Is it better to buy insurance through a broker or direct from an insurance agency?

UPDATED: May 23, 2011

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UPDATED: May 23, 2011Fact Checked

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Asked May 23, 2011

1 Answer

An insurance broker purchases insurance policies through a selection of insurance companies. When the insurance company only offers one brand, it is referred to as a captive agent or office. Because there is no variation in available policy writing, the costs of insurance may be higher and the available options fewer. A captive insurance agent works for the company, and their income is dependent on supporting the company.

An insurance broker relies on the consumer for continued income. They will research different insurance companies to find you the quote that best meets your needs, because the broker works for you, not an insurance company. Brokers tend to be more sympathetic to the customer, and will put more effort into customizing your policy for your needs rather than to inflate the premiums.

On the other hand, an insurance broker is not as useful when you have to file a claim because they are not direct representatives of your insurance provider. Instead of contacting your agent, you will need to contact the insurance provider directly. If this two-step process of notifying your agent and the actual provider is too much of a hassle, then using a captive insurance provider is your best solution. In most other situations, you can save money and receive a higher level of customer support by dealing with a brokerage.

Answered May 23, 2011 by Anonymous

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