There are two distinct classifications of property casualty agents: captive and independent. Captive agents generally represent one company and some of them may have the ability to sell other companies, but that’s the exception not the rule. Independent property casualty agents have access to dozens of insurance companies and quite often compare rates, company claims paying ability, policy provisions and electives like deductibles. But that’s still just a basic evaluation to help get you in the game in your decision making process. None of these due diligence items reflect the customer service experience during a claim or the support of the local agent. TV commercials promote saving hundreds of dollars in premiums if you switch to their company. Who doesn’t love to save money, especially on insurance? But be mindful that you have to have an “apples to apples” comparison of provisions and definitions to determine if the savings is truly a deal. But it’s not just about price; it can be about the aggravation. So you save $400 but you can’t talk to a real person in an office in your town. Or you go through the claims process after an accident and you’re brutalized by the experience. Sometimes   Read more…