Time was that homeowners seeking information about a policy would first of all contact an insurance agent. The agent was the holder of all the most vital pieces of information about policy provisions and dispenser of industry knowledge. Furthermore, he often had been a family’s insurance agent for several generations and, thus, was a trusted source.
As it has so many other industries and professional positions, the internet changed the role of the insurance agent. Information now is widely disseminated on websites and blogs. Quotes are offered with a click of the mouse. Comparison of competing insurance products can be done from the comfort of home. Are agents no longer necessary?
Well, they aren’t necessary unless a homeowner is interested in getting the most protection of his home at the best price. True do-it-yourselfers can muddle through and pull together something serviceable with minimal “interference” from an agent. But any person wanting confidence that their home investment is secure will work with an agent.
What an agent brings to the policy-buying process is product comparison knowledge, customer experience, and professional perspective. Jargon can get in the way of understanding for a homeowner; an agent can translate it. Provisions can be confusing; an agent can clarify. Insurers sometimes play down relevant features; agents point them out.
Establishing a relationship with an agent is not all about buying a policy. Indeed, that might be the least of it. It is when a homeowner has a claim on a policy after a home-damaging event that an agent provides the most critical function by responding quickly, identifying and speeding payments, and guiding subcontractors through reconstruction.
A homeowners insurance agent is a salesperson, but also is a service person—at no extra cost. The headaches and heartaches associated with the loss or damage of a home are assuaged greatly by an agent who is there at a time of great need. One can suffer through such dreary times without an agent, but why would anyone choose to do so?