What Makes a Good Insurance Agent and How to Find One

January 6, 2023 by Kemper Auto

Like finding a good doctor or dentist, getting an effective insurance agent can impact your quality of life. Think about it: Your trusted insurance agent will assist you in getting insurance coverage to help protect you in the event of a car accident and protect your assets in case of liability lawsuits. 

Do I Need an Insurance Agent?

You do not need an insurance agent or a broker to get coverage. You can start the process of getting basic insurance for your car or home by contacting an insurance company directly, often online.

What Is a Good Insurance Agent?

A good insurance agent is:

  • An expert who can answer your insurance questions objectively
  • A resource showing you the options available to you
  • A person interested in making the most of what resources you have

What Are Signs of a Good Insurance Agent?

Guidelines from other service industries apply here too, including:

  • Whether they listen to your specific concerns
  • Whether they are reasonably available when you have an issue
  • Whether they come recommended from a person you know or another trusted referral

What Do I Ask a Potential Agent?

What insurance products do you specialize in?

There are as many agent specialties as there are types of insurance. Some focus on home, auto, or a combination of products. The key thing is to find an agent that represents your current and future needs. For example, an 18-year-old may not be as interested in a life insurance plan, just as a commuter who doesn’t own a car might not care about car insurance. A good agent will redirect you to someone who is a better fit.

Do you offer insurance products from a single insurance company or a variety?

Some agents only have a license to offer insurance from a single insurance company. These agents are referred to as “captive agents”. Captive agents may be able to get good deals on a specific brand as well as know the ins-and-outs of their specialties. On the other hand, they may be unaware or may be unable to share other insurance opportunities with you because of their exclusivity contract.

Other agents are independent, meaning they can offer policies from several different insurance companies. If you aren’t sure which carrier you want, an independent insurance agent can help you compare rates and coverages from multiple insurers at the same time.

Do you have any fees?

Some agents have a fee for their services that you pay in addition to the commission they receive from the insurance company. You should weigh if the cost is worth the benefit when comparing agent fees. Ask agents upfront if agent fees are charged and if so, how much?

What response time do you have on requests?

If you are in a tight situation, then the last thing you want is a slow-responding agent. Find out the amount of time they usually take to get back to their customers. 

What are Some Agent Warning Signs?

A search online under the agent’s name and/or agency and the state will help reveal any complaints filed against them. All agents should have a current license. 

Another warning sign is an overly eager agent telling you that they can cover all your insurance needs before listening to what your needs are. A good agent will first listen and then tell you what they can and cannot do. Again, if they can’t assist you, a good agent will recommend an agent who can.

If you don’t have an urgent insurance need, don’t be afraid to shop around. A good agent will not be resistant to having an exploratory meeting, sharing their perspective, and being open to you speaking with other agents before making a commitment.

How Do I Find a Good Agent?

There are a few places to start. Personal referrals are the absolute best way to find a good agent. You also may ask recommendations from other trusted people in the service industry. For instance, if you are closing on a house, ask the real estate agent representing you to recommend a few home insurance agents.

Talk with a Trusted Source

If you are not sure where to start your hunt for an insurance agent, then feel free to reach out to a trusted source such as a neighbor or perform a search online. 

Use Kemper's Find-an-Agent Tool

Kemper works with some of the best local, independent insurance agents in the business! For home and auto insurance, use our online tool to find an agent near you.

For life insurance, see our Kemper Life office locations.