You’ve seen plenty of insurance ads on television. Some are hilarious and use catchphrases and images that you easily remember. Meanwhile, others will be sentimental and heartwarming. This type of marketing is very popular in the insurance world. In fact, if you watch even just a half hour of TV this week, you'll probably see at least one insurance ad.
But we caution you… Don't buy insurance from your television set.
The ads that you see are almost all from direct writing companies with just one product to sell. Meanwhile, there are independent agencies, like our own, that represent a multitude of companies. Which one should you choose?
Think about it.
Let's say you call that 1-800 number on your screen. When you speak directly to a representative of one of those insurance companies on TV, you are speaking with someone who is operating from a well-rehearsed script, with prompts (based upon the responses you give) that will continually steer your conversation toward the one product that they have to sell.
You already knew they were trying to sell you insurance, that's why you called, but what if their one product doesn’t suit your needs?
Quite often you may need insurance for something that the “One Product Companies” just cannot cover.
Instead, when you call an independent agency, you’ll likely have a conversation in which the individual you are speaking with is gathering information that will assist them in getting you the best product to fit your needs. This is because they have a number of options to offer you and aren’t just trying to make a sale for any specific company.
See the difference?
Another dangerous area that some of these one product companies venture into is to have you choose your insurance by the amount that you want to pay.
Look, we all want lower rates. Yes, even agents need insurance, and believe it or not, we don’t get any “special deals”. We pay what you pay, and we appreciate it when we save money. However, lower rates don’t always mean the best choice.
If we selected our insurance by cost alone, we would not have most of the coverage that we should have, leaving to chance the loss of our assets. Which in the end doesn’t really save money, does it?
If you're still hung up on this idea, think about it this way. A $3 steak is cheaper, but is it better than a $24 steak? What if you could get huge savings on the next car you buy; except the car doesn't start? Is that worth it?
Would you buy a discounted lottery ticket if you already knew it was a loser?
We're not saying that a higher price means better coverage. We're simply stating that if the savings seem a little suspicious, it might be worth taking a closer look at the coverage before you sign your name. You shouldn't have to spend through the roof to get good coverage, but if your rates are in the basement, you might want to think about why before the basement floods.
What to take from this:
There is a difference between good insurance marketing campaigns and good insurance coverage.
Don’t be afraid to sit down with your agent and ask questions. A good agent can help put things into plain language for you and help you understand why they have recommended certain coverages and/or values. Bring up items that you think might make your insurance rates go up. Yes, your rates may increase, however, an increased rate is much easier to swallow than an uncovered claim.
If you have questions right now, go ahead and give us a call at 607-535-6501 or stop by our office sometime during the week.
Remember to read our post from last week and make sure to check in next Thursday for Part 3 of "Insurance Terms That You Should Know".