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View Poll Results: How Do You Get Your Insurance (Home, Auto, Umbrella)?
Traditional via Captive Agents (State Farm, Allstate...) 57 37.75%
Direct (Geico, Progressive ...) 48 31.79%
Independent Agent/Agency 40 26.49%
Other 6 3.97%
Voters: 151. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-16-2017, 10:28 PM   #41
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I have always used an independent agent. I do feel that people often make insurance decisions based upon the wrong criteria. That is, I have seen people make insurance decisions based solely upon price without understanding that there are coverage differences between the two policies.

It is important to look at what is covered and what is excluded. Not every homeowners policy is like every other homeowners policy. Lots of people will notice if the amount of coverage is different between the two. But, not everyone will notice if one policy excludes claims that would be covered by the other policy or if one policy covers something that is not covered by the other policy.

With a captive agent or buying direct you can ask about the options that company has but you can't go to a Farmer's agent and get a quote for State Farm. Of course, you can go to State Farm and get a quote from them. But, then you have to able to compare the two quotes and really understand what is or is not covered by each policy. Many people are not well equipped to do that.

The reason why I like independent agents is that if they get a quote from multiple carriers, they can compare them and they can tell you what is different between them. For lots of people, that is worth way more than a small difference in premium. It doesn't do much good to buy for the cheapest premium and then find out your loss isn't covered when it would have been covered by a more expensive policy.

Another reason to prefer the independent agent is that they are more likely to be able to find someone to cover things that are outside the norm. They may be able to find a carrier who will cover something that State Farm or Geico might not cover.

Having said all that - not all independent agents have access to a lot of markets. Some of that have very limited markets they place with so you may not have a lot of variety offered.
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Old 11-16-2017, 10:30 PM   #42
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I have been with GEICO for close to 40 years starting with renters insurance, adding auto, then adding home (now through Travelers) and liability. No problems, but then with only 5 claims (auto) in this time we have not had to use them much. 4 were not our fault, and they were quick both in settling the claim and in going after the at-fault party's insurance to cover our deductible.Every time we added a child to our policy they always notified us of the available discounts for them.
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Old 11-17-2017, 12:31 PM   #43
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:50 PM   #44
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I've had Nationwide insurance for 20+ years. Never shopped around after. The agent was recommended by a friend, but I never even spoke to the agent directly - always worked with someone in the office. That is, until about six weeks ago, when I was rear-ended at a stoplight (by an Allstate insured). The Nationwide service has been horrendous. The agent hasn't returned emails or phone calls, seems to have forgotten me completely when I call back to follow up ("well, you know I deal with hundreds of claims every day"), and gave me advice that everyone else (at Nationwide, Allstate and the auto body shop) said was the wrong advice - to file the claim through Nationwide and have them work to recover damages from Allstate instead of dealing with Allstate directly. And the Nationwide claims agent sounded like I was wasting her time when she called to get the facts of the case.

Well, needless to say, as soon as this claim is finally settled, I'll be shopping for a new insurance agent and a new insurance company!
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:06 PM   #45
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I'm with Liberty Mutual right now. After shopping around, I asked about a lot of caveats and there are some clauses I didn't like with several I had inquired about, especially when it came to storm damage. I got an auto accident 35 days after I started the policy, they paid out nearly $9k in repairs and rental car, no rate increase like promised and it was handled really well.

With the rules in this state, there is a limited # of carriers so I believe I got the best option available.
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Old 11-17-2017, 05:43 PM   #46
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Always use an independent agent and shop every 3 - 4 years. Currently with Farmers Mutual. And, always high deductibles ... I hate paying premiums
That's me ... except I shop every year. The local independent agency we use always seems to beat the big guys out (including USAA.) And I kinda like being able to stop by their office and look 'em in the eye while discussing various insurance options.

(Except our new 2nd home we bought out in Texas this year. Went to Amica for the best rates on that one. Had Amica when we previously had our primary residence in Texas before and they were great.)

I insure my home for purposes of major fire, tornado, etc. Otherwise, I don't file claims. So I keep a very high deductible and I won't cry about paying it should one of those unlikely events come to pass. I carry liability only on my 17 year old pickup truck and $1000 deductibles on our other two newer vehicles that have comprehensive.
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Old 11-17-2017, 08:20 PM   #47
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When I was with Allstate for 30 years the agent/owner was a friend. We went to Dead shows together and stuff like that. His sister worked there with him, and was my personal contact whenever I'd call. But he finally retired and his agency was bought by a group from another country. I found them short and unhelpful whenever I called. Then Kathy and everyone else I used to work were fired and replaced with, I assume, family members of the new owners.


I didn't dump them for that particularly, although it was tempting. But when I changed residence to FL and Allstate wouldn't do my homeowners anymore, I had no problem leaving them behind. Even though I ended up with Allstate for some of my coverages, it's a different office.


I think having an agent you can trust is worth a little overpayment. But not having one and shopping for the best price is probably smarter. It sort of depends. The amount of actual dollars (not percentage) I can save is in the chickenfeed range. Sort of like shopping to save a few pennies/gal on gas.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:18 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
I have always used an independent agent. I do feel that people often make insurance decisions based upon the wrong criteria. That is, I have seen people make insurance decisions based solely upon price without understanding that there are coverage differences between the two policies.

It is important to look at what is covered and what is excluded. Not every homeowners policy is like every other homeowners policy. Lots of people will notice if the amount of coverage is different between the two. But, not everyone will notice if one policy excludes claims that would be covered by the other policy or if one policy covers something that is not covered by the other policy.

With a captive agent or buying direct you can ask about the options that company has but you can't go to a Farmer's agent and get a quote for State Farm. Of course, you can go to State Farm and get a quote from them. But, then you have to able to compare the two quotes and really understand what is or is not covered by each policy. Many people are not well equipped to do that.

The reason why I like independent agents is that if they get a quote from multiple carriers, they can compare them and they can tell you what is different between them. For lots of people, that is worth way more than a small difference in premium. It doesn't do much good to buy for the cheapest premium and then find out your loss isn't covered when it would have been covered by a more expensive policy.

Another reason to prefer the independent agent is that they are more likely to be able to find someone to cover things that are outside the norm. They may be able to find a carrier who will cover something that State Farm or Geico might not cover.

Having said all that - not all independent agents have access to a lot of markets. Some of that have very limited markets they place with so you may not have a lot of variety offered.
The way I look at it, I'm my own independent agent. I shop around easily via online quotes. I have simple needs, basic auto, homeowners and umbrella. I've had "independent agents" who said they could get me a better rate, they haven't. And none have even commented on having differences which were better than the coverage I have. Sounds like you've been drinking the kool-aid for a while.
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:19 PM   #49
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Old 11-17-2017, 09:28 PM   #50
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The way I look at it, I'm my own independent agent. I shop around easily via online quotes. I have simple needs, basic auto, homeowners and umbrella. I've had "independent agents" who said they could get me a better rate, they haven't. And none have even commented on having differences which were better than the coverage I have. Sounds like you've been drinking the kool-aid for a while.
Wow! That last line is a bit over the top don't you think?

Let me put it this way. I spent a good part of my career working with insurance related matters (I am a lawyer). I've worked on coverage disputes. I think it is fair to say that I know more about insurance coverage than the average person. I've read many, many insurance policies. Even so, I don't feel that I have the expertise of someone who is actually an experienced insurance agent who handles coverage on a daily basis. Even knowing what I know (which is more than most people), I think I find it valuable to having an independent agents comparing coverage options and/or telling an independent agent what I need and having that agent tell me what is available.

I do not at all have any opinion as to your level of expertise. For all I know you have a level of insurance knowledge that far outstrips what I have learned over the years. It may well be that you are well qualified to assess differences between policies and that you understand thoroughly all of the different policy provisions including all exclusions and limitations on coverage, etc. It may be that you thoroughly understand all endorsements to the policies offered to you and you know what endorsements and changes might be available that weren't offered to you that would be helpful to you.

For me, though, I find that I get value from getting feedback from an independent agent. If that is drinking kool-aid, then OK.
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:04 PM   #51
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:11 PM   #52
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Old 11-17-2017, 10:43 PM   #53
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........... I've had "independent agents" who said they could get me a better rate, they haven't........... .
Like in everything, it depends.

Unfortunately, my one experience with an independent was terrible. She found me a lower cost company, but the insurance company were so incompetent that I fired them and the independent agent. That said, if I could find a good independent agent, I'd be game to give it another try.
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Old 11-17-2017, 11:36 PM   #54
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Like in everything, it depends.

Unfortunately, my one experience with an independent was terrible. She found me a lower cost company, but the insurance company were so incompetent that I fired them and the independent agent. That said, if I could find a good independent agent, I'd be game to give it another try.
This is a good point. While I have generally used an independent agent for the reasons stated that doesn't mean that every independent agent is good. They can be bad. And, as I mentioned previously they don't always have access to good companies. I do like them for the reasons I stated but that does presuppose choosing a good independent agent who has access to adequate companies.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:49 AM   #55
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So how did you find your independent agent?

I get my home/auto/umbrella via Travelers, which I went with on the recommendation of my credit union's insurance people.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:40 AM   #56
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AllState for auto, home & umbrella. It certainly isn't cheap (but sons at home and basically a fleet of vehicles it is to be expected.) They have not, to date, denied a claim.

The last was DH's MVA. There was property damage. He handed me the MV104 which I filled out for him to sign (carefully explaining why the accident was the other driver's fault). I was surprised to receive back a check for our ($500) deductible.

The claim before that was on DF's house (inherited, policy covers Dad & me). There was snow on the patio cover which caused it to collapse. I got an estimate; they paid a portion. I had the repair done, sent them a copy of the cc bill and told the adjuster I got the price cheaper than the estimate because I had work done my other house. The paid the full price of the repair and closed the claim.
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Old 11-18-2017, 09:52 AM   #57
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We get auto and umbrella through Geico online, and homeowners through an agent with Farmers (Farmers via agents only).

We used to get bundled insurance in the past, but the last few years have found that either the home or auto side is much higher together than obtained separately. This still holds true with Farmers and Geico two years later. Farmers raised their premium substantially last year, but still best pricing around (go figure).

You have to really review your insurance quote carefully. I've been finding that over the last few years, insurance companies follow no standard and every area of coverage is different by company. Examples are areas of amount of coverage, deductibles, replacement coverage differences, etc. I regularly get bothered by Allstate with random mail and email quotes that are get your attention pricing, but fall very short on coverage...

Have used most all the companies mentioned in this thread including USAA. They all started out great, but raised pricing substantially after the 1st or 2nd year - forcing me to shop around, which usually results in switching companies.

Have also tried independent agents as well, but they've never been able to come close to matching pricing obtained by shopping for it myself. Wish they could, as it's a real PITA to shop for insurance annually, but unfortunately things always seem to change for the worse with insurance companies when you move from a prospect to a customer....
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:37 AM   #58
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Allstate in Ontario, Canada. In the US, I had Amica, but I was with Allstate before that, and the Allstate in Canada could pull my insurance history from their agency in the US to be able to give me a huge discount. After I joined, they had me attach a thing called DriveWise to monitor my driving for 6 months (monitoring driving speed, sudden breaking and time of the day of driving) and gave me another 20% discount at the 1st year renewal. I had DH added to my insurance after that and he was apparently a better driver than me and got another 30% off on his vehicle insurance. I shopped around for a better insurance this year, but with the steep discount after the Drivewise monitoring, I couldn't find anybody who could give us a better deal...

Maybe this DriveWise discount with Allstate is just a Canada thing. I don't know.
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Old 11-18-2017, 02:07 PM   #59
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......... I had DH added to my insurance after that and he was apparently a better driver than me and got another 30% off on his vehicle insurance.........
Next time, stick the device on your grandmother's car for 6 months.
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Old 11-18-2017, 02:41 PM   #60
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Amica. Super service.
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