Automobile insurance is something that most every responsible driver sees as a necessity in order to protect one’s personal assets in case of an accident. And the majority of states require that anyone behind the wheel of a vehicle carry insurance. This means that you have to shop around for a good insurance policy with a reputable company, and in this respect, an amazing insurance agent can be extremely valuable. Unfortunately, not everyone you meet along the road to finding insurance for your car is going to be as helpful, available, and scrupulous as you might hope. So if you think you might be using the wrong insurance rep, here are a few telltale warning signs to watch for.
- Lack of time. The majority of auto insurance representatives are on-call around the clock or they’ll at least call you back expediently. The ones you want to avoid are those that always seem too busy to give a call-back or are constantly away on vacation. You need to be able to count on your agent to be there when you need him the most. So an absent agent is a great reason to jump ship and go with someone else.
- Lack of information. Most consumers have many questions concerning the differences between policies (coverage and cost) as well as what will and will not be covered in the event of accident, damage, natural disaster, theft, and so on. If your agent can’t answer such simple questions or he seems evasive on the matter, it’s definitely time to look elsewhere.
- Pushy upsell. Is your agent constantly calling and emailing you with “special deals” that nonetheless up your insurance rates? This kind of hucksterism is not only annoying, it can also land you with a bulky policy that provides far more coverage than you’ll ever need. If your agent just doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of the word “no”, or he resorts to scare tactics to get you onboard with policy upgrades, it’s definitely time to start looking for someone a little less aggressive and more concerned with your personal insurance needs.
- Bad referrals. Those who find good insurance agents will stay with them for life (if possible). So chances are that your first agent will be the same one used by family or friends. But if you find at some point that you have to switch agents, make sure to get referrals. The people you know and love would never send you to someone awful, so if you notice that a lot of people are unhappy with an agent, he’s the one to avoid.
- Rising rates. There are certain instances in which rates are expected to get raised, such as when you purchase a new car, receive multiple tickets in a short period of time, or you are at fault for an accident. But if your rates go up seemingly of their own accord, or they are raised after an accident that wasn’t your fault, you should definitely question your agent. Ditto on average rate negotiations. Try searching for automobile insurance online and then asking your agent to price match. If he’s willing to at least talk about the possibility, he’s probably okay. If not, it may be time to move on.