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Finding an Insurance Agency in Middlesex County, NJ

Just about everyone needs some kind of insurance. This may be because it’s the law or just because it’s a sensible precaution. Finding just the right coverage for your situation can be a major challenge.

This means that it can be very helpful to work with a reputable insurance agency. With that in mind, here are some tips on finding an insurance agency in Middlesex County, NJ.

Stick to Your State

Even if you’re the kind of person who does everything online, there are times when it’s very much best to stay local. As a rule of thumb, anything connected to finance or the law is one of them.

This approach ensures that you receive the maximum level of consumer protection. As a bonus, it also means that you can have an in-person appointment if you ever feel you need one.

In New Jersey specifically, look for insurance agencies that are members of the New Jersey Agents Alliance. This is a strong indicator of high standards in both professional knowledge and customer care.

As a bonus, an insurance agent in your state is more likely to have the most appropriate coverage for your needs.

For example, in New Jersey, it’s important to protect your home and property against natural disasters such as flooding as well as more general threats such as crime.

A local insurance broker will be well aware of this and be able to suggest appropriate products.

Think About What Kind of Coverage You Need

Make sure you check that an insurance agency can actually provide the type of coverage you need.

For example, most insurance agencies will probably offer some kind of personal insurance but they may not offer coverage in niche areas such as RVs and boats. Similarly, insurance agents may offer general business coverage but not support niche industries.

It’s advisable to check this at an early stage, especially if you’re looking for more specialty coverage. This can save you spending time researching an insurance agency’s credentials only to discover that they can’t help you anyway.

You might even want to take this process a step further and see whether an insurance company has particular experience in any given area.

For example, if you’re looking for business coverage, then you might find it very helpful to work with an insurance agency that really understands your industry sector. First, this means that they’re probably going to have a decent selection of insurance options.

Second, it means that they may be able to give an informed opinion on the risks you are likely to face.

As a bonus, insurance agencies with specialist expertise may offer useful add-on services.

For example, they may help you with risk assessment and risk mitigation. This could feed through into a broader choice of insurance products and/or lower insurance premiums.

Decide What Type of Insurance Agent You Want

There are two types of insurance agents, captive and independent. Captive insurance agents are attached to a specific company. Independent insurance agents offer products from different companies.

There is nothing wrong with choosing a captive insurance agent.

You will, however, generally get far more choice from an independent insurance agent. This can include getting access to niche deals that aren’t widely advertised (or advertised at all).

For completeness, independent insurance agents often act as insurance brokers as well.

The difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker is that an insurance agent is paid by the insurance company whereas an insurance broker is paid by the end client.

In practice, it’s usually irrelevant whether you use an insurance agent or an insurance broker as long as they’re reputable.

At the end of the day, both insurance agents and insurance brokers need to keep buyers happy to stay in business. This means that they need to look out for your best interests.

Confirm the Claims Process

With captive insurance agencies, claims are simply referred directly to the insurance issuer’s regular claims department. Again, this may not be bad. A reputable insurer should have a competent claims department.

That said, your claims experience may not be good. The key point to remember is that regular insurance claims departments often have heavy workloads and strong time pressure.

This can result in calls being queued for extended periods. What’s more, if you don’t have all the necessary details to hand when you call, you may be asked to call back and queued again.

Claiming online can allow you to avoid queues. It can, however, lead to other issues.

In particular, you may find yourself going back and forth with your insurer to supply all the details and documents they need. This means that you may find yourself needing to get (back) on the phone to sort it out.

Independent insurance agencies, by contrast, will generally be the first point of call for your claim. They will work with you to ensure that you have everything lined up correctly.

Then they will submit the claim to the end insurer. This can make your life a lot easier at what can be a very stressful time.

Look at the Overall Ease of Doing Business With the Agency

These days a company’s website can be a good indicator of its overall quality.

In simple terms, it should be obvious that it’s been created with the customer in mind. It should be easy to navigate (both on a computer and on mobile devices) and have all the general information you need.

Make sure you check out how you can get in touch with the insurance agency. Do you have to do everything online or do they also offer phone and fax numbers? Can you visit a physical office?

Check How Long the Agency Has Been in Business

If you’re interested in the world of business, you may have read about new, disruptive companies, especially “fintechs” (financial technology companies). It’s true that new companies can sometimes offer exciting opportunities.

It is, however, also true that insurance agencies that stay in business over the long term generally do so for good reasons. Basically, they know what they are doing and they know how to treat their customers.

This tends to make them a safer option, especially for people who’re unfamiliar with an insurance agency in Middlesex County, NJ.