Like most small business owners, you probably purchase your insurance policies through an insurance agent or broker. The functions performed by insurance agents are similar, but not identical, to those performed by brokers. This article will explain how they differ. It will also explain how agents and brokers make money from the premiums you pay your insurers. Except where noted, the following discussion applies to agents and brokers selling property/casualty insurance.
Agents and brokers act as intermediaries between you (the insurance buyer) and your insurers. Each has a legal duty to help you obtain appropriate coverage at a reasonable price. Each must have a license to distribute the type of insurance he or she is selling. An agent or broker must also adhere to the regulations enforced by your state insurance department.
With an 82/100 satisfaction score from Consumer Reports and 4/5 power circles across the board from J.D. Power, State Farm’s customer service scores better than Allstate. State Farm scored best in damage amounts and policy offering categories, likely because it has the most thorough online quote process. You’ll need a binder full of details about your home to get a quote — with information as specific as the number of corners in your home’s frame. The quote process includes a 360Value tool that helps you calculate the Estimated Replacement Cost of your home, complete with detailed pictures to help you determine whether your interior cabinets are “Custom” or “Standard.” All this works together to give you an online quote that you can feel confident in.
If you choose to get a rate quote online, you will be taken to the Life Quotes, Inc. website that is not owned by GEICO Insurance Agency. Any information that you provide directly to Life Quotes, Inc. on its website is subject to the privacy policy posted on their website, which you should read before proceeding. GEICO Insurance Agency assumes no responsibility for their privacy practices or your use of their website.
Allstate also offers the most discounts of all the companies on our list — 11 total. These include standard discounts like hosting smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, or deadbolt locks, as well as unique offers, like one for signing up before your current policy expires. First-time customer with Allstate? You’ll get another price slash for your first two years with the company.
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Collision and comprehensive only cover the market value of your car, not what you paid for it—and new cars depreciate quickly. If your car is totaled or stolen, there may be a “gap” between what you owe on the vehicle and your insurance coverage. To cover this, you may want to look into purchasing gap insurance to pay the difference. Note that for leased vehicles, gap coverage is usually rolled into your lease payments.
Of our favorite insurers, Allstate earned the lowest customer service scores: three out of five from J.D. Power and 80 out of 100 from Consumer Reports. While these scores pale in comparison to customer-service powerhouses like Amica, it’s important to contextualize the superior customer service of the field. Homeowners insurance is miles ahead of other service industries like internet service providers, so even a middle-of-the-road ranker like Allstate doesn’t leave much to be desired. When we tested its customer service ourselves, Allstate answered all of our questions politely and allowed us to end the call without signing over our Social Security number.

Progressive Home Advantage® policies are placed through Progressive Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. with affiliated and third-party insurers who are solely responsible for claims, and pay PSIA commission for policies sold. Prices, coverages, privacy policies, and PSIA's commission vary among these insurers. How you buy (phone, online, mobile, or independent agent/broker) determines which insurers are available to you. Click here for a list of the insurers or contact us for more information about PSIA's commission. Discounts not available in all states and situations.

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When building your insurance policy, companies will offer discounts on your premium if you take measures that make you a lower-risk investment. For example, many companies give you a break for taking certain safety measures, like installing deadbolts or a security system. Most will knock their prices even lower if you don’t have a long claims history or if you sign up for auto-pay. We took into account the number and type of discounts offered to help maximize your chance at an affordable policy. 

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The insurance agents at Boomer Benefits work full-time on Medicare-related insurance products. That means our agents are not distracted by trying to sell other specialty forms of insurance. Because of this, we feel confident that our staff members are among the most well-educated Medicare insurance brokers around. We are hands-down the best Medigap insurance broker that we can be.

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Example (Comprehensive): You park your car outside during a major hailstorm, and it's totaled. If you have comprehensive, we'll pay out for the full value of your car (minus your deductible amount). Example (Collision): You back out of your garage, hit your basketball hoop, and cause $2,000 worth of damage to your vehicle. If you have collision, we'll then pay for your repairs (minus your deductible amount).
USAA only serves members of the U.S. military (both current and former) and their families. That means the majority of Americans won’t be able to buy USAA insurance — which is the only reason it’s at the bottom of our list. In all other regards, USAA holds its own. We highly recommend that anyone with a military affiliation request a USAA quote for their homeowners insurance.

Coverage for your stuff and temporary relocations are generally based on a percentage of your property's coverage limits. Standard policies usually cover personal belongings at about 50% of your dwelling limit and loss-of-use at about 20%, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. You might need more coverage if you have pricey possessions.


Analysis: You’ll likely get better services from outside specialists, but that’s not the overriding factor here. The real problem is that tying services to insurance products makes it disruptive for you to leave your broker. The products and services should be unbundled so that there’s real competition for the big-ticket item: the insurance itself.
A broker can also give you the satisfaction knowing that you are adequately insured against all potential liabilities. Whether you are concerned about your company being sued for selling a defective product or about what would happen if you had a fire at your house, an insurance broker can address each of these issues and can build a comprehensive insurance plan to make sure that each and every one of your liabilities concerns is addressed.

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You can add optional coverage to your homeowners insurance policy, but you can also purchase separate insurance policies that offer more protection. Flood protection is not included in most home insurance policies, so to help protect your home against floods, you'll likely need to purchase flood insurance. You can also get liability protection beyond your current home and auto policy limits with personal umbrella insurance.

Medicare Brokers like Boomer Benefits also often provide simple and easy education to you about how Medicare works. Every year, thousands of Medicare beneficiaries feel frustrated after trying to read the Medicare handbook. At Boomer Benefits, we will educate you by breaking Medicare down into pieces that are easier to understand. This is why we are so well known as the baby boomer’s favorite insurance agency.

Insurance brokerage is largely associated with general insurance (car, house etc.) rather than life insurance, although some brokers continued to provide investment and life insurance brokerage until the onset of new regulation in 2001. This drove a more transparent regime, based predominantly on upfront negotiation of a fee for the provision of advice and/or services. This saw the splitting of intermediaries into two groups: general insurance intermediaries/brokers and independent financial advisers (IFAs) for life insurance, investments and pensions.
While many factors go into calculating your rate, where you live is chief among them. Homeowners in states that are prone to hurricanes, hail storms, tornados and earthquakes tend to pay the most for home insurance. Insurance.com’s analysis of rates from top insurers for nearly every ZIP code in the country bears this out. Florida and Louisiana are the most expensive states for home insurance among six common coverage levels analyzed by Insurance.com. The least expensive states for home insurance are Hawaii and Vermont
Although insurance brokers work for their clients, they aren’t paid by them. Instead, they make commissions based on their sales. The commission is a percentage of the premium cost and varies by state law. It usually is between two and eight percent of the premium. If you work with a broker to buy homeowners, automobile, health, business, life or any other type of insurance, you will not pay them a fee for the services they provide.
Your home's claims history -- The claims history includes both your filed claims and ones that previous owners filed. If you file more than one claim in a 10-year period, you can expect your insurance rates to increase. They'll increase even more if you file more home claims. That could even cause your insurance company to drop you because you're considered too much of a risk.
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Example (Comprehensive): You park your car outside during a major hailstorm, and it's totaled. If you have comprehensive, we'll pay out for the full value of your car (minus your deductible amount). Example (Collision): You back out of your garage, hit your basketball hoop, and cause $2,000 worth of damage to your vehicle. If you have collision, we'll then pay for your repairs (minus your deductible amount).
You will find independent insurance agents represent many of the same insurance companies offered by local insurance agents.  The biggest benefit is the time savings individuals and business will find.  Because the selection of insurance companies for personal, commercial and life insurance is so comprehensive you don't have to contact several agents for quotes.  An independent insurance agent may represent 5 to 10 insurance companies. 
Though not an absolute separation; an insurance agent is an insurance company's representative by way of agent-principal legal custom. The agent's primary alliance is with the insurance carrier, not the insurance buyer. In contrast, an insurance broker represents the insured, generally has no contractual agreements with insurance carriers, and relies on common or direct methods of perfecting business transactions with insurance carriers. This can have a significant beneficial impact on insurance negotiations obtained through a broker (vs. those obtained from an agent).
Insurance brokerage is largely associated with general insurance (car, house etc.) rather than life insurance, although some brokers continued to provide investment and life insurance brokerage until the onset of new regulation in 2001. This drove a more transparent regime, based predominantly on upfront negotiation of a fee for the provision of advice and/or services. This saw the splitting of intermediaries into two groups: general insurance intermediaries/brokers and independent financial advisers (IFAs) for life insurance, investments and pensions.

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