Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Insurance and the Internet

We hear the statistics all the time. “9 out of 10 homebuyers start on the Internet.” “75% of Americans use the Internet.” While these statistics are true, a vast majority of these “internet shoppers” end up working with a licensed real estate agent at some point during the process, either to show them homes, help them negotiate, assist with the paperwork, or just be there to guide them. Most people recognize that when it comes to making one of the most important financial decisions of their life, they need an expert who can offer advice and keep the process moving along to the closing table.

When it comes to purchasing insurance for your home, auto or business, the same concept applies. Insurance is a very complicated business, just like real estate. Each person, family and business has different exposures and therefore has different needs when it comes to insurance. Carriers offer so many different options to meet people’s individual needs. When a person buys their insurance from a website, there is no way to know for sure that all of their exposures are covered. More often than not, policies that are purchased online by consumers are stripped down, have limited coverage, or are underinsuring the risk. While the premium might be attractive (which is the primary selling point of these online offerings), coverage can suffer tremendously. When a claim occurs, there can be severe consequences in terms of limited or no coverage or a reduced payment on the claim. Most Internet insurance shoppers don’t realize this at the time they purchase the policy.

The best solution, both in terms of having adequate coverage and peace of mind, is to use a licensed insurance agent. A good insurance agent can never be replaced by a website, just like a good real estate agent can never be replaced by a website. Your agent knows the right questions to ask to identify your risks. He or she can answer your questions with knowledge and expertise. When you have a problem, he or she is there for you, to assist you and stand up for you, if need be. They are there to look at your exposures and suggest solutions that fit your needs. Your agent is there to make sure you are not underinsured. As long as your agent is an independent agent, he or she is there to look across the rates of several carriers to make sure you are getting the best rate available. Your agent is there at renewal time to shop your policy, ensuring you get the best rate every year. Show me a website that can do all of that.

The bottom line is this: Even though they usually start on the Internet, consumers hire a real estate agent to assist them through the process of buying or selling real property because of the agent’s expertise and skill. When it comes to protecting that real property or other assets from unforeseen events, consumers should work with a licensed insurance agent, preferably an independent agent, so that they have peace of mind in knowing that their assets are properly insured.

For more information about insurance for your home, investments, vehicles, or business, contact Judge Fite Insurance today at insurance@judgefite.com or 214-446-2571. We are here to serve you!

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