Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Nov 6, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • It is important to understand many of the aspects associated with car insurance
  • There are many terms to know, such as deductible, limits, collision, liability, and personal injury protection
  • One place to learn about coverage is through the Insurance Information Institute’s website

The right policy will be different for each driver and an agent can ensure that you get the right amount of coverage for your needs. This can be tricky as there are a lot of different things to consider.

Although you can find insurance online on your own, using an agent is usually a much better way to go and it is free to use one.

There are many factors that go into choosing the right agent for your insurance needs, so it is important to understand what you need to do and look for.

Do a thorough search for car insurance rates by entering your zip code above in the FREE quote box!

Understand Car Insurance

First and foremost, it is important to understand many of the aspects associated with car insurance. There are many terms to know, such as deductible, limits, collision, liability, and personal injury protection.

Although your agent can help you understand these, you will save a lot of time if you are armed with much of this information ahead of time.

One place to learn about coverage is through the Insurance Information Institute’s website. It helps answer a lot of questions about multiple things in regards to auto insurance.

This includes helping you understand what type and how much insurance you may need, although this is one of the benefits of working with an agent.

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In order to sell car insurance, an agent needs to be licensed. This license is obtained from the state in which he or she wants to sell policies.

Each company that sells car insurance also needs to be licensed and not all companies are licensed in every state.

Make sure that the agent you are working with are licensed in your state.

An agent that is licensed in your state will also fully understand the minimum insurance requirements that your state calls for.

To find the website for your specific state’s insurance department, you can use the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s website.

Finding an Agent Online

There are a number of ways to find a car insurance agent and online is one of them.

If you know which insurance company you want to use, go to its particular website and then to the tab that says ‘Find an Agent.’

You will be able to enter your zip code so you can be directed to an agent in your neighborhood.

If you do not have a certain provider from which you want to purchase insurance, you can just do a general search online for insurance.

Once you have entered information about your driving habits, your vehicle, and your contact information, you will be contacted by a number of agents who can help you narrow your search down to one particular policy.

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Finding an Agent through a Referral

One of the best ways to find an agent is through a referral. Your family members or friends may have a favorite agent that they use for their insurance needs and it may save you time by just using them as well.

This way you already trust that they will do a good job.

You may also find an agent by seeing what other drivers think about their current insurance provider. J. D. Power and Associates publish ratings based on consumer opinions.

On the website, you can choose which company rates the highest in regards to what is important to you.

This may be the company’s pricing, its claims process, its customer service, which policies it offers, or its billing and payment policies.

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Research the Insurance Company

Once you have found the right insurance agent for your specific needs, you want to make sure to research the company for which the agent works.

One place to check up on the car insurance company is through your state insurance department.

If any complaints have been made against the company, you will be able to find out about the nature of the complaints.

You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for anything negative about the insurance company.

Besides complaints, you should also look into the financial health of the company.

Companies such as Moody’s and A.M. Best rate insurance companies based on their financial stability.

These ratings reflect what the chances are that the company will be able to meet its financial commitments, including ongoing claims.

An insurance company that has an “A” rating or higher, such as “A+” or “A++”, would be a good choice.

It is worth paying a bit extra for your insurance premiums in order to be covered by a financially stable company.

What to Look for in an Agent

Finding the right agent can be very personal and the criteria will be different for each driver.

You may want a more hands-on agent who communicates with you frequently, or you may prefer one who only checks up on you periodically.

Some agents work out of an office with many other insurance agents, while others work more independently out of their own offices.

Look for an agent who communicates well with you and listens to your needs.

The right agent will genuinely look at your situation and recommend the right policy for you. The right policy is not necessarily a full coverage one or the most expensive.

A good agent should be receptive to your needs and respond to your inquiries in a timely manner.

As your life changes, so do your car insurance needs. At times you may need to get more coverage and other times you may be able to decrease some of it.

How to Change Agents

If you are unhappy or dissatisfied with your car insurance agent, you are not stuck with them.

It is smarter to look for a new agent than to continue to work with one who doesn’t meet your needs or seems to be absent.

Identify what the qualities or reasons are that you are not satisfied with your current agent and start searching for one who will meet your requirements.

Your new agent may be with the same insurance provider or maybe with a different one.

If the agent works for the same company, it is an easier switch. You keep the same policy and it is a seamless transition.

The new agent will even inform your other agent of the change.

If your new agent works for a different insurance provider, there are a few more steps that you will need to take. One is to make sure that the new company is reputable.

As long as you are happy with the coverage you currently have it will be easy for your new agent to sign you up for the same coverage, deductible, and limits.

If you are unhappy with the agent that you are working with, make sure that you find a new one and have a policy in place before you move on.

It is easy and quick to do an online search for cheap car insurance rates just by entering your zip code in the FREE quote finder box below!