Virtually every state mandates that insurance agents and brokers meet licensing requirements, which normally entails the successful completion of a written examination. Prelicensing educational requirements may also apply, which can vary depending on the state and license type. Separate licenses are necessary for each line of insurance, including Life and Health and Property and Casualty. In addition, agents and brokers may have to meet ongoing continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.
After insurance has been selected and purchased, most insurance brokers will continue to provide service to their clients. This includes advising clients on technical issues that may be helpful in the event that a client has to file a claim, helping clients decide if they should change their insurance policies or coverage, and even making sure that clients comply with their policy’s requirements.

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Some insurance agents, such as independent agents, will compare policies from multiple vendors. However, this does not mean that the agent has access to all of the vendor’s policies. As insurance agents represent insurers, they may or may not have the experience and expertise required to advise you regarding the best policy for your particular situation. While independent insurance agents may be able to offer you more choices as they work with companies that are competing for your business, they generally only sell the insurance options that will provide them with the biggest profits. Keep this in mind when choosing between an insurance broker and insurance agent.

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Agents only need to know the products of one company, which can simplify the learning curve. This can also make it easier to keep policyholders abreast of policy changes and provide better service in general after the policy is sold, helping to foster a closer ongoing relationship. Because brokers must know the products and services offered by numerous companies, staying current and providing clients with reliable product knowledge can prove challenging.

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Contingent or incentive commissions reward agents and brokers for achieving volume, profitability, growth or retention goals established by the insurer. For example, Elite Insurance promises to pay the Jones Agency an extra 3 percent commission if Jones writes $10 million in new property policies within a certain time frame. If Jones renews 90 percent of those policies when they expire, Elite will pay Jones an addition 2 percent commission.

Amica offers nearly as many discounts as Allstate, with exclusive discounts for being a long-time customer and for opting into e-bill pay. Essentially, by doing less (mailing bills and switching providers), you’ll save money with Amica. However, Amica comes up a little short on discounts for new and renovated homes — you’ll want to turn to Allstate for price breaks on those.
I read the comments about the topic of my article and I see that some responses touch on the "middleman" in ways that suggest some things about those who reside "in the middle." One plus for us "middle" people is that we get to hear things from carriers that those on the retail buying end may not ever hear. Sometimes, when dealing with us "middle" people, you get a behind the scenes look at things that may have a bearing on your coverage. With life insurance through a broker vs an agent, you get to know that impaired risk underwriting (for unhealthy applicants) has a particular kind of nuance. For instance, carriers may decline your application because they take on a set number of impaired risk clients, and then they decline those coming after that. You might think, after being declined, that what they are telling you is "you are done, no life insurance for you." But, what I know from experience is that another carrier or two have not hit the limit yet on declines - and that might be the avenue of approach to get you approved. As a broker, I know things that apply across a broad spectrum of carriers, not just the playbook of one carrier. As a result, the market intelligence of this "middleman" can improve the experience of buyers by finding a way forward for them that is outside the boundary of what a retail buyer might ever know. One thing that I did not mention in the article is that I have been both a captive and a broker, and the experience allows me to see the pluses and minuses in both. Thank you for your responses, and if you have a question about insurance of any type (my specialties are life, Health, Disability, and Annuities) you may post it at MoneyTips.com and let the professional community respond to it. It's free, harmless, informative, relatively instant, and a bunch of other good things, too.
If you own a car, car insurance is a required expense in 48 of the 50 states. A lack of diligence when shopping for your car insurance could lead to a hefty monthly bill, as well as headaches if you actually need to file a claim. We researched and explored quotes from over 128 companies in 2,700 cities to determine which insurers had the lowest costs, nationally and in each state. Our team also evaluated which companies had the best track record for customer service and the claims process.

Many home and auto insurance companies offer discounts if you purchase more than one policy. For example, Allstate advertises bundling deals up to 30% and State Farm up to 17%. But in reality, multi-policy discounts vary from person to person. Instead of taking your provider’s bundling discount at face value, be sure to compare quotes from multiple home and auto insurance companies. You may save more by insuring your home and car with separate, cheaper providers than by bundling them with one.
Alternatively, you could purchase a whole life policy that will not only pay that policy face value if you should die before your children are through college, but would accrue a cash value that would provide additional benefits to your family or a growing fund of emergency money. You could also consider converting portions of your term life policy over to whole life insurance over time to build a cash portfolio for your retirement as you age.
Simply put, there are six main categories that homeowners insurance covers: your dwelling, other structures, personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments. Within each category are particular coverages and exclusions. For example, water damage is covered under “dwelling” as a result of burst pipes or water heater but not as a result of heavy rainfall or flooding (though coverage for the latter can be added separately). And while water damage from the burst pipe is covered, your policy won’t cover the cost of replacing those pipes.

6. You may well need more coverage than you think. Sometimes people think life insurance is to pay off their own debts and funeral expenses. But a key advantage of having life insurance is to ensure that the people who depend on you will be OK with their ongoing and future financial needs if something happens to you. Need help figuring this out how much? Go to this online calculator: www.lifehappens.org/howmuch.

‡‡ Some benefits, such as the Disappearing Property Deductible, are only available with the optional Advantage Plus package. A policy without these added benefits is also available. To qualify for the Disappearing Property Deductible, homeowners must have no claims or losses for three consecutive years in most states. The Advantage Plus package option and the Disappearing Property Deductible benefit are not available in all states.
Reimbursement for Replacing Locks – Losing a key to your front door can be a hassle. For example, if you don’t have a spare, you’ll need to get an entirely new lock for the door. If that key is stolen, you may want to get new locks for all your doors. This coverage pays up to $500 to replace locks, with a $100 deductible, if a key is lost or stolen.
Sure. The liability portion of your homeowners insurance kicks in if someone is accidentally injured on or around your property. Say they slip on an icy sidewalk or your dog bites them. So long as there are no exclusions (which is possible, particularly with certain dog breeds), liability insurance will pay for that person's medical expenses and any court costs you incur if they sue. Liability insurance also covers property damage caused unintentionally by you or your family members, like if your kid breaks a neighbor's window while playing catch in your yard.

We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.

By raising the amount you’ll pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in, you’ll lower your premiums (monthly/yearly payments). You can save as much as 25% by raising your deductible to $1,000. This can be a risky choice, though, and should be considered carefully — it’s important that you don’t raise your deductible so high that you can’t afford to pay it when something goes wrong. If you live in a disaster-prone area or have trouble saving, keeping a low deductible and investing in protection on a monthly basis is the safer choice.

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Brokers - Because a broker is solely focused on your unique needs, he or she can help with comparison-shopping, honing in on the best prices for the coverage you need. They can even advise you on how to best bundle or customize your policies in ways that agents might not be able to do (either because they are restricted in their policy offerings, or simply because they lack the insight into your specific needs).
6. You may well need more coverage than you think. Sometimes people think life insurance is to pay off their own debts and funeral expenses. But a key advantage of having life insurance is to ensure that the people who depend on you will be OK with their ongoing and future financial needs if something happens to you. Need help figuring this out how much? Go to this online calculator: www.lifehappens.org/howmuch.
Erie is the cheapest insurance company, and arguably the most reliable insurance company as well. They score points by allowing customers to start their quote online, which we personally found to be a streamlined and fast process. Erie also scored the highest marks from the number of policies they offer. Erie offers pet coverage, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, roadside assistance, and many more, essentially giving its customers a degree of flexibility not even found amongst the largest insurers. Customers of Erie may also be eligible for its Rate Lock program. This is a unique program where customers won't see their rates increase except for three reasons: you move to a different area, add or remove someone from your policy, or add or subtract a car. Lastly, despite its smaller size, Erie offers the same types of discounts larger national insurers provide such as bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver and senior driver among others.
Coverage varies greatly among regions, homes, and asset portfolios. If you and your neighbor called all the same providers asking for quotes, there’s a good chance the lowest option for you would come from a different provider than the lowest option for them. There’s no universally cheaper carrier. For some context, premiums can range in price anywhere from $500 to $2,000.
Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.
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.
Insurance, coverage and discounts are subject to terms and conditions, which may vary by state. Exclusions may apply. Discount amounts and total savings will vary. Policy issuance is subject to qualifications. Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, Allstate Fire and Casualty Insurance Company, Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company, Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL. © 2018 Allstate Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL.
We catalogued optional coverage additions that can fill gaps in your policy or cater to specific disaster-prone regions. Earthquakes, for example, aren’t covered in a standard policy, but for those living near fault lines, an endorsement that will cover damage resulting from an earthquake is wise. It’s important that insurance companies offer a variety of useful endorsements to help create a policy tailored to your home’s true risks.
This is so true, and even more so for personal insurance such as auto, home, and life. Everyone should be aware that unlike your financial advisor (who is heavily regulated) your insurance broker has NO fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest. What I find amazing about this contradiction is that a large percentage of families in this county likely send more annually on insurance products than put into savings and retirement accounts.
Progressive Home Advantage® policies are placed through Progressive Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. with insurers affiliated with Progressive and with unaffiliated insurers. Each insurer is solely responsible for the claims on its policies and pays PSIA for policies sold. Prices, coverages and privacy policies vary among these insurers, who may share information about you with us. PSIA’s compensation from these insurers may vary between the insurers and based on the policy you buy, sales volume and/or profitability of policies sold. See a list of all the insurers that write Progressive Home Advantage policies, or contact us for more details.
Simply put, there are six main categories that homeowners insurance covers: your dwelling, other structures, personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments. Within each category are particular coverages and exclusions. For example, water damage is covered under “dwelling” as a result of burst pipes or water heater but not as a result of heavy rainfall or flooding (though coverage for the latter can be added separately). And while water damage from the burst pipe is covered, your policy won’t cover the cost of replacing those pipes.
Allstate earns its spot on our list by having the most discounts. Whether you want a price break for bundling, setting up automatic premium payments, or securing your home with burglar alarms and fire extinguishers, you can find a discount from Allstate. Unlike other providers, Allstate also has a “welcome” discount that lasts for your first two years, plus a discount for early shoppers who sign up before their current policy expires.
Any death benefit of the policy will not be payable if the named insured commits suicide or if anyone covered by additional riders commits suicide, while sane or insane, within two years from the policy or rider effective date. All premiums paid will be refunded, less any indebtedness. The following information only applies to the Accelerated Death Payment, Waiver of Premium Benefit Rider, and Accidental-Death Benefit Rider:

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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.

Life insurance can be very confusing. What is term life insurance? What is whole life insurance? How can you get the information you need and make the right decision about life insurance for you and your family or other beneficiaries? We’ll provide an overview of these two popular types of life insurance so you can get an idea of what might be a good fit for you. Find out more by contacting an insurance agent in your area.
It's difficult to apply a rule of thumb because the amount of life insurance you need depends on factors such as your other sources of income, how many dependents you have, your debts, and your lifestyle. However, a general guideline you may find useful is to obtain a policy that would be worth between five and 10 times your annual salary in the event of your death. Beyond that guideline, you may want to consider consulting a financial planning professional to determine how much coverage to obtain.

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Deciding whether to purchase whole life or term life insurance is a personal decision that should be based on the financial needs of your beneficiaries as well as your financial goals. Life insurance can be a very flexible and powerful financial vehicle that can meet multiple financial objectives, from providing financial security to building financial assets and leaving a legacy.
In the same vein of guaranteeing robust policies, we also wanted to see a range of endorsements (optional provisions that extend coverage in various ways). The more endorsements offered, the greater the possibility of filling in any gaps that your home and location demand. Earthquake coverage, for example, is a common endorsement for Los Angeles homes.

Purchasing homeowners insurance may feel like a necessary evil — yes, it’s another bill, but it does protect your most valuable asset in the event of calamity. To find the best cheap homeowners insurance, we balanced the craving for low premiums with the need for customer service, ample coverage, and financial stability. Our favorite home insurance companies offer abundant discounts to slash prices without slashing protection. To find the best — and cheapest — for you, we recommend gathering quotes from all five.
When shopping for insurance, there are several key things that customers look at, including cost, speed, ease, security of personal data, and peace of mind that all essentials are covered. Working with an insurance broker can help get you the insurance you need at the best price. Brokers deal with a wide range of products and services and have the qualifications needed to recommend the policies that best suit your needs. As most brokers work for smaller companies that represent big insurance companies, the service is typically more personalized, meaning better quality support.
When shopping for insurance, there are several key things that customers look at, including cost, speed, ease, security of personal data, and peace of mind that all essentials are covered. Working with an insurance broker can help get you the insurance you need at the best price. Brokers deal with a wide range of products and services and have the qualifications needed to recommend the policies that best suit your needs. As most brokers work for smaller companies that represent big insurance companies, the service is typically more personalized, meaning better quality support.
Insurance is offered by Safeco Insurance Company of America and/or its affiliates, with their principal place of business at 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts, 02116. This website provides a simplified description of coverage. Nothing stated herein creates a contract. All statements made are subject to the provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. Please refer to actual policy forms for complete details regarding the coverage discussed. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails. Coverages and features not available in all states. Eligibility is subject to meeting applicable underwriting criteria.

Virtually every state mandates that insurance agents and brokers meet licensing requirements, which normally entails the successful completion of a written examination. Prelicensing educational requirements may also apply, which can vary depending on the state and license type. Separate licenses are necessary for each line of insurance, including Life and Health and Property and Casualty. In addition, agents and brokers may have to meet ongoing continuing education requirements to maintain their licenses.

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