most insurance brokers do not charge a fee and they are paid commission directly from the insurer, not the insured, so they come at no direct cost to you. Insurance brokers also are able to provide multiple quotes as your needs change over the years.