How to Buy Auto Insurance
Dan Levenson October 23, 2020
Auto insurance is compulsory in 48 of 50 states. You must have it in every state other than Virginia and New Hampshire, but it’s a terrific idea in those states too. The alternative is to self-insure — and that puts considerable cash at risk.
Today we’re talking about ways to buy auto insurance. If you’re wondering about the difference between brokers and insurance agents, and all the other ways to purchase auto insurance, read on.
The Four Ways to Buy Auto Insurance
There are four ways to buy auto insurance:
- Direct from the insurer
- From a captive agent
- Through independent insurance agents and brokers
- Or, occasionally through specialty agents
The auto insurance quoting process is similar at each of them. If you’re a private consumer shopping for auto insurance, you’ll need to know:
- Your driver’s license number
- The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- The make, model and year of the vehicle
- The primary use of the vehicle and your expected mileage.
If you’re a business owner looking for a commercial auto insurance policy, or a hired and non-owned auto insurance policy, you’ll need more information about your business and your employees who drive.
Let’s take a closer look at the different ways to buy auto insurance.
You Can Buy Auto Insurance Direct from the Carrier
Dealing directly with the carrier means you won’t deal with the same insurance agent every time. Traditionally, these insurers advertised via TV and mail, and prospective customers would call in and ask for a quote for auto insurance. The internet has changed this a bit, and customers can get auto insurance directly online.
- This method has a reputation for being more affordable but lacking customer service and personal attention to the insured.
- You’ll never meet an agent.
These auto insurance companies are usually mono-line: they’ll offer only auto insurance. This can be a challenge for customers who have more insurance needs.
Or, Buy Auto Insurance from a Captive Agent
Captive agents work for a single insurance company. They may have other options in an emergency, but their contract with the insurance company clearly states all insurance quotes must be presented to this insurer first.
- You can meet an agent in person and build a relationship with them.
They can help you achieve coverage for all your assets, and might provide multi-line bundles and discounts.
You Can Purchase Auto Insurance from Brokers or Independent Agents
Insurance brokers and independent agents represent several companies. Brokers can work on your behalf to find you several auto insurance options. They will take a commission for their services.
- Individuals with significant assets often prefer the broker arrangement. They know an insurance broker is working to find them the right protections, rather than meet sales goals or earning commissions from the insurance company.
Finally, the last way to purchase insurance is through a specialty agent.
As a rule, specialty agents don’t deal with private consumers looking for personal auto insurance.
Specialty agents deal with unique insurance products and surplus lines. If you need to insure your private jet, a race horse, your high-risk skydiving business, or a container of products shipping through the pirate-infested waters near South Africa, you could turn to a specialty agent.
Here at InsureYourHome.com, our team of licensed insurance agents can help you buy auto insurance today! We’re proud to work with many insurance companies on your behalf. Whether you’re looking for the most affordable auto insurance, or a bulk bundle of products to protect your home and family, we can help! Contact us to learn more about auto insurance today.