|Insurance Buying Tips #1: Shop smart|
|When looking for insurance, your No. 1 priority should be to find adequate coverage. Price is important, but you’ll want to determine what kind of coverage you need first. Then you can fit that coverage into your budget and determine which carrier can provide you with the most comprehensive policy for your situation. You may be tempted to choose insurance with the lowest price tag, but if you don’t have enough coverage (or the right kind of coverage), you will see less financial benefit when it comes time to file a claim.|
|Insurance Buying Tips #2: Look for discounts|
|Once you evaluate your coverage needs, factor in your budget and find ways to save. Ask your insurance agent if there are any discounts on your coverage. Often, carriers offer discounts for things like paying your policy in full, staying auto accident-free or, if you’re in school, getting good grades. You also can save money by “bundling” multiple policies, such as purchasing a home and auto policy from the same carrier.|
|Insurance Buying Tips #3: Fill in the gaps|
|An average policy will cover the basics, but you may need to add extra coverage to meet your unique needs. For instance, you may have items like electronics or a nice piece of jewelry that would be financially difficult to replace, even with the assistance of your average renters or homeowners policy. You may want to add additional coverage for these items.|
For professionals who enjoy sales along with an intellectual challenge, becoming an insurance agent offers a career that provides a challenge and good earning opportunities. Agents help consumers find policies that fit their individual needs and circumstances. They also help their clients with questions about their policies and may also help guide them through the claims process.
What Agents Do
Agents assist their clients in finding policies that cover their individual needs. Their clients may include businesses, organizations, families, and individuals. In general, there are two types of agents – captive agents who sell only a specific insurer's products, and independent agents who shop around several insurers to find the best policy for their clients.
Agents sell a variety of products, including auto insurance, property and casualty insurance, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, long-term care insurance and more. Long-term care insurance has been a major area of growth for insurance agents in recent years as it is in greater demand by our aging population.
Insurers typically work out of offices, but the job frequently requires them to go and meet with specific clients. Selling insurance can be a high-stress occupation, as agents are under constant pressure to sell.
|Insurance Buying Tips #4: Purchase life insurance—you aren’t too young|
|Life insurance is essential, no matter how young or old you are. And for millennials, buying now may be a smart move because it’s cheaper to buy a life insurance policy when you’re young and healthy. This kind of insurance can help your family cover unexpected costs in your absence, including student loan debt or a mortgage, in addition to end-of-life costs. And if you have kids, a life insurance policy can also support their education or childcare expenses. Additionally, every millennial should consider long-term disability coverage, which helps you stay afloat financially if an accident happens and you become disabled and unable to work.|
|Insurance Buying Tips #5: Talk to an independent agent|
|An independent insurance agent is an essential resource when purchasing insurance—especially if this is your first time. An independent agent works with multiple different carriers, which is different from captive agents who can only sell insurance from the carrier they work for. Working with an independent agent can help make sure that you are getting the best coverage, for the best price. You’ll also benefit from independent agents’ insurance knowledge; they know how to talk you through your options and actually explain what each policy includes. An independent agent will make sure all of your assets are covered, help you find discounts or other ways to save, and be a valuable resource as your life changes and your insurance needs change, too.|
|Insurance Buying Tips #6: Only buy insurance to maintain your existing standard of living|
|You don’t need insurance for events that won’t severely strain your finances. Start with your basic needs (home, auto, business), then work your way to include other needs (cyber, liability). You can always obtain coverage later for something if you change your mind. You can minimize your risk and maximize your savings by buying insurance that won’t cause you to break the bank.|
Salary & Career Outlook
Individuals thinking about becoming insurance agents have good career prospects. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for insurance agents in 2012 was $48,150. Job prospects are good, as the number of jobs is expected to grow by 10 percent over the next decade. As of 2012, there were more than 440,000 agents working in the U.S.
Becoming an Insurance Agent
One of the great things about becoming an agent is that it doesn't require years of college or university. Many agents are high school graduates, although a growing number do have post-secondary degrees. That's not to say that it's easy to become an agent. Agents in each state must master the skills necessary to pass a state licensing exam and many states also have continuing education requirements.
Some agents may also sell other financial products such as mutual funds, variable annuities, and other securities. These agents will need to pass the Series 6 or Series 7 licensing exam, administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, depending on the products they wish to sell.
For individuals who are well-spoken, self-motivated, and devoted to providing excellent customer service, the work of an agent can provide a fun, challenging, and remunerative career.
|Insurance Buying Tips #7: Ask your insurance provider what the policy doesn’t cover|
|Every insurance policy has perils that are not covered by your policy. These perils are referred to as “exclusions”, and every policy has them. Ask your insurance provider to explain the exclusions in your policy to avoid discovering what they are once you incur damages or a loss.|
|Insurance Buying Tips #8: Consider bundling several policies with one insurance carrier|
|here may be value in bundling several policies with one insurance carrier. If you’re looking to insure multiple vehicles or obtain multiple types of business coverage (e.g., liability, property, cyber), then you may want to consider obtaining coverages under one insurance provider who carries multiple products, and who may be able to offer you multi-policy discounts or loyalty programs.|
|Insurance Buying Tips #9: Review your insurance needs on a yearly basis|
|As your needs evolve, so will your insurance policy. Maybe you’ve acquired a new vehicle since obtaining auto insurance for your primary vehicle, or started operating your business out of your home, or experienced a cyber-attack during the year… Whatever the change(s), you’ll want to make sure you’re covered for any new risk exposures. Talk to your insurance provider to stay on top of your insurance needs.|