Many big national companies like Geico, Liberty Mutual, and Allstate offer to quote your insurance online. So, why would you bother going to your local insurance agent?
That’s a great question!
Clearly, as a local independent agent, I am biased toward using a local independent agent. At the same time, I can admit there are reasons you might want to consider buying your personal insurance online.
But in this article, I want to highlight the benefits of working with a small local agent. We’ll discuss how local agents rise to the top in these five categories:
- Customer Service
- Knowledge of the Local Area
- Understanding PA State Regulations
- Investing in the Community
It may seem like it’s more convenient to shop online than with a local insurance agent.
I mean, online, you can shop around for insurance while sitting in your PJ’s on the couch at midnight if you want.
That’s pretty convenient!
Shopping online affords you the ability to get a quote wherever you are whenever you want.
Your Local Agent Shops For You
That said, it may seem less convenient to have to call a local agent sometime during weekday business hours. (And it may be if your work keeps you from being available to do so.)
However, local independent insurance agents have access to multiple national insurance companies. That means they shop around for you.
Instead of you filling out multiple applications at multiple internet sites, your independent insurance agent will supply your information to multiple companies. They do the work for you!
And after they submit your applications, they will provide you with multiple options.
Your independent agent can also guide you on changes you may want to make to your application to save money. For instance, they can quickly show you the difference in premium if you change your limits from $500,000 to $250,000.
When your local agent helps you, you don’t have to fill out the applications for yourself. They can get the job done more quickly and efficiently.
A major benefit of buying from a local agent is the customer service you can expect.
Online Customer Service
Let’s start by talking about customer service from a large national company. Let’s say that you get your auto insurance through Geico. Your sister is coming to town, and you want to lend her your car for a few days. Will she have coverage?
Because you’re unsure, you need to ask your insurance company.
Working with an online company, you’ll have to call an 800 number, send an email, or chat online to talk with a customer service rep.
Sometimes this can be as smooth as butter. Other times you can expect waits, automated voices, and limited expertise.
You may reach someone who doesn’t have answers to your question and need to pass you off to another representative.
And if your call is dropped, you may not be able to speak with the representative you talked to first. And if you call back in a week with more questions, you may just have to start the whole process over again.
When you work with an online company, the likelihood of having a consistent agent to work with is unlikely.
Local Customer Service
Now, imagine the same scenario, but this time you are working with a local agent. When you call your local insurance agency, you will likely work with the same agent each time you call with an insurance need.
And many local insurance agencies have a team that works with their home, auto, and life insurance products. This is helpful when you have an insurance need, but your agent is out of the office.
Having an agent that you regularly work with benefits you when you have to change your policy. Your agent is already familiar with your policy, your family, your needs.
A good local agent develops a relationship with you and is familiar with your unique needs. They know your history and what you have to protect.
They know you and treat you like a real person rather than giving you boxed answers.
Local Area Awareness
Another consideration when choosing where to purchase your insurance is local knowledge. Your location can impact where you should buy insurance.
Your local agent should be familiar with the quirks of your area.
For instance, they will have general knowledge about flooding in your area. They will be familiar with which locations have a higher crime rate. They will know the likelihood that you would experience mine subsidence.
Your local agent will guide you regarding extra coverages you may want to add to your policy. They will have examples of others in your area that have benefitted from adding additional protection in line with potential problems in your local area.
Understanding State Regulations
One significant benefit of working with a local agent is their understanding of state insurance regulations. Because they work with these regulations daily, they have experience explaining your choices and requirements.
Pennsylvania Tort Regulations
In Pennsylvania, you have the option of choosing full tort or limited tort when you purchase auto insurance.
Do you know the differences between full tort and limited tort? Do you know which you should choose?
Pennsylvania is one of twelve states that is not a tort state. Instead, Pennsylvania is a no-fault state.
This is confusing for many auto insurance buyers-especially when buying insurance. Pennsylvania requires you to choose your tort options.
A local agent can give you a thorough explanation of your state’s tort policy regarding auto insurance, explaining the risk of choosing limited tort rather than full tort.
The final reason you may want to consider working with a local insurance agency is their investment in their community.
Just to name a few, local insurance agencies sponsor:
- Local schools
- Youth sports teams
- Local events
- Community groups like 4H or Boy Scouts
- Local service groups like Rotary
- Food banks and other charities
- Community centers
And that’s just the start of the list!
For example, in the last year, our agency has sponsored local 5k races, a community youth soccer and baseball team, new scoreboards at area high schools, programs at our local university, and a host of other area groups and events.
Your local agent invests back into the community. They also help with providing excellent insurance coverage to local businesses and groups.
For every $100 spent at small businesses, $48 is put back into the local economy. But if that same $100 is spent at a big box store or national retailer, only $14 makes it back to our local economy.
When you buy insurance from your local insurance agent, you’re making a financial investment in your community.
Are you looking for a local insurance agent?
Are you looking for a local insurance agent?
Southwestern Pennsylvania has many outstanding insurance agents who can help you put together an insurance package to protect those things that matter most to you – your family, your home, your business, and the things you’ve worked hard for!
At Baily Insurance, we’ve been protecting our clients for more than 140 years!
We consider it a privilege to help you navigate the unique risks you face. As a trusted insurance advisor, we’re committed to helping protect you from the unexpected.
If you’re looking for a local agent, I invite you to look around our website to get a feel for the kind of agency we are. You can see what we care about and how we serve our clients.
Baily Insurance is an independent insurance agency that can supply all your insurance needs. We can help you with:
- Home and auto insurance
- Specialty insurance for RVs, ATVs, Jewelry, Personal collections, etc.
- Life insurance
- Commercial insurance
- Workers’ compensation
- Group health insurance
- Employee Benefits solutions
When you’re ready to talk with us, give us a call or fill out the form below, and we’ll get in touch.