There are two types of insurance agents, independent agents and insurance agents that work for a single company, called a captive agent. When you purchase an insurance policy, whether you are buying direct from the insurance company or through a broker could have an impact on what your premiums will be and what kind of customer service you can expect after the sale.
Buying direct is more limiting in most cases, because a captive agent only has the lines and features available from a single car insurance company to offer you. Where an independent agent can offer you a choice between several underwriters, the captive agent has less flexibility, which could mean that you cannot get the coverage you need at a price you are willing to pay. Similarly, a captive agent may not be as interested in getting your business because he earns a salary rather than relying on your business to earn a living.
Using an independent agent, called a broker, means that you can expect a choice of different policies and underwriters, all from a single source. And since the independent agent works for you rather than an insurance company, she will be more likely to go that extra distance to make sure you are getting the customer service you deserve. Independent agents are interested in having your business, and they are willing to help you shop for better prices to do so.
If you use an online car insurance quote to compare the prices between direct insurance and insurance brokers, you can get a better idea of how the independent broker is shopping around for you, looking for the lowest prices and best coverages. For the independent agent, your business is what it is all about, while buying direct will give you few options, and is less likely to produce the best insurance quotes for your money.