Maneuvering through the First-Time Experience of Purchasing Automobile Insurance

first auto insurance policy - agent with contract

As an insurance agent you can’t help but have a feeling of compassion when new consumers to the insurance world comes into your office and with the “deer in the headlight” look in their eyes remark, “I need to buy insurance on my car.” They usually have some paperwork in their hands from a car dealership or a bank which they signed stating they had or would get insurance to cover their vehicle–but what to do next is a black hole for many.

Some have usually had a conversation with a friend or parent who have given them some exposure to the terms they are going to hear while others have tried to go online to talk to a computer generated voice which asks you to plug in information in their quotation model so they can give you a quote in 7 minutes or less. This is not to say this is a bad way of getting information but it may not be what you need. Later on, you may find your ladder was on the wrong insurance wall. Here is what a live flesh and blood agent can offer which no sterile voice can even approach.

In that first seven to fifteen minutes with a live agent you will find if this is a business relationship you would want when you need assistance the most. When you have a claim will your agent still be there like a good neighbor, or will you still be in good hands, or will you still feel warm and fuzzy knowing your company knows a thing or two because they have seen a thing or two–or an agent who lives beside you working for you.

In my 42 years of selling experience, few things matter more than the agent client relationship. Even though much can be handled electronically, those one on one encounters are so important in maintaining up to date coverages and risk management. How about stacking up the following method of doing business with the online method of just getting a rate quote. You deserve more for the money you will spend in either case.

The new client comes into the office where they are greeted by a customer rep who introduces the new client to the agent. After introductions are shared, they are put at ease by the agent congratulating them on this step in their life and then having them walk the agent out to the parking lot where they can display their newly found mode of pleasure and pain. Pleasure for all the wonderful experiences they will have, the freedom of movement they will feel, and the places they will go. Pain with knowing the expenses involved and the responsibility now upon their shoulders. In this “walk around” the agent can inspect vehicle for damages which may affect the coverages which will be recommended, and also see how he or she would feel in bringing this individual on as a client. Not every potential client wants to be treated like everyone else. The agent needs to know if he can treat the client as the client wants to be treated rather than as the agent wants to be treated. We are the party who needs to be socially mobile in this selling environment. Some people are relaxed and want a more congenial and friendly environment where others want to keep things strictly on a business relationship. Either works and the agent can pick up on that rather quickly in that walk around.

Once they are back in the office, agent can then begin explaining insurance required and what the terms mean. Some of the insurance available for vehicles include liability but not limited to bodily injury to a third party or property damage (some refer to this coverage as public liability), medical for insured, uninsured and underinsured medical, personal injury, disability, comprehensive, collision, emergency roadside assistance, etc. Some other coverages have been made available to the insured to cover unique needs like additional living expenses for those who travel a lot and are prone to extra costs if their vehicle were to break down some distance from their home; or, drive other vehicles for those who have to in the course of their employment drive an unowned vehicle. This becomes a secondary coverage, sometimes referred to as excess coverage, in the event the underlying insurance limits are not sufficient to cover an occurrence.

When the agent has gone through these explanations, the customer is in a much more informed position and can comfortably discuss what he or she feels they may need. It is always wise on the part of the agent to advise the client to review their policy when they get it and ask any questions they may have. They should never be able to use the excuse they didn’t read the policy so didn’t know what was in it or didn’t understand it. Fortunate is the client who takes the time in the beginning of the purchasing process to seek out a competent professional agent, and fortunate is the agent to work with someone who takes this experience seriously enough to become well informed.

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