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Should you buy direct or use an agent?

If you are visiting this site you are likely in the process of deciding not only if you need insurance, but whether you should buy from a direct-to-consumer site or agent. A recent survey conducted by RiskHeads.org asked consumers which they were inclined to use.

When asked if they preferred to buy insurance online or from an agent, the first response was “online.” The top three reasons given were:

  • Save money by cutting out the middleman
  • Ease of transaction
  • Speed of transaction

The survey then asked participants to use both methods to purchase insurance. The results:

Save money by cutting out the middleman:
The study found that consumers rarely saved enough money to warrant bypassing an agent.

Ease of transaction:
While the online experience initially proved easier than direct contact with an agent, most agents were far more proactive in asking questions that would allow them to give more accurate quotes, particularly when participants had multiple questions that required follow-up.

Speed of transaction:
The survey was evenly split regarding speed. Direct-to-consumer sites delivered consistently fast results for the length of time required to receive a quote, while agents took more time with fact finding and matching a consumer’s needs to specific products. However, the speed differences reversed when it came to changes in coverage, documentation requests, and additional questions—agents were far more efficient.

Consumers who were part of the study also found that simple types of insurance—like term, auto and homeowners—were not so simple.

 

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