What is an Independent Agent?

Screen Shot 2018-12-07 at 6.54.19 PMAn independent agent is someone who is representing several insurance companies and can shop around while remaining in-house when making a pricing decision for a customer. Due to this independence, an agent in this capacity is able to make objective decisions when it comes to which policy to choose for their client.

With this choice to choose, the best interest for the client is usually always taken, so for example if your rates go up and you have an independent agent you can shop around for a better rate with many different companies if you want to keep the same amount of coverage. There’s a huge upside to this in if you have a great relationship with your agent, but not with your insurance company due to a botched claim. If that happens you can just get coverage with another company through your trusted agent!pick-and-mix-171342_960_720

Like a candy shop there’s many different options, shouldn’t you be able to choose what you want and who makes it?

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What is a Captive Agent?

 

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Different taco places don’t share cooks!

An insurance agent that only works for one insurance company is a Captive Agent, but they are not literally held captive as their name would imply! They can work for only one of the many insurance companies out there, and will offer plans under their label. Much like a cook from Taco Cabana cannot work at Taco Bell!

Captive agents usually have a very deep understanding of their company’s product offerings, but there’s a downside to this as they cannot help people that do not qualify for their product offerings since they are limited to only what their company offers and their thresholds. But there is an upside to this though, if there is a rate pricing concern a captive agent will be able to work with the customer on price rather than just reducing coverages to achieve this.

Captive agents will also sell products that their company asks them to sell over others,

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They sometimes have quotas!

so they do have quotas and due to this it causes them to push certain products only to meet their numbers—not just because it was in your best interest. So it becomes a question as to if this staying with one provider is an important factor to you, and if you accept both sides of that coin!

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Save Time When It Isn’t Time You Want To Waste

christmas-tree-1856343_960_720A couple of holiday seasons ago, I had a neighbor who loved to cut down a tree on a plot of land he owned in New Mexico and bring it back to decorate with his family. When he was backing up his truck near the front of his house, he gave it a little too much gas and ended up knocking down a brick wall and badly damaging his truck!

He had a good laugh about it and brought his tree inside for his kids to decorate. I remember that the very next day, him having an agent come out and look at both his house and truck—and within a 2 week span he had everything fixed without a hitch. He thankfully had his insurance bundled, and was able to just take care of everything in one afternoon!

Since this was the time between November and December, he was able to be done with it house-2595330_960_720before the upcoming holiday and without wasting any undue stress on the whole situation! Now, not all accidents happen around the holiday season, but if it does it might be possible to save time and money with a bundle! Don’t waste the time you could have with your family!

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How Can I Save Money With a Bundle?

piggybank-2913293_960_720When you buy insurance, you might get different plans at different times of your life and not really think about how much things can add up over time. It’s like when you go into the grocery store and set a limit for yourself, it’s hard to stay under the number you set if you aren’t looking at all of your options and asking the employees “What kind of deals do you have?”

Sometimes it’s the simplest of questions that can help you the most, and if you are willing to do it when you are shopping around, you should be willing to do it with your insurance! All your savings will add up in the end and you might be able to do something nice for yourself with that little extra cash!financing-3536755_960_720

Asking your insurance provider about bundles can be very worthwhile question, and it never hurts to ask. Just act like you do when you go to the store looking for a good deal and find out the ways you can save some money! Like teacher’s try to tell us, there’s no stupid questions!

 

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Disaster Hits, Now What?

flood-642586_960_720If you have lived through a disaster or know anyone who has, you will know how hard it is to get back on your feet in the aftermath. It’s a long process and you pretty much have to fight to gain back everything that you had.

I had some family from South Carolina come to El Paso after their house and place of business was flooded out during Hurricane Charley in 2004. I remember them not knowing what would come next, and what would happen if they had to start over again. We as a family helped them with anything that they needed and got them through the next couple weeks so they could figure out if they wanted to come back here or go back to South Carolina.

It would have been devastating for them to lose everything, they owned their house and had a profitable business— and one of the saddest things to me was my cousins didn’t want to make new friends and start all over, they knew them all since they moved out there when they were kids. My aunt did have insurance, but all her documents were ruined in the storm—and she was right (she always was/is right!), but she called in to her insurance companies and after a few weeks of getting everything in order she was able to get back to South Carolina. hurricane-matthew-1769040_960_720

I called her up and asked her about the process when I was writing this blog to catch up and to see what she went through. She said that it took an extremely long time and she actually mentioned to me that what made it so long was that she had to deal with separate companies! After that ordeal she ended up finding out that bundling would’ve saved time and that it’s easier to deal with one company, and one deductible, and that’s how she has it set up now!

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The Bottom Line

real-estate-475875_960_720When you have a lot to protect it quickly becomes pretty stressful and expensive making sure that all of your physical assets like your car, house, most importantly your family is safe and the protection you have is up to snuff. But did you know that buying insurance separately can make you spend more when you don’t have to?

Bundling insurance can save you money, and it can also save you time. For instance when I was looking for car insurance I ended up being able to bundle in renter’s insurance for only a few dollars more, it saved me time and ultimately money since I wanted to get that for my apartment too at the time. We are all looking at the bottom line, right?accounting-761599_960_720

Another reason I like it is the simplicity of my bill and payment, I have it arranged where I send one single payment a month and I know that everything is said and done! So for your sanity, and your checkbook you should checkout what you can get when you bundle your policies!

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Reasons You Want To Take Advantage of Open Enrollment

calculator-1044173_960_720With Open Enrollment coming up, it is important to look at your personal situation and think about if there is anything that you would like to change with your health insurance. Things that you should take into consideration would be if you like your current provider, if you want to change the type of plan you have due to cost, or if you don’t have health insurance at all and need to get it!

Just like in past years, if you don’t have employer provided health insurance and you are over the age of 26, you cannot be on your parent’s plan anymore. But unlike in 2018, going forward from 2019 and onward, there will no longer be a penalty unless the state you reside in mandates a penalty for not having health insurance.

If you are not happy with your provider you can shop around for another during this Open Enrollment period, and if you want to change the type of plan you have you can do so during this time as well! If you have a specific doctor that you want to go to, but is not within your network, you can find which provider has them in-network and sign-up with them. Or if you just want to switch to try something else out you can as well, no problem!

There are exceptions to this Open Enrollment period, with life changing events you can insurance-1991276_960_720change your plan to better suit you. If you have a child, get married, or lose your coverage you can change or enroll in a different plan for 60 days following the event. But otherwise you will have from November 1st to December 15th, 2018 to make any changes—and remember any changes made during Open Enrollment start on January 1st, 2019, so get ready and plan accordingly!

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