Personal Finance Expert
Tyron Jones is a finance expert who has operated within the auto insurance business for more than 10 years. He has written many other finance related articles for a number of prominent publications.
If you're searching for a car insurance policy, you have a range of different brokers to choose from. In a similar fashion to other industries, auto insurance is moving increasingly online. It's never been easier to compare quotes and policies using online comparison tools.
While buying online insurance has its advantages, there are still plenty of car owners that choose to work with local brokers. So, why is this the case? There are still plenty of reasons that local brokerage options are better for car owners – it all depends on your individual preferences.
Our Top Ten Reasons to Work with a Local Car Insurance Broker
Working with a local car insurance broker isn't for everyone, but there are plenty of benefits to take advantage of. Before you decide to partner with an auto insurance broker, it's a good idea to understand the unique benefits of all your options. Below, let's explore ten reasons you should work with a local car insurance broker:
1. A Personalized Experience
One of the primary advantages of working with a local insurance broker is accessing a personalized experience. When you use an online insurance broker, you don't have any connection with the person that is providing your policy. While this type of transaction may be preferable to some people, it doesn't allow you to get a deeper understanding of your policies.
For example, if you use a local broker to get car insurance, you can ask them questions about your insurance policy and what it covers. If you don't have experience purchasing insurance, a local broker is an excellent resource. They can explain the ins-and-outs of your policy, its inclusions, your premium details, and more.
This also means that you'll have a personalized experience for the length of your policy. If you ever have any questions, or you need to make changes to your policy, you can call your local broker.
2. Local Industry Knowledge
Large auto insurance brokers don't often have expertise in your local area. This makes it harder to access custom policies that suit your individual needs. For example, if you live in an area that has a large degree of flooding risk, it can be beneficial to partner with a local broker that understands this challenge.
If you do choose to work with a local insurance broker, make sure to ask them if there are policies that are specifically built for drivers in your area. Whether it's extra protection from auto theft, or a cheaper premium if you park your car in a locked garage, there might be plenty of opportunities to save.
This is also useful when you're trying to move to a new city, and you don't have a firm understanding of the local insurance market. By contacting a local broker, you can ask location-specific questions.
3. Policy Bundling
If you're searching for auto insurance, you might also need other insurance policies. Whether it's homeowner's insurance, motorcycle insurance, or travel insurance, you can sometimes save money if you bundle multiple policies together. Many insurance providers offer much more than just auto insurance.
Ask your local broker if they offer more than auto insurance. If you currently have policies with another insurance provider, you can also ask your local broker if there are any incentives to move your policies over. This is an excellent way to shave money off your current insurance costs.
4. Local Discounts
If you work with a local insurance broker, you might have access to local discounts. In many cases, local brokers have the ability to offer discounts to customers in their area. While larger online insurance firms have nationwide promotions, you might not be able to access discounts specific to your region.
Make sure to ask your broker if there are any discounts available for customers in your area. If you're switching from another insurance provider, there might be bonuses available for switching your policies.
5. Long-Term Relationships
If you enjoy the services of your local auto insurance broker, you can form long-term relationships that yield positive results. It's hard to build long-term brokerage relationships if you're working with a large, faceless insurance company with no local presence.
If you're working with an auto insurance provider that is committed to long-term relationships, you'll probably be offered a range of incentives and discounts throughout the duration of your relationship. For example, you might be able to unlock no-claims bonuses and a host of other incentives.
Finding the right insurance broker is about trust. It's much easier to trust a broker that you've known for years than it is to trust a broker that you've never met face-to-face.
6. Extensive Choices
Local insurance agents can help you access extensive insurance choices. Are you looking for a custom auto insurance plan that can cover your entire family? If so, speaking to a local insurance broker about your bespoke needs can help.
Don't underestimate the number of choices you can access if you decide to use a local insurance broker. Always ask for a full range of options before you decide to work with a specific broker.
7. Supporting Local Business Owners
Not only does choosing a local insurance broker have benefits for you and your family – you're also benefiting local business owners. If you're someone who values putting money back into your local economy, partnering with a local insurance broker is an excellent way to spend your money.
Local insurance brokers likely live and work in your community. This means that you'll be buying insurance policies from families that contribute to your neighborhood. If you're like us, you understand the importance of forming business relationships with others in your area.
8. Claim Assistance
One of the primary advantages of working with a local insurance broker is assistance with the claims process. In the unfortunate event that you do need to make an insurance claim, it's essential to process your paperwork correctly. If you're someone who uses as large, national broker, you won't have any hand-on help making your claims.
While many national insurance companies have improved their claims processes, it's still a nightmare making an auto insurance claim. With a local broker, you can speak to someone that you have a relationship with. This alone makes the claims process much easier to handle.
Additionally, you can often head to a local insurance office to go through the claim in person. If you're someone who is stressed about making a mistake with your claim, having the direct assistance of your broker can help put your mind at ease.
Lastly, your local insurance broker can also help you keep tabs on the claims process. It's easy to call them and ask questions about your pending claim. In fact, it's something we recommend you do.
9. Policy Information
Reading policy documents can be extremely difficult if you don't have experience in the insurance industry. If you've ever bought an insurance policy before, you may have noticed the lengthy documentation that comes with it. Understanding all of this can be a nightmare if you don't understand the terms – it can even be hard for a lawyer to understand.
While some large insurance companies have made it easier to understand the details of their auto insurance policies, there's no doubt that you can benefit from partnering with a local insurance broker. They'll be able to answer detailed questions about your policy and its terms – simply drop by their office if you have any questions.
10. Evolve with the Market
The auto insurance industry is constantly changing. If you want to ensure you don't miss out on the latest trends and advantages, it can pay to work with a local broker that you can trust. Local brokers can provide you with a stream of new offers and promotions.
If policy formats begin to change, working with a local broker can help you take advantage of different features and benefits. If you need a partner that can help you stay on top of the insurance industry, a local insurance broker is a perfect solution.
How to Choose the Right Local Car Insurance Broker
If you do decide to work with a local car insurance broker, it's essential to pick a broker that can offer the most value to you and your family. If you live in a large city, you probably have a wide range of local brokers to choose from. Even small towns in the United States often have multiple local insurance brokers.
Below, let's explore some core issues to consider before you choose a brokerage partner:
1. Compare Brokers
The first step to finding the right local broker is to compare brokers. If you don't compare brokers and what they offer to their clients, you won't have a chance of choosing the right partnership for you and your family. If you live in a city or town with multiple local brokers, it's more important than ever to ask questions about their services.
Start by looking up each broker and assessing any online information. If the broker doesn't have an extensive website with a car insurance comparison tool, contact them directly to ask about sign-up incentives, policies, coverage options, prices, eligibility criteria, and other critical insurance factors.
If you're not in a rush to find a new policy, it's a good idea to give yourself some time to compare as many brokers as possible. As with any financial decision, it's important to choose an insurance broker that values your time and money.
2. Check Reviews
One of the best ways to determine the right broker for you and your family is to compare reviews from top lenders. Fortunately, online consumer watchdog groups and review platforms allow past and current clients to review insurance brokers and other businesses.
Head to Consumer Affairs or the Better Business Bureau to see customer feedback from other clients in your area. If other consumers have had an awful experience with a particular broker, there's a good chance that your experience will be the same! Make sure to check if there are any recurring issues with a particular broker.
If you can't find any online reviews, this doesn't mean that you won't be able to assess feedback from current or previous clients. Ask the broker for verified testimonials from local residents – this is a great way to assess the quality of your broker's customer services.
3. Assess Full List of Policies
Next, it's time to consider the different types of policies that your local brokers offer. While it's not a bad idea to work with a broker that only offers auto insurance, you'll have more options to centralize all your policies if your broker can offer other types of insurance.
Depending on the broker, bundling can save you some money. We always suggest that you have a look at other ways you can lump your insurance policies together. Not only can it save you money, it can also be much more convenient to deal with a single insurance provider.
4. Ask Friends and Family
While it's easy to find your own local broker, you can always ask friends and family in your area for referrals. If someone you know has an excellent relationship with a local insurance broker, ask them to get you in touch. Some of the best relationships can be built by accessing professional services providers in your network.
Verdict: Choose a Broker That Suits Your Needs
At the end of the day, the broker that's right for you will depend on your requirements, preferences, and location. If you live somewhere that has excellent local insurance brokers; there are plenty of reasons that you can benefit from partnering with a nearby insurance agency.
If you're someone that values a personalized experience, it's easy to see why a local broker is the better option. While online insurance brokers offer different conveniences, it's hard to argue against the fact that a local broker can make the entire insurance process much less painful.
If you want someone to help you set up your policies, process insurance claims, and more, it's worth considering a local broker.