Which is better:  Insurance from a Local Agency or from a Direct Company?

It has become easier and easier to purchase car insurance over the past decade and many people have chosen to buy direct instead of using their trusted local agent.  Let’s compare the two and see which distribution provides better benefits to consumers!

24/7 Customer Service

All major insurance companies provide 24/7 customer service whether you purchase direct or through an agent.  All major insurance companies also provide the ability to pay bills and make routine changes through an online portal, even when you purchase from a local agent.  By having a local agent, you have the added benefit of getting personal assistance when you need it.

24/7 Claims

All major insurance companies provide 24/7 claims reporting whether you purchase direct or through an agent.  By having a local agent, you can ask questions and receive advice before you file a claim and make it a permanent part of your insurance file.  Direct company employees can’t do that.  They must report the claim and turn it over to an adjuster, even if the claim isn’t covered.  You receive a big advantage when you have a local agent to talk with.

Lower rates

Direct companies can only provide their policy at their rate, even if better programs are available.  Local agents can access other products and companies as needed.  Also, it’s interesting that some companies provide their product at the exact same rate whether you buy from a local agent or a call center.  In that scenario, all the advantages come from buying through a local agent.

Represents You

When you call a company direct, you’re talking with a company employee who 100% represents the company.  Local agencies are owned by independent contractors and while every one of them has a fiduciary responsibility to their companies, they also have a responsibility to you. Local agents are more apt to evaluate your situation and make sure you have the right coverages at the best price.

Personal Service

Direct company employees are anonymous people who work in anonymous call centers and who you will probably only talk to ONCE, often will not (or cannot) provide their full name, and often cannot be contacted directly for follow ups on issues.  They have little to no accountability to you.  Local agents have their personal, local reputation on the line every time they interact with you and are accountable to making sure you are taken care of.

Economic Impact

Direct companies spend their revenue in the cities of their call centers and home office.  Local agencies hire local employees and spend their money with other local companies (including perhaps yours!).  Retail studies have been conducted that show money spent with local providers provide 3.7 times more direct local economic benefit than spending at chains (similar to a Direct Company).

Complete Coverage

Direct companies mostly offer car insurance and sometimes offer home insurance.  Local agents can evaluate your entire situation and offer a complete package to ensure that you are sufficiently protected including home, auto, motorcycle, RV, boat, umbrella, rental property, jewelry, life, disability, and more.

Comparison Summary:

Local Agent vs Direct

LOCAL AGENTDIRECT
24/7 Customer Service via toll-free/webxx
24/7 Claimsxx
Lower Rates / More Optionsx 
Represents Youx 
Personal Servicex 
Local economic Impactx 
Local office when there’s a problemx 
Claims Advice before you filex 
Complete coveragex 

The bottom line is that when you buy from a local agency, you receive all of the benefits of buying direct plus many more.

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The Braun Agency’s mission is to help you get from where you are to where you want to be financially by planning, achieving your plan and protecting your plan from unexpected events.  In the process, our goal is to deliver insurance services in a manner that exceeds your expectations.  See what The Braun Agency can do for you today. Give us a call at 757-452-4563 to speak with one of the licensed, professional members of our team or request a contact here. The Braun Agency. We’re on YOUR side. 757-INSURANCE.