Insurance agents, often referred to as “captive” agents, typically represent one insurance company. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, represent multiple insurance companies to ensure that you are connected with the right insurance for you. An agent acts as a conduit to provide information to insurance buyers. The insurance buyer then has the option to choose from available policies and contracts from the insurer offered through the agent. These policies and contracts are decided through contractual agreements that the insurance agents have with the insurers to meet certain guidelines.

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The information on this site is general in nature. Any description of coverage is necessarily simplified. Whether a particular loss is covered depends on the specific facts and the provisions, exclusions and limits of the actual policy. Nothing on this site alters the terms or conditions of any of our policies. You should read the policy for a complete description of coverage. Coverage options, limits, discounts, deductibles and other features are subject to individuals meeting our underwriting criteria and state availability. Not all features available in all states. Discounts may not apply to all coverages and/or vehicles. 
While the absence of an intermediary, such as an agent or a broker, could result in a cheaper premium, it is usually not the case. This is due in part to the reliance on third parties to drive business to insurance companies. If the insurer offers plans that are significantly cheaper than what they offer clients through brokers or agents, those intermediaries will find the prospect of selling their products less advantageous – and may even choose to stop selling their policies altogether. This could lead to a significant loss in potential customers, leaving insurers with the costly task of increasing investment in their own sales teams and efforts.

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Brokers are licensed by the state or states in which they operate, and they are required to represent their clients’ best interests. This duty helps to ensure that a broker will steer clients to the best insurance for them, rather than to a particular company or to a specific policy. Brokers rely on repeat business from their clients, which also motivates them to make sure that their clients have the best possible coverage. In many cases, brokers may receive an additional commission if you renew your insurance plan — giving brokers an extra incentive to make sure that you have optimal coverage and that you are satisfied with your policies.
Coverage that suits you. Comprehensive and collision coverage is just the beginning. Our policies also give you the flexibility to dial up (or down) your peace of mind. Choose from new car replacement2, special parts replacement3, enhanced rental car damage coverage4, and more. And because there’s only one you, receive identity theft protection5 at no extra cost.
Insurance agents have a responsibility to the insurance company.  Agents act as the insurance company representative in the buying process as they are typically salaried employees.   Most insurance agents are “Captive” to represent only one company, such as: Allstate, State Farm, Farmer, etc.  Because they are contracted as captive insurance agents, they are not able to discuss or recommend other insurance companies.  

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Since the beginning, Barrows Insurance Agency has continued to operate under the same concept as today: to be there for our customers. We have been helping individuals, families and businesses for more than 40 years, offering auto, homeowners, business and life insurance, in addition to specialty coverages, such as motorcycle, renters, classic car and umbrella insurance. Call us today to see how we can help ensure that you and your loved ones are protected.

Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.

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If you are in the market for insurance, you may have heard the terms ‘broker’ and ‘agent’ tossed around. While both are professionals in the insurance industry, these two job titles have some distinct differences. Both insurance brokers and insurance agents act as intermediaries between insurance buyers and insurers. They both must also have the appropriate licenses to distribute the insurance they are selling, while also adhering to any laws or regulations enforced by local insurance departments. The primary difference between an insurance broker and an insurance agent is who each represents. While a broker represents the insurance buyer, an agent represents one or more insurance companies. 

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There are a number of major trade organizations that support the interests and needs of the independent insurance agent, including Agents For Change,[3] The National Organization of Life and Health Agents (NOLHA),[4] the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (The Big "I"),[5] and the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA).[6]

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Brokers - Because a broker is solely focused on your unique needs, he or she can help with comparison-shopping, honing in on the best prices for the coverage you need. They can even advise you on how to best bundle or customize your policies in ways that agents might not be able to do (either because they are restricted in their policy offerings, or simply because they lack the insight into your specific needs).

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We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.

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For one, the process of researching and comparing plans without the help of an advisor can be arduous for any business owner or HR team, as it requires a significant amount of time to understand each and every option to determine whether they’re the right fit for the business. Without assistance from an expert, there’s also a greater risk of securing an ill fitting plan for your business and staff, which can be incredibly costly in the long run. A good broker or agent can advise you at no extra cost.
Our Employee Benefits team is acutely aware of the need to provide your employees with the appropriate benefits, while simultaneously ensuring the costs remain affordable to both you and your employees. Our experts take a proactive and consultative approach to doing business, and our goal is to not only help you retain your competitive edge, but to make benefit plan administration seamless for you. We go above and beyond for each client, acting as an advocate in price negotiation and dispute resolution in claims and billing scenarios.
It’s important to consider how your previous auto insurance record reflects on your car insurance quotes. Gaps in insurance — or periods spent with bare minimum coverage — can increase your quote, as insurance companies see you as financially unstable and more risky to insure. A lengthy insurance history with high limits and fewer claims can lead to cheap car insurance quotes.

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While the absence of an intermediary, such as an agent or a broker, could result in a cheaper premium, it is usually not the case. This is due in part to the reliance on third parties to drive business to insurance companies. If the insurer offers plans that are significantly cheaper than what they offer clients through brokers or agents, those intermediaries will find the prospect of selling their products less advantageous – and may even choose to stop selling their policies altogether. This could lead to a significant loss in potential customers, leaving insurers with the costly task of increasing investment in their own sales teams and efforts.

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Brokers are often able to get better rates on insurance policies for their clients than individuals buying insurance directly from the company. That is because insurance companies know that brokers have the experience to guide their clients to the right policies with the proper level of coverage. Policyholders who used brokers are less likely to make unnecessary claims or to be under insured, which ultimately saves the insurance companies money. The companies usually offer special broker pricing as a result — so that broker clients have lower cost options available to them. While agents may also get special pricing, they are working for the insurance company — not for you. A broker can offer a range of quotes from different insurers to give clients options that fit their needs and their budgets. This ability to shop for the best prices from a number of carriers typically saves clients who use brokers money.
It’s important to consider how your previous auto insurance record reflects on your car insurance quotes. Gaps in insurance — or periods spent with bare minimum coverage — can increase your quote, as insurance companies see you as financially unstable and more risky to insure. A lengthy insurance history with high limits and fewer claims can lead to cheap car insurance quotes.
To sell insurance products on behalf of a particular insurer, an agency must have an appointment with that insurer. An appointment is a contractual agreement that outlines the specific products the agency may sell. It also specifies the commissions the insurer will pay for each product. The contract usually describes the agency's binding authority, meaning its authority to initiate a policy on the insurer’s behalf. The agent may have permission to bind some types of coverage but not others.

How To Buy Insurance

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