Top Five Questions to Ask an Independent Insurance Agent

(And Know They're Right for You.)
Written by Candace Jenkins
Written by Candace Jenkins

Candace Jenkins is a licensed insurance advisor with over a decade of experience. She is also a writer and loves to write on all things insurance. Candace writes for on a continuous basis and is here with the facts about all your insurance inquiries.

Reviewed by Candace Jenkins
Reviewed by Candace Jenkins

Candace Jenkins is a licensed insurance advisor with over a decade of experience. She is also a writer and loves to write on all things insurance. Candace writes for on a continuous basis and is here with the facts about all your insurance inquiries.

Best questions to ask when choosing an independent agent

When choosing an independent insurance agent, some questions should be asked to determine that all your needs are met. An independent agent has a lot to offer, and asking if they are worth their salt is legitimate. just so happens to be the leading platform to connect with an independent insurance agent in your area. They work with only the best and can point you to better coverage and price options.

The Independent Insurance Agent

First, you need to know what an independent agent is, exactly. Independent insurance agents typically sell a variety of insurance and financial products. Their expertise includes the following insurance offerings:

  • Property and casualty insurance: Think your home, auto, umbrella, and business insurance needs.
  • Life insuranceConsider protecting your loved ones once you pass with financial reassurance.
  • Disability insurance: What if you got injured and were unable to work? This policy will foot the bill.
  • Short-term and long-term care insurance: Imagine having to go into a nursing home or needing daily assistance with regular tasks. This insurance will pay for the healthcare worker.
  • Health insuranceThis will cover your daily, weekly, yearly health needs like routine care and surgeries.

One unique feature that an independent insurance agent possesses is the ability to shop several carrier markets. Options ensure that you get adequate coverage for the best price in town. 

Top Five Question to Ask an Independent Insurance Agent

Now it's time to dive into the details and figure out what questions you should really be asking. If your agent doesn't have the answer, you may want to rethink who you're getting coverage through.

Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Independent Agent Today

1.  Do you specialize in personal or commercial insurance?

2.  How long have you been practicing insurance?

3.  What carriers do you represent?

4.  How fast is your turnaround on quotes, policy endorsements, and general insurance questions?

5.  What is your claims handling system?

1.  |  Do You Specialize In Personal or Commercial Insurance?

This question may seem unimportant, but it's possibly the most essential question you can ask your agent. Most agents specialize in personal insurance and dabble in commercial, which is fine if you're only looking to get home, auto, and umbrella policies. But what if you have more complex insurance needs? 

There is an old saying, "you don't know what you don't know," and is it ever true. The thing with dabbling in one area of insurance and not being a real expert is that the agent hasn't taken the time to gain the knowledge needed to insure correctly. This can create a massive problem for you as the consumer because you rely on your agent to be a specialist. If they don't know what exposures to look for, you're likely to be left at risk until it's too late, and you find out there's no coverage.

2.  |  How Long Have You Been Practicing Insurance?

Like everything else in life, you can't learn experience. You have to walk through it. Gaining experience takes time in the field, understanding what can go wrong and working to make things better. 

If your agent is new to the industry, there's nothing wrong with that. After all, everyone has to start somewhere. If you are dealing with an average-priced home, auto, and umbrella policy, then experience may not be an issue as long as they are knowledgeable and timely. 

If you have more complex insurance needs, then getting an adviser who is up to date on insurance policies and has been practicing insurance for a while may be a better option. 

3.  |  What Carriers Do You Represent?

The insurance carriers that your independent agent has in their arsenal are key to having better coverage. The more choices your agent has, the greater the variety of coverage and price options they can offer you.

It's also important to make a note of the ratings for the carriers they represent. Each insurance company has what's called an A.M. Best rating that will tell you if they have enough reserves to cover claims for their book of business. 

You are looking for an A or better rating. If your agent is working with lower rated companies, it might be useful to know why. 

4.  |  How Fast Is Your Turnaround?

As the old saying goes, time is money. It's true here too. How fast your independent agent can turn around a policy change, phone call, email, or claim says a lot about their reliability. 

Insurance is funny – you don't need it, until you do. Once you have to change something, have a time-sensitive question, or need to file a claim in a dark hour, your agent's true colors come out. 

The best way to find out if your agent can handle your business is to ask. Ask how they operate, when they can be reached in an emergency, and how long it takes them to get back to clients. These are not unreasonable questions, and your agent should have an answer for each. 

5.  |  What Is Your Claims Handling System?

Claims are the time for your independent agent to shine. It is when you need them the most. Before you jump into a policy with any agent, ask what they have in place to handle claims processing. 

If your agent struggles to find the words or says to "just give them a call," those may be red flags. It could mean they have thought more about getting your business and than about how to retain your business. 

Working with an independent agent that is less concerned about making a check and more focused on serving customers is a good indicator of a fantastic adviser.

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Where Do I Find an Independent Insurance Agent?

Now that you know what questions to ask, it's time to find the best agent to advise you. has a find your agent tool that can get you connected with a local agent and on your way to better coverage and pricing in no time. Be sure to utilize this free service and get matched with your trusted adviser today. 

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