You have likely come across brokerage firms when shopping for insurance. Many buyers prefer working with these firms as most have established track records with staff that offer the experiences and resources you need to make an informed decision. With a brokerage firm available to guide you and answer all of your questions, you can gain a solid understanding of what terms and rates are being offered by various insurers. Of course, not all insurance brokers offer the same level of quality. Just like shopping for insurance, it is important to shop around to find an insurance broker who you can trust.
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Your homeowners insurance discounts -- Insurance companies offer dozens of discounts. Three of the largest discounts are bundling your home with other types of insurance, such as auto; loyalty, which is staying with an insurance company for at least a few years; and being claims free for a period of time. Note: Insurers usually have a cap on the percentage of discounts you can receive. The limit is often set at 25 percent.
Don't forget to ask about the optional protection of a personal umbrella liability policy. Umbrella Coverage from $1,000,000 for individuals wanting higher liability protection. Most home and auto insurance policies stop at $500,000 liability coverage. A personal umbrella policy provides coverage on top of basic auto and home insurance: $1,000,000 to $10,000,000 available.

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When it comes to online resources, don’t expect much information or assistance from MetLife. Its website is barebones, with nothing more than a seven-question FAQ and landing page. Also, only people in 10 states have the option to get a quote online. For those who like to do extensive research online before making a call to a sales person, MetLife won’t have the online presence to satisfy a purchasing decision.
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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Life insurance policies often have hidden costs, such as fees and large commissions, that you may not find out about until after you purchase the policy. There are so many different kinds of life insurance, and so many companies that offer these policies, that you should use a fee-only insurance adviser who, for a fixed fee, will research the various policies available to you and recommend the one that best suits your needs. To ensure objectivity, your adviser should not be affiliated with any particular insurance company and should not receive a commission from any policy.
When a mortgage is requested on a home, the homeowner is required to provide proof of insurance on the property before the lending bank can issue him or her a mortgage. The property insurance can be acquired separately or by the lending bank. Homeowners who prefer to get their own insurance policy can compare multiple offers and pick the plan that works best for their needs. If the homeowner does not have their property covered from loss or damages, the bank may obtain one for them at an extra cost. Payments made toward a homeowners insurance policy are usually included in the monthly payments of the homeowner’s mortgage. The lending bank that receives the payment allocates the portion for insurance coverage to an escrow account. Once the insurance bill comes due, the amount owed is settled from this escrow account.
The Hartford is the only home insurance provider officially endorsed by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). If you’re an AARP member, you’ll qualify for more benefits thanks to its AARP Home and Auto Insurance Program. But even if you aren’t retired yet, you will be someday, and The Hartford has a special discount for retirees and individuals who work less than 24 hours per week.

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Base commission is the “normal” commission earned on insurance policies. Base commission is expressed in terms of a percentage of premium and varies by type of coverage. For instance, an agent might earn say, a 10 percent commission on workers compensation policies and 15 percent on general liability policies. Suppose that you purchase a liability policy from the Elite Insurance Company through the Jones Agency, an independent agent. Jones earns a 15 percent commission on general liability policies.

The cheapest car insurance, period, will likely be the minimum coverage required in your state. In most states this is liability insurance only, which covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause. Some states also require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which pay for your injuries or damage if an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance.

Whether you own a home already or you’re house-hunting, it’s wise to know average home insurance rates for your state so you can anticipate what your expense is when shopping your policy and creating a family budget. Knowing what you can expect to pay also helps you save money when comparing rates because you can more easily flag rates that are above the average home insurance cost for your area.
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.

Policies not available in all states. Suicide, misstatement and misrepresentation restrictions may apply. All applications for insurance are subject to underwriting qualification by the specific insurance company to which the application is submitted. Availability of premium rates and policy forms may be changed by each insurer without prior notice. Florida residents, please review carrier and product details here.

The questions we ask on our site are used only to determine which insurance companies and products best match your unique needs. Each insurance company bases its final prices on its own criteria. To more accurately match you with the best company, product and policy for your needs, we gather some general health, lifestyle, family history, and contact information on our site. A licensed representative will then review your submission and, if necessary, either call or email you to clarify any outstanding issues and provide you with the information you request.


Typically, life insurance is chosen based on the needs and goals of the owner. Term life insurance generally provides protection for a set period of time, while permanent insurance, such as whole and universal life, provides lifetime coverage. It's important to note that death benefits from all types of life insurance are generally income tax-free.1
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State Farm® Life Insurance Company (Not licensed in MA, NY or WI) or State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company (Licensed in NY and WI) can help you find coverage that's right for you and your loved ones. Our life planning videos and calculator can help you understand your options, and figure out how much and what kind is right for you, before getting your life insurance quote.

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Insurance agents typically represent only one insurance company. As a result, they are often referred to as "captive" agents. Insurance brokers represent multiple insurance companies. Thus, brokers are free to offer a wider range of products to their clients. They can search the market and obtain multiple price quotes to fit their clients' budgets. You might say that agents work for the insurance company while brokers work for their clients.
Like any other type of insurance, you're in control of your life insurance policy. You determine how much coverage you need (from $50,000 up to a $1 million policy), how long you need it, who's covered and when you make your payments (called premiums). Usually, you can choose to pay monthly, annually or quarterly for 10, 20, 30 years or over your lifetime to maintain the coverage. When you die, if your policy is still active, the people you've listed on your policy (called your beneficiaries) get paid the death benefit. In most cases, this payment is paid in one lump sum to an individual or family.
Universal life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance designed to provide lifetime coverage. Unlike whole life insurance, universal life insurance policies are flexible and may allow you to raise or lower your premium payment or coverage amounts throughout your lifetime. Additionally, due to its lifetime coverage, universal life typically has higher premium payments than term.

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Please note: USAA is only available to military members and their families. While we cut most companies with limited availability, USAA is still worth listing here. It carries all the standard homeowners coverage and discounts and has stellar ratings to boot. It’s also available in all 50 states. If you’re eligible for USAA coverage, it’s worth your time to learn more about this company and get a quote.
Progressive’s service varies heavily by state. As the company explains, “Insurance through the Progressive Home Advantage program is underwritten by select companies that are not affiliates of Progressive and are solely responsible for claims, including Homesite Group Incorporated, IDS Property Casualty Co., and ASI Lloyds, and their affiliates.” Basically, Progressive isn’t selling its own homeowners insurance, but has partnered with another company (the one that will pay your claim) in order to offer that insurance to its customers. If you’re already a Progressive customer, no need to stray. If you’re considering opening a policy with Progressive, though, be aware that your options for discounts and coverage will vary by state.

Typically, life insurance is chosen based on the needs and goals of the owner. Term life insurance generally provides protection for a set period of time, while permanent insurance, such as whole and universal life, provides lifetime coverage. It's important to note that death benefits from all types of life insurance are generally income tax-free.1


The Business Benefits Group is a full-service agency offering affordable, comprehensive insurance strategies for businesses. Our aim is to protect your assets by providing professional risk-management solutions. Whether you are a new or established business, you need the right type of insurance to protect your interests. When you contact BBG regarding our business insurance services, we will determine the best plan for you according to the needs of your business, the number of staff you have, risks that you may be facing, and similar factors. Call our office today to learn more about how we can protect your business or request a consultation online.
As with most good insurance companies, you can get a quote from State Farm online. But State Farm’s process involves extra-detailed questions about the construction of your home, down to the percentage of carpet-covered floors and the number of corners in your home’s framing. We recommend arming yourself with floor plans, your insurance history, a home inventory, and specific details of your home’s construction so there won’t be any surprises when it's time to sign a policy contract. The upside is that all of these details provide you with an accurate quote and an exceptionally well-fitted policy.

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When you start your search, you can pick an independent agent or a captive (or direct) agent. An independent agent may sell policies from many different companies. A captive agent sells insurance for only one company. Independent and captive agents represent insurance companies and receive a commission from the insurance company for the sale of its policies.
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.

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‡‡ 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.
Allstate has the second-largest number of additional endorsement options of all our contenders. Those additional endorsements are fairly low-risk: insurance for expensive sports equipment, musical instruments, or landscaping. Notably absent is additional coverage options for earthquakes and theft of other property (vehicles, trailer, watercraft), but the endorsements it does offer can be valuable if you have expensive hobbies or are putting a lot of money into renovating your home’s curb appeal.

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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.
3This feature is accessible through the accelerated death benefit rider on some life insurance policies. Please see riders for terms, conditions and restrictions. Additional costs may apply. Subject to state-specific terms and availability. A disclosure form must be completed prior to receiving benefits under these riders. An administrative expense may be charged if the benefit is used. Receipt of accelerated benefits may be taxable. Tax laws relating to accelerated benefits are complex. Please consult a tax advisor. Receipt of accelerated benefits may also impact eligibility for public assistance programs.

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How you buy your Progressive Home Advantage policy — directly through us (online, by mobile device or by phone) or through an independent agent/broker rather than PAA — determines which insurers are available to you. Use the link above to get a rate from one of the insurers. Or contact us to see if we can get you a rate from any of the other insurers. Policies sold through agents and brokers are available from them and through Progressive.com/agent.

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Amica consistently ranks among the top homeowners carriers by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, due to its sky-high customer satisfaction with the all-important claims process (settlement, estimation, and repair). This is arguably the most essential element of good customer service in the industry. Amica was the only one of our top providers that received a five out of five in every category from J.D. Power. Amica also received a Consumer Reports reader score of 94 — two points better than USAA, the gold standard in insurance. None of our other finalists came anywhere close. With excellent scores across the board, you can expect timely and helpful interactions with Amica representatives.

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7Variable universal life products are long-term investments designed to provide life insurance protection and flexibility in connection with premium payments and death benefits. You should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of the investment alternatives before purchasing a policy. These policies have limitations and are sold by prospectus only. The prospectus contains details on the investment alternatives, policy features, the underlying portfolios, fees, charges, expenses, and other pertinent information. To obtain a prospectus or a copy of the underlying portfolio prospectuses, please contact Allstate Assurance Company. Please read the prospectuses carefully before purchasing a contract.
Insurance Brokers work the consumer vs. insurance agents who work for the insurance company.  Brokers are very knowledgeable with both personal and commercial insurance. Utilizing state-of-the-art rating software to find the most affordable insurance policies to fit your needs and budget. Insurance Brokers save time, money and energy when shopping for lower cost insurance.
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“Calling around to obtain quotes will take some time, but it is worth it to compare coverage and rates,” says Moore. Unlike auto insurance quotes, homeowners insurance quotes are more accurate when you call. The online tools are attractive because they make it appear easy to compare quotes from multiple carriers at once, but they often oversimplify in their information collection. For instance, you might be eligible for a discount from a certain carrier that wasn’t detailed online, or you might want a specific endorsement it didn’t ask about. Call, go through each carrier’s specific questions, and then you’ll receive quotes that are worth comparing.
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.
1 In Texas, the Auto Program is underwritten by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company through Hartford Fire General Agency. Hartford Fire Insurance Company and its affiliates are not financially responsible for insurance products underwritten and issued by Southern County Mutual Insurance Company. The Home Program is underwritten by Trumbull Insurance Company.

7 This coverage pays for the repair or replacement of appliances, electronics and other home systems after a mechanical or electrical breakdown. Equipment Protection Advantage also provides coverage if you want to make “green” upgrades. It pays up to 125 percent of your cost to replace any covered equipment with items that are similar, but more energy efficient or environmentally friendly.


Analysis: That just means that your incumbent insurer’s underwriter won’t approve that coverage. The broker isn’t willing to do what’s needed to get the deal done, which is shopping the coverage to other insurers — exactly what brokers are supposed to do. It’s clear that this is the case, because on occasions when a second broker appears to bid on your business, you’ll find that suddenly the coverage you wanted becomes available after all.

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Keep in mind, not all insurance companies use agents. You can do business directly with many companies by purchasing coverage online. These policies may be less expensive since the company doesn't have to pay the agent's commission. Regardless of how you buy the policy, make sure the company is licensed in your state, is financially stable and check to see if they have complaints.

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