Don't know where to start? Here's what you need to know to communicate effectively with your insurance agent:
- Don't tolerate insurance jargon. Like veterinarians, insurance agents have their own language. Insist that your agent explain terms you don't understand.
- Know what you're buying. Request and review a sample copy of the policy before buying. If the agent or prospective insurer balks, explore other coverage options.
- Ask how many insurers your agent represents. The more insurers your agent represents the better, because then your agent won't be tempted to channel your business to just one insurer. And the more competition for your business, the better leverage you have for negotiating coverage and price.
- Review your insurance needs annually. Sit down at least once a year to discuss all your insurance needs, not just liability coverage. This includes coverage on your office space, equipment, and vehicles, and any insurance you offer as an employee benefit.
- Expect prompt responses. When you call with a question or concern, do you get a live person? If you leave a message, how long is it before you receive a response? You can't expect instant answers for every call, but you should hear back within 24 hours.
Kevin M. Quinley is a chartered property casualty underwriter and a freelance business writer in Fairfax, Va. Send questions to email@example.com.