Last Updated: September 2019
Quick Tip: Complete the form on this page to compare the best insurance brokers near you.
Purchasing car insurance can be a much more pleasurable experience if you follow a few simple pointers during the process.
When I was searching for the best insurance agent near me, I had to weed through a lot of misinformation to find the best car insurance. To me, the best car insurance was the best coverage for the cheapest rates.
The best coverage will always depend on the car you drive, your driving history, and other factors, so it’s not as simple as recommending a specific company.
While you always have the option to use a local agent near you that represents one company such as a State Farm agent, you can certainly do better in most circumstances.
Effectively locating and leaning on the best car insurance brokers in your area is the best way to ensure you are obtaining the coverage that you not only need but coverage that fits into your current budget.
Before starting your search, know these 3 things:
- There are nationwide, regional, and technology-focused insurance companies to choose from. Finding an insurance broker and NOT a captive agency like StateFarm, Farmers, or Allstate is important.
- Insurance brokers near you can compare most of the market, but not ALL of the market. Our suggestion is to find an insurance agent near you to compare the market and then make a phone call to a StateFarm or Farmers and see how they compare.
- Make sure you’re comparing the new tech startups that insurance agents can’t sell or compare for you. Many of these agencies are regional — companies like Lemonade and Root Insurance.
Handcuffing yourself to one option can be expensive and often result in less robust coverage.
Fill out the form on the right, and we’ll list the top carriers based on the information you input. This will be the best starting point.
While choosing a local captive car insurance agent may seem easy, it’s not the best decision in most circumstances. Let’s begin by making sure you understand the primary differences between using a captive car insurance agent, a car insurance broker, and an independent agent.
Following the steps and information laid out here for you should make your task of locating the best car insurance broker or agent near you a walk in the park.
Here are the details.
How to Find the Best Car Insurance Agent Near You
A good starting point when shopping for a car insurance policy is to expand your mind. Don’t let the local advertising or big-ticket companies you see on commercials be the only thought that comes to mind as the best option for car insurance.
You would be surprised at how much money you could save and even how robust your insurance coverage could potentially be locating the best car insurance broker in your area.
However, it is going to be tough to do this if you don’t know the difference between captive car insurance agents, brokers, and independent agents.
Here are the primary differences and what to look for.
Difference Between Brokers and Captive Car Insurance Agents
Most consumers don’t know where to begin during the hunt for the best car insurance. This can apply whether you are shopping locally or even attempting to work with a National Agency.
For that specific reason, it’s essential that we break down the difference between a captive car insurance agent and a broker.
Here’s what you need to know and the differences to be aware of.
Captive Car Insurance Agents
A captive agent is going to represent one company only. A captive agent does not have the ability to shop your car insurance rates with multiple companies.
In exchange for their efforts, captive agents are paid directly from the one insurance company that they represent.
Think of companies such as State Farm, Allstate, or even Nationwide to help you paint the picture more effectively.
Additionally, captive agents can often work off a combination of salary and commissions and may be considered a full-time employee as opposed to an independent contractor.
The problem that you run into often with captive car insurance agents is their inability to locate you cheaper products or even find coverage in general for individuals with specific needs such as someone with a poor driving record.
It’s also essential as the consumer that you realize that captive agents are instructed and taught to do one thing- push their own products to create business, sales, and revenue.
The problem with this is that these agents have a loyalty to their employing company.
Not you. I think you can see why this isn’t the best route you can take if you are attempting to find the best car insurance near you or in your local area.
If you want to find the best car insurance, you need to pivot your thinking and work with an independent agent or a car insurance broker.
Here’s how it works for Independent agents and brokers attempting to help you purchase car insurance.
Car Insurance Brokers
Brokers are going to resemble an independent agent for the most part.
The most significant difference between a car insurance broker and independent car insurance agent comes down to a potential fee they will charge for their services.
Brokers are not paid by the insurance companies directly.
This is favorable for the consumer. Sure, nobody likes a fee for the services, but you can trust that a broker is going to find you the best possible options and tailor a car insurance policy to suit your needs.
Independent Car Insurance Agents
Attempting to find the best independent car insurance agent is another great approach to take. Independent agents do not work for any 1 insurance company.
They are paid commissions from each company that they do represent as they generate business with each company.
This effectively allows independent car insurance agents to shop and work specifically for you and your best interest.
One problem that’s often discussed with independent agents is that their knowledge on products with so many companies must be somewhat limited.
I, however, tend to disagree.
As an independent agent myself, I personally place clients with companies that I know suit them best and would consider myself just as knowledgeable on those products as any captive insurance agents’ knowledge on their employing companies’ products.
Why Car Insurance Agents Either Choose Captive or Independent
In most circumstances, the decision for a car insurance agent to choose to represent only one company as opposed to being independent comes down to the agent’s own financial situation.
Being an independent car insurance agent or broker requires more start-up capital, office space and you rarely will have help covering expenses that come hand in hand with owning a business or taking the entrepreneur route to an insurance business.
Captive agents don’t have these financial burdens to deal with.
Most captive agents will be provided or allocated a certain amount of capital to help develop their agencies and fund some of their marketing efforts.
One positive is that this allows captive agents to focus more energy towards relationship building and excellent service.
However, it’s still advised against in most circumstance purely because you can likely do better finding robust and affordable insurance coverage near you working with car insurance agents and brokers.
In fact, we feel so strongly about working with a car insurance broker or an independent agency that we have compiled the top 7 reasons and benefits that you can enjoy working with a car insurance broker.
Here’s a look at them.
Top 7 Reasons to Use a Car Insurance Broker (or Independent Agent)
#1-The Ability to Find Better Coverage
Like we covered previously, A broker or independent car insurance agent has a tool bag that’s overpowering compared to a captive car insurance agent.
When you can compare and shop rates with dozens of car insurance companies opposed to 1, your odds of finding the best car insurance increase dramatically.
When it comes to car insurance, the more options you have, the better. Period.
#2- You Can’t Place a Dollar Amount on The Time Saved
Shopping for car insurance can take time. Even in a world driven heavily by digital technology and the internet.
Regardless, going to 50 different websites requesting car insurance quotes surely isn’t the way anyone wants to spend their weekend.
Let a broker or independent car insurance agent do this for you.
Sure, sometimes you have a fee involved for using a broker, but you can’t place a price tag on the time you are saving or allocating towards something more substantial such as spending time with the family.
#3- Searching and Shopping for the Best and Cheapest Coverage Near You Is Priority 1
Car insurance agents operating as a broker don’t have to settle for the first price and quote offered.
They can continue searching to meet your needs for coverage and your needs that can be related to the budget.
You can’t effectively know that you have the cheapest car insurance if you don’t compare the rates you are being offered against the competition.
This is another duty that your broker will be tasked with.
Regardless, at the end of the day, you can have the peace of mind knowing you have found the best coverage for the best price.
#4-Knowledge and Expertise on a Broad Level
This can go both ways. Captive agents surely have a great deal of knowledge on their products, which is an upside, of course.
Nobody here is claiming that it’s not.
However, I would always prefer to work with someone that has a good knowledge base about coverage options across the board and with dozens of different car insurance companies.
Like stated before, this can often lead to the misconception that brokers are spread a bit too thin on their knowledge with companies, but I disagree.
To make a recommendation for one car insurance policy, the broker is likely to know the policy inside and out and will be able to explain it to you from start to finish.
Pro-Tip* If you have doubts that your broker doesn’t fully understand the product, he or she is presenting you, take the time to go over the policy in person and ask for the details.
Car insurance brokers that you work with locally are going to be happy to accommodate this.
Their reputation and ability to place coverage in force for their clients is the lifeblood and cash flow for their business so gaining a client and providing excellent service isn’t only desired, it’s essential for the business survival for car insurance brokers opposed to captive car insurance agents.
#5- Your Best Interest is Always Top Priority
This isn’t to say that a captive car insurance agent in your area would have anything but your best interest in mind.
The fact of the matter, however, is that agents with a basket of options can effectively tailor-make a policy to fit your needs.
They must earn your business.
They don’t necessarily have any fallback or incentives being provided by the parent company, and marketing expenses are straight out of the brokers pocket in nearly all circumstances.
This should give a clear signal that in most situations, the broker is going to work until they find a perfect match and that your best interest is the only thing that matters.
#6- More Capable of Helping High-Risk Individuals
Not everyone has a clean driving record. Other individuals may have fleets of vehicles to cover for business purposes or previous accidents or potential DUI’s on their driving record.
In many circumstances, this makes it tough for the captive car insurance agent to effectively find you the best rates or even find an option that will approve you for coverage.
Brokers, on the other hand, present a unique capability in this situation.
They may have specialized knowledge about which car insurance companies will insure you or offer rates to you that are affordable.
While this isn’t necessarily a bash against the captive car insurance agent, it’s clearly a reason to lean towards a broker or independent car insurance agent if you fall into this grouping of high-risk drivers seeking car insurance.
#7- Can Typically Be Easily Verified and Trusted
Some individuals choose the local State Farm Car Insurance Agent in their area for no other reason except trust of the brand, and they feel safe knowing it’s a reputable company.
Brokers offer the same ability in most situations. In fact, a broker can likely be verified and trusted just as much as the captive car insurance agent down the street from you.
Search online for verified reviews.
Check if they are registered with the BBB for their local agency. Read Yelp reviews or check reviews using Google.
Nonetheless, sprinting straight for the local captive agent near you is not the ideal approach purely because of trust.
Do a little homework ahead of time, and you will be surprised at how often brokers are used in these situations.
What Else to Look for Finding the Best Car Insurance Near You
Let’s assume you have done your homework and already verified that you have found a reliable car insurance broker or independent car insurance agent in your area.
Now, all that’s left is to ensure you have peace of mind about the choice you are about to make.
Schedule a sit down with your agent. Speak about the options and get a feel for if this is a professional relationship you want to form or not.
If you are working with a broker or independent agent, you can even give them a chance to shop your rates for you before deciding. Let them analyze and review what it is that you need and see if they can put money back into your bank account.
A Few More Words of Advice Before You Go Shopping
The last recommendation for those of you choosing to work with a broker or independent agent for your car insurance is to verify their licenses.
Most car insurance agents will gladly attach to this an email allowing you to verify that they have a valid insurance license.
If for whatever reason this isn’t possible through digital communication, ask to be shown the license when you meet in person.
While this may sound somewhat unnecessary, it will go a long way to give you peace of mind about your decision.
Don’t Settle for Less Than the Best for Your Car Insurance
The information and tips provided above should effectively allow you to understand if you should be working with the captive insurance agent or attempting to find the best broker in your area.
At the end of the day, it’s about finding you the best and most robust car insurance for the lowest possible rate.
Do some research on the options near you and verify reviews — best of luck in your search.
Car Insurance FAQs
How do I determine how much car insurance coverage I need?
Many states require that you carry a minimum amount of liability insurance; however, you also need to consider the value of your assets, how and when you drive, what you drive, and who is with you.
What is the best way to compare auto insurance quotes?
When it is time to look for the best auto insurance quotes, you can find that it can be a pretty daunting experience. That is why you should find a company that can help you look at several different quotes at once to find the best rates possible. These companies can compare rates with the top auto insurance carriers and see who is currently offering the best price.
How do I know if the insurance is good for my situation?
When you find a car insurance agent near you, they can help match you with the coverage that fits your needs and vehicle. They will guide you through every step of the process to ensure that you get exactly what you need.
Why do car insurance premiums change?
There are several costs that can affect how much you pay in car insurance premiums. These costs include medical costs, auto repair costs, costs involved to adjust claims, inflation, and uninsured drivers. Insurance companies don’t control these costs directly, which is why these changing costs should be monitored to see how they can affect you personally.
How do I find an insurance agent near me?
Word of mouth is always a great way to find a local agent. You should also do your own research online to make sure you are finding a car insurance expert. Check the agent’s background, make sure they are properly licensed, and interview every prospective agent to make sure they will be a good fit for you.
Why should I hire an insurance agent?
Your car insurance is important because it provides you with financial protection in the case of any physical damage and bodily injury as the result of a collision. An auto insurance agent near you can help you navigate the insurance industry and find the best deal and the best coverage for your car.