With so many insurance options, it’s helpful to distinguish between the different types of providers to determine which one might make sense for you. Here are a few common types you can choose from:

Online insurance aggregators

An insurance aggregator allows you to quickly compare prices from various insurance companies online. They may even allow you to purchase insurance on the spot. Understand, however, that the insurance company can’t quote an exact rate until they actually look up and verify your personal records and insurance claims history. Also, keep in mind that these sites will ask for personal information, such as your phone number and Social Security number. Don’t give out this private data unless you know the site is secure – for example, check for https in the URL – and you are ready to make a purchase.

Independent insurance agents and brokers

Independent insurance agents and brokers work with multiple insurance companies and can help you compare quotes from a variety of providers. Working through an independent agent or broker can save you time, because they can do some of the research for you. They can also make recommendations about different policies, because they aren’t limited to choosing from a single company’s offerings.

Direct providers

A direct provider is an insurance company that sells directly to you through a proprietary agent, customer service representative, or online through its website. If you know which insurance company you want to work with, this may be a good option, and they will provide quotes and options from the company they represent.

As a consumer, freedom of choice is one of the most powerful tools on your side. Deciding how to buy insurance is up to you. Regardless of which method you use, make sure you select an insurance provider who will be there for you when you need it. And always keep in mind that if you bundle multiple policies, such as auto and homeowners insurance, most providers will offer you a discount.

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