This is not an easy one to answer. It pre-supposes you can trust your agent to put your interests about the insurance carrier’s interests. We know agents are supposed to do this, however they do not always do it.
We have seen insurance policies with $250,000/$500,000 in bodily injury liability coverage, yet the UM/UIM coverage is signed down to $50,000/$100,000, unstacked, and the insured elected limited tort.
Here is our advice:
1. Try to find a family trusted agent or representative. Use an agent or representative someone in your family has used for many years and has nothing but good things to say about. Don’t pick an agent based on advertising or convenience of his or her office location (you won’t be going there all that often.)
2. Consider hiring an insurance broker or representative, not an agent who is captive to one insurance carrier. He or she works for you and he places you with the insurance carrier best suited to your insurance needs and situation. Different carriers cater to different markets—brand new drivers, elderly drivers, drivers with no personal assets, drivers with over a million dollars in personal assets, drivers who barely drive, drivers who put on 50,000 miles per year, etc.
3. Always take full tort, not limited tort. Remember full tort means full right to sue. Limited tort means limited right to sue.
4. Choose uninsured/under-insured motorist coverage, which protects YOU and your family from the harm which could be caused by an uninsured, or inadequately insured, motorist. These are usually first party coverages and they protect YOU and yours, not third parties.
5. Feel free to consult us. We do not hold ourselves out to be insurance agents or representatives. We have no insurance certificates or licensures. But we know liability. We know the difference between an automobile insurance policy which protects you and yours, and one which does not. And we never, ever work for the insurance companies. We work for you.
You need to do what is best for you and your family, which is not necessarily what your agent wants you to do. Some types of coverage are much costlier than others for your insurance company. They tend not to love UM/UIM coverage, for example.
Get Help When Deciding on Insurance Coverage
Ideally, your agent’s interests and yours are one and the same, but that is not necessarily true. Feel free to talk to us before you choose insurance coverage or even after, because you can change your coverage at any time you wish, not just at the end of a policy period.