This probably sounds like a silly question, right? Of course you participate in buying your insurance. You’re the one that did the Google search for insurance quotes. You’re the one that clicked all the little buttons to get a quote. You’re the one that hit the “buy now” button to purchase the policy. And you’re the one that printed out the auto ID cards and stuffed them in the glove compartment of your car.
If that’s not participating in the insurance buying process then what is?
A Little Truth
Not to be rude, but with minimal training, a primate could have purchased that auto insurance policy and a well trained squirrel could have put the auto ID cards in your glove box. You may have bought insurance but you didn’t participate in the insurance buying process.
It’s likely that you didn’t take the time to review your own insurance needs. It’s very likely that you didn’t take the time to research the coverage that allows you to address your needs. Its very, very likely you didn’t take the time to have a licensed professional review the insurance carriers within your geographical market that supply the insurance products to meet your needs.
I’m also pretty sure you didn’t take the time to receive competitive quote offers from multiple insurance carriers. And you most certainly didn’t take the time to create a detailed personal insurance program adequate to fulfill your future insurance needs.
It’s Your Life… Be an Active Participant
Unless you are offensively naive, I’m assuming you have at least some conceptual idea that bad things happen no matter how careful you are. Insurance is designed to take the financial stress out of the terrible things that may happen to you.
This is really important stuff. This is your life.
Sticking your head in the sand and hoping bad things won’t happen is no way to live. Be a participant in your own life.
As apocalyptic as this may sound, participating includes purchasing insurance – auto, home, life, disability, etc. It also includes planning for your retirement, shopping for better interest rates on car loans and personal debt and educating yourself.
Doing something, just to get it done, never yields the most positive result.
This goes double for your business insurance, so general liability and workers compensation to name a few. Before you just plow through your next insurance renewal take a deep breath and put some thought into what you are purchasing.
To be more specific, go online and search for or ask a friend for the name of local independent insurance agent.
An independent insurance agent is going to be able to walk you through the process of properly insuring your business step-by-step. You will still make all the decisions but an experienced independent insurance agent will guide and educate you on where you might have gaps in coverage.
Simply clicking through some buttons and purchasing a policy may seem quick and easy… but when you have a claim, quick and easy is the last thing you’re going to care about when it comes to coverage and getting your business running again.
Be present. Participate in the insurance buying process. I promise you’ll be happier in the long run.
Insurance Photo via Shutterstock
Honestly Ryan, even if I reach out to an independent insurance agent to find the perfect auto insurance for my needs, how different will it be from the policy my trained primate purchased for me and my trained squirrel put in my glove box?
The inherent issue I have with the aforementioned independent insurance agent is that he or she is a salesperson. Their livelihood depends on the commission they receive from selling insurance. This causes me to doubt the motivation behind their recommendations. Add in the fact that buying direct from an insurance company through their website reduces costs (the sales commission) and I can probably get a lower rate on the same insurance.
I agree that people should be informed, but getting a “pretty good” insurance in place quickly is good enough for many situations.
Your perception of personal insurance and how it is purchased shared by a significant amount people within the US population.
One inherently incorrect statement is that purchasing direct through a website somehow costs less than through an independent agent.
That is statistically untrue and has been my experience in the five plus years I’ve been selling home and auto insurance. What a direct writer may gain in commission they lose heavily in advertising cost…
The second point you bring up is that I’m a salesman… True I am… However the compensation structure of insurance agents is such that we actually take a loss in first year or two that you are our client. Only by doing a great job of covering and servicing your insurance needs to we ultimately make a profit in years 3, 4, 5… So It’s in our best interest to look out for your best interest and ensure that you happy year after year.
Third… When it comes to “pretty good” coverage. Have you ever been in a serious accident? I just had a 35 year old client rear-end someone at ~ 30mph and the insurance paid out $200k.
That’s $200,000… We had put $500,000 in place for him. Would you have purchasing $500,000 in coverage? He wouldn’t have… I remember the debate we had over the issue at the time of purchase.
It was my understanding of claims and cost of claims that eventually convinced him that $500k was prudent. Now other than a traumatic experience his life rolls on.
He had purchased $50,000… That’s $50k from a direct writer before doing business with me…
That means he would have been on the hook for $150,000…
And don’t think if you don’t own anything that you aren’t going to have to pay that money. Insurance companies and lawyers will come after your savings and garnish every dollar you make the rest of your life until that debt is paid.
So “Pretty Good” is NOT good enough…
Just my thoughts doing this everyday and seeing what happens to people’s lives.
What in the world cost $200K from a rear-end collision? Did he hit a Ferrari?
No… the damage was in bodily injury to the driver. The impact whipped the driver’s neck and even though they were wearing a seat belt there was spinal damage and big, big hospital bills.
It was tragic actually.
Ryan, I couldn’t agree more with your point. In addition to protecting the insured (because they were involved in getting the details right and their preferences heard), having the agent and insured sit down also protects the agent. It’s better for everyone to meet in person to make sure the coverage, the deductible, and the extra coverages (rental/towing etc…) are to the insureds liking.
Sitting down with the insured is always the best way to do business. But however it happens, the importance is on conversation around potential gaps in coverage… It’s that discussion that ultimately helps weed out the coverages that are necessary…