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Captive vs Independent Insurance Agents
Old 11-27-2010, 04:06 PM   #1
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Captive vs Independent Insurance Agents

Is is there any advantage or disadvantage of getting insurance from a captive (sell insurance from one company) vs independent (sell from several companies)? Are prices the same if you get insurance from either? For example, if a State Farm agent sells you a policy, would that price be the same if an independent agent sold you a policy from State Farm?

I've always had auto, home, umbrella insurance from on company (Nationwide, then switched to Allstate, now with Geico). But was wondering, is that the best way to go?
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:51 AM   #2
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I'm curious about this too. I've been using MetLife. The thing I don't like is having to call their 800 number and go through their long menu just to get to the department I need then be put on hold.

I thought it would be easier to price shop through an independent broker, but I'm wondering then who I would go through if I have to make a claim or make an adjustment to my coverage.

Maybe the independent finds the best rate but then you deal directly with the company when you need to file a claim?
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:18 AM   #3
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I work with a small independent outfit who know my name when I walk in the door, (same with my bank.) When you need help, it really helps to not be dealing with a big impersonal corporation with a call center in India.

I haven't had a lot of claims, but when I do, I call up and ask to speak to the person by name and they have always been helpful and knowledgeable - a rarity in this day in age.

They have also periodically called me up and told me that if they switched my policy from Company "A" to Company "B" they could save me money, so having access to lots of insurance companies to get quotes from can be helpful.
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Old 11-28-2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen View Post
I thought it would be easier to price shop through an independent broker, but I'm wondering then who I would go through if I have to make a claim or make an adjustment to my coverage.

Maybe the independent finds the best rate but then you deal directly with the company when you need to file a claim?
I've been purchasing my car and home insurance (Farmer's ) through an independent broker. I periodically price-shop, but have not found a better deal anywhere else.

When I was involved in a car accident last week, I called my agent (while I was waiting for the police officer to finish the paperwork) inquiring as to how to file a claim (my first claim ever, btw). He gave me the phone number to Claims at Farmer's. I called Claims right away and have been most impressed as to how well, smoothly, and quickly everything has worked since then.

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Old 11-28-2010, 01:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omni550 View Post
I've been purchasing my car and home insurance (Farmer's ) through an independent broker. I periodically price-shop, but have not found a better deal anywhere else.

When I was involved in a car accident last week, I called my agent (while I was waiting for the police officer to finish the paperwork) inquiring as to how to file a claim (my first claim ever, btw). He gave me the phone number to Claims at Farmer's. I called Claims right away and have been most impressed as to how well, smoothly, and quickly everything has worked since then.

omni
Thanks, Omni.

When I filed a claim with MetLife they were very easy to deal with. It's just a pain that I can't talk to one person to deal with all aspects of the insurance. For example, I had tree limbs fall on the house and car and had to call two different claims department. That was a rarity so it wasn't bad to deal with.

However, if I want to adjust my umbrella policy, change something on my auto and adjust the deductible on my homeowner's insurance I would probably spend a good hour and a half or more navigating their menu system and being put on hold.

A broker would save a lot of time in terms of price shopping. I've been meaning to price shop for several years now and keep putting it off because it is time consuming.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:21 PM   #6
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A broker would save a lot of time in terms of price shopping. I've been meaning to price shop for several years now and keep putting it off because it is time consuming.
Granted, it is a bit time-consuming, but it can be big-money-saving.

It's not the most fun thing, but I console myself with the potential savings. I make it a low-priority item on my ongoing to-do list. When I have some free time on a slow day and am in the mood, I'll do some investigating.

BTW, no need to wait until the time when your policy is set to renew. If you switch insurance companies "mid-stream", your old company will reimburse you the pro-rated unused portion if and when you notify them.

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Old 11-28-2010, 01:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by easysurfer View Post
Is is there any advantage or disadvantage of getting insurance from a captive (sell insurance from one company) vs independent (sell from several companies)? Are prices the same if you get insurance from either? For example, if a State Farm agent sells you a policy, would that price be the same if an independent agent sold you a policy from State Farm?

I've always had auto, home, umbrella insurance from on company (Nationwide, then switched to Allstate, now with Geico). But was wondering, is that the best way to go?
I've always gotten insurance directly from the company (USAA) so have not had to deal with a middle man and all of that junk that they bring along. That said, I would assume that an independent agent would be preferable as he would have access to policies of many companies, not just one as a captive agent would presumably have.

Of course, he would probably direct you (the customer) to the company that would tend to put more money into his pocket.
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