Find An Agent

Choosing a Homeowners Insurance Agent: Key Things to Know

When choosing homeowners insurance, it’s important to know whether an independent agent or company agent is the best fit for your needs. Independent and company agents are invaluable resources when looking for homeowners insurance but both come with pros and cons.
When choosing homeowners insurance, it’s important to know whether an independent agent or company agent is the best fit for your needs. Independent and company agents are invaluable resources when looking for homeowners insurance but both come with pros and cons.

Finding quality and affordable homeowners insurance can be a tedious and time-consuming task — one that is best accomplished by relying on the experience of homeowners insurance agents. It’s important to find an insurance agent that is trustworthy and knowledgeable as their experience will prove invaluable when purchasing a policy that provides coverage most applicable to your largest investment — your home. Read on to find out which type of homeowners insurance agent is best for you and your house.

Independent Agents

Who they are:

Independent agents work for themselves. They are not tied to a particular insurance company but instead are able to access a wide variety of carriers. This agent works hard to build solid, lasting relationships with clients as they are the CEO, Producer, and Account Manager for their company.

What they do:

Independent agents will first assess your home to determine what the risk entails. Location, construction material, the age of the house, etc. all factor into determining what kind of homeowners insurance is right for you. The independent agent is usually experienced in insuring a variety of homes throughout their professional career.

The agent will reach out to carriers directly and request a quote based on the information you gave them about your home. An independent agent is able to request quotes from a variety of companies, compare pricing and coverage, and talk you through the best carrier to choose.

After the policy is bound, you and your agent might meet every year to review the policy, and look for new coverages based upon home improvements, additions, or acquisitions of new property, like a vacation or rental home.

Pros:

An independent agent has access to a variety of insurance companies, which often allows them to shop around for the best price and most comprehensive coverage. If the risk changes and your current policy doesn’t extend coverage to the new or changed risk, there’s no need to change agents. Your independent agent can simply look for a different company that will insure said risk.

Overtime, your agent will learn more about you, your family, and your home. As the personal relationship grows, the agent will be sensitive to your personal needs. If you’ve recently suffered a family emergency, a drop in credit score or are financially burdened, your agent can take that into consideration and will help you get a more affordable policy.

Cons:

Since the independent agent is not working for a specific company, they often have to go through external channels to get information related to claims, billing, and changes on your policy. Some independent agents won’t file a claim of your behalf but require that you call the issuing company directly.

While independent agents can shop around on pricing, some carriers will only sell through their company agents. Independent agents simply cannot bind insurance through certain companies.

Company Agents

Who they are:

Company Agents work for one specific insurance company. They have direct access to this company’s homeowners insurance policies and are extremely knowledgeable about the types of coverages available through this insurer.

What they do:

Like the independent agent, they will also take time assessing your risk based on information you provided and rely on their knowledge and expertise to provide an affordable yet comprehensive homeowners insurance policy. They may be quicker to provide quotes as they are familiar with the types of risks their company will write.

Since they have access to a limited number of policies, they are also incredibly well versed in the coverage that their company can offer. This agent relies on the tools and resources of the insurance company to offer homeowners the best deal with the most applicable coverage.

Pros:

Depending on the underwriting criteria of the agent’s insurance company, you may be offered better pricing. If your home meets or exceeds their underwriting guidelines, that agent might be able to offer you a lower premium than an independent agent, who simply doesn’t have access to this market.

Since this agent works directly for and with the insurer, claims reporting and management are often easier through a company agent. The agent can often warrant quicker responses from their claims department and can provide advice, insight, and answers directly to the claims adjustor, saving you the time and energy it takes dealing with the claims department.

Cons:

Since this agent is tied to the company, they can’t take you with them if they decide to work for a new insurance company. Your homeowner's insurance policy is with the issuing company, not the company agent.

Pricing is less competitive as the company agent can only provide quotes on that insurance company’s policies. If the company’s appetite changes and they no longer wish to insure rural risks on the high plains or wood framed houses, than you will have to find a new agent and company, instead of just a new company.

Seeking out an independent or company homeowners insurance agent doesn’t have to be left to countless google searches or faded bus bench advertisements. Clever Partner Agents have vast networks that include experienced independent and company homeowners insurance agents. He or she will be better able to recommend an agent based on your home’s needs. Don’t wait, call Clever today.

SHARE

Ben Mizes

Ben Mizes is the co-founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save thousands on commission. He's an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis and a licensed agent in Missouri. Ben enjoys writing about real estate, investing, personal finance, and financial freedom. He's a serial entrepreneur, having run several successful startups before Clever Real Estate. Ben's writing has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Realtor News, CNBC, and BiggerPockets.

See all Ben's Posts
WHAT'S NEXT

Find Your Dream Home With A Top Agent And Save Thousands

Learn how you could save thousands when you buy a home with Clever!