Insurance agents get a bad rap, as they are often clichédly depicted as being ruthless self-centered people who are only interested in making money. While the cliché is untrue, there are unfortunately some unscrupulous agents out there. So, you need to be aware of any potential red flags when dealing with an insurance agent.
High-pressure Sales Tactics
An ethical insurance agent will give you adequate time to consider the coverage options available to you so that you can make an informed decision about the exact details of your policy. If you find an insurance agent is trying to make you come to a decision quickly, it is definitely a red flag. When an agent tells you that a deal will not last long or a price increase is imminent, he or she will most likely be trying to persuade you to sign on the dotted line quickly. Never give in to high-pressure sales tactics. It is important you take your time to get the right policy for your needs.
Pushing You to Take Extra Coverage When It Is Unnecessary
A reputable insurance agent should not push you into taking additional coverage when it is not necessary. But because insurance agents earn commissions on the premiums you pay, you could come across an unscrupulous agent who is indeed trying to persuade you into taking extra unwanted coverage. For a trustworthy and more straightforward approach, visit a well-known comparison website like Policyscout.com that makes it easy to find the right insurance and understand precisely what is contained in your policy. At PolicyScout, you are matched with multiple insurance companies in your local area to help you find the right one. Whenever you receive your insurance policy, make sure you scrutinize it carefully and understand all the terms to ensure you have not been pushed into taking extra coverage you do not need.
You Are Asked to Pay the Agent Directly
A more severe red flag is when an insurance agent asks you to pay him or her directly. No ethical agents ask you to make checks payable to them. Premium payments should always be sent to your insurance company, not to the agent. So, if an agent asks you to pay directly, never do so. Instead, find another insurance agent.
Low Premiums That Are Too Good to Be True
Everyone wants low premiums. While you can shop around to find the lowest premium and the best deal, if your insurance agent offers you a premium that is so low that it is too good to be true, it is highly probable that the deal really is too good to be true. The agent could be trying to sell a nonexistent policy or one that provides very little coverage.
A Lack of Contact Details and Credentials
If an agent offers you a premium that is suspiciously low, he or she could even not be a real insurance agent. Scammers do unfortunately exist. To ensure that the agent you are dealing with is legitimate, check that he or she has a genuine physical address and not just a mailbox, as well as a phone number and email address. Double-check information online and look for online reviews of your agent too. If the only contact details an agent gives you are his or her email address and cell phone number, it should raise a red flag. The best way of ensuring agents are who they say they are is to ask for the agent’s insurance license number and check it with your state insurance department to verify legitimacy.
The Agent Lies or Asks You to Lie
If an insurance agent tries to persuade you to lie on your claim form to get a better premium, you must say no. You would be committing insurance fraud, which is a criminal act. You do not want to risk prosecution and potential imprisonment for the sake of saving a few bucks. On the other hand, an unscrupulous insurance agent may lie on your insurance application. For instance, he or she could do so to make it look like a business is acceptable to an underwriter by putting “no previous losses” on the application when your business has actually had two claims. If you think your insurance agent has lied on your application, make sure you communicate your concerns to your insurance company.