There are generally THREE TYPES of insurance agents or companies you will encounter as you shop and compare your auto, homeowner, life and business insurance.
1)The first type is the Arizona Insurance Broker
Choice Insurance of Arizona is an Arizona insurance broker, which means we are able to offer insurance through a variety of carriers. We are licensed to sell insurance through highly respected insurance companies like Progressive, MetLife, The Hartford, AAA, Fidelity, Badger Mutual, American Strategic, Infinity and more.
Every carrier has different rates. It is our job as your Arizona insurance broker to research the auto and homeowner insurance rates of our carriers to determine if they can save you money. During this process we can also can help you evaluate the level of coverage that you want or need.
An Arizona insurance broker we can work closely with you to help determine the carrier that offers you the better rate. Once we run our quotes we get back to you with the name of the carrier and the rate.
It is important to understand that you do not pay any more premium by using an insurance broker than buying insurance through other methods. We are compensated in much the same way as other types of agents.
2) The second type is the Captive Agent
Captive insurance agents are restricted to one carrier and their affiliates. For you, that means a captive agent usually has fewer options for you. They cannot shop and compare rates with a large variety of carriers (in most cases) like an insurance broker.
State Farm would be an example of a captive carrier. They may have affiliates but their agents are limited to only writing insurance through State Farm or their affiliates, to our knowledge.
Because captive agents are restricted to just their one carrier and affiliates, these types of insurance companies tend to spend alot of money on advertising to capture name recognition. Many of the insurance carriers on television are captive carriers. And everyone knows that advertising works but it does not necessarily make this the best way to shop and buy insurance.
If you obtain an auto or homeowner insurance quote through a captive carrier it is important that you also utilize an Arizona insurance broker to ensure you are receiving more than one quote comparison.
3) The third type is the Direct Writer
The direct writer type of carrier is expected to become more commonplace. The best example of a direct writer is Geico. They do not hire outside agents, to our knowledge. They do not set up offices around town like other insurance agents and companies. Direct writers ask consumers to call a 1-800 phone number or apply for insurance via a website. They offer insurance usually only over the internet or phone.
With the advent of the internet consumers are becoming more accepting of buying insurance over the phone or computer. Direct writers have grown in size over the past ten years for this reason.
The downside for you – no one is shopping and comparing rates on your behalf with other carriers to help determine if a lower rate exists for you elsewhere.
In my experience the risk to buying insurance through a direct writer is the loss of personal advice and counsel an experienced Arizona insurance broker can offer you. When buying insurance, the same philosophy holds true with direct writers – always compare rates with an Arizona insurance broker to ensure you are receiving a comparison with a broad range of companies.
It is possible to save money with any three methods of buying insurance. Our primary adivce is that if you obtain a quote through a captive agent or direct writer at least get a quote from an Arizona insurance broker like Choice Insurance of Arizona as well to ensure your insurance is being compared to more than just one carrier. There is no obligation and we will work hard and fast to get you the best quote we can.
Gary Brown, Agent/Owner