Using an Insurance BrokerHave you ever used an insurance broker? I have. I used to buy my homeowner's policy and my car insurance through an insurance broker. Then, I realized I was not getting the best deal through my broker. How? I was talking to a friend, and they said they had a great deal through a certain insurance company. I called my broker and asked if I could get the same deal. He said he didn't deal with that insurer. At that point, I did some research.
You might think that your insurance broker deals with all available insurers. However, each broker will work with only a select number of insurance companies -- and may actually restrict which companies based on who pays the best commissions! So, when your insurance broker says that they have found you a great deal, it may not be the "best" deal. It's only the best deal from among the companies that your broker works with.
So, if you want to get the best deal while working with a broker, what do you do?
Well, you can work with more than one broker, as long as you haven't signed any exclusive contract with any of them. Each broker should have some unique companies that they are working with, and it gives you a better chance of getting a wider range of companies.
For that matter, you can also ask each broker which companies he or she is working with. That way, you can be sure that you know what the "playing field" is, and you can also be sure that you are getting a wider variety of companies. After all, if each broker is working with the same companies, then you are simply going to be offered the same options.
The advantage of getting your policy through a broker is that you will have someone to hep you with the claims process. Brokers can often be advocates for their clients when something goes wrong.
The other advantage of a broker is the chance to have someone else do the legwork for you, in researching what kinds of policies you could get and at what price, and then giving you the results. If you aren't happy with the results, you can always go and check out companies that your broker didn't.
My most recent car and auto policy is one from a company that my broker didn't work with.