Dealing with a bad insurance agent can be incredibly frustrating. You may find yourself stuck with poor customer service, lack of communication, or an agent who just doesn’t understand your needs. The good news is that in most cases, you can switch to a new agent without having to change insurance companies.
Switching agents gives you the opportunity to find an agent who provides better service and is a better match for your needs. This allows you to keep the same insurance carrier and policy that you’re familiar with.
Here’s an in-depth look at how to switch insurance agents within the same insurance company, along with tips for finding the right agent for you.
When to Consider Switching Agents
There are several common reasons you may want to replace your current insurance agent:
Poor customer service – Unresponsive to calls/emails, doesn’t explain policies or coverage, lacks follow through
Lack of availability – Hard to get ahold of, doesn’t have convenient office hours
Personality conflicts – You simply don’t get along well with the agent
Moving to a new area – Want an agent located closer to your new home
Office closure – Your agent retired or the agency closed
If you’re experiencing any agent-specific issues like these, switching to a new agent within the same insurance company can often resolve the problem.
How to Find a New Agent
The first step is identifying new agent options in your area that represent your insurance company. Here are some tips:
Check your insurer’s website – Most have a “find an agent” search tool where you can search by location.
Ask family and friends – See if anyone you know has an agent they recommend.
Search online – Look for highly reviewed agents in your area that sell policies from your insurance company.
Contact your insurer – You can call customer service and ask for recommendations.
Stop by local agencies – Visit ones in your area and ask if they sell your insurance carrier’s policies.
Spend time researching multiple agents so you can find one that looks like a good fit.
Interview New Agent Candidates
Once you’ve found a few potential new agents, take some time to interview them. Here are some things to ask:
- What are their customer service philosophies and practices?
- How do they prefer to communicate with clients – phone, email, text, etc?
- Are they available for meetings outside regular business hours if needed?
- Do they have experience handling the types of insurance policies you need?
- Will they review your current coverage to see if improvements can be made?
Explain any issues you’ve had with your previous agent and how the new agent would handle similar situations. Make sure you feel confident they can provide better service and meet your needs.
Request a Policy Transfer
When you’ve selected a new insurance agent you want to switch to, they will handle requesting the transfer from the insurer. Here’s the typical process:
The new agent will have you complete a Policy Transfer Request form with your policy details and signature.
They will submit this form to your insurance company’s customer service or underwriting department.
The insurer will process the request and transfer your policy data to the new agent.
Confirmation paperwork will be sent once the transfer is complete.
For most insurance policies, this is all it takes to switch agents within the same insurance company. Just be aware that timing matters:
Auto and homeowners insurance – Transfers typically only occur at your renewal date.
Life insurance – Can usually transfer immediately upon request.
Health insurance – Have to wait until your next open enrollment period in most cases.
So with policies like auto insurance, you may have to wait until renewal time to officially complete the switch to your new agent.
Will My Rates Change?
The good news is your insurance rates should not be affected strictly by switching to a new insurance agent. That’s because you’re keeping the same insurance company and policy.
However, if your policy is renewing at the same time as the transfer, your rates could change at renewal as they normally would. The transfer itself does not impact your premium, but other factors like:
- Changes in your risk profile
- Rate increases by your insurer
- Changes in state insurance laws
- Reassessment of your property value
Could all affect your insurance rates at renewal time, which coincides with the transfer to your new agent in many cases.
So while the agent switch itself shouldn’t increase your rates, be aware your premium could change at renewal even without switching agents.
Canceling Your Previous Agent
You typically do not have to formally notify your previous agent when you switch. The insurance company handles informing the old agent about the transfer.
The insurer may also send you a notification when the transfer is processed showing your new agent’s information. At that point, your old agent will no longer have access to service your policy.
Your old agent may reach out to find out why you switched. You can simply let them know you found a new agent who is a better fit. If they press further, be honest about the reasons you were unsatisfied.
There’s no need to feel guilty about switching agents as it’s your right as a policyholder. Focus on your positive new agent relationship.
Tips for Choosing the Right Agent
Finding an insurance agent who meets your needs and provides great service is important. Keep these tips in mind:
Clearly outline what you expect from your agent upfront regarding communication, availability, and service.
Don’t hesitate to switch again if the new agent ends up not living up to expectations. You can keep looking until you find the right fit.
Consider using an independent insurance agent. They have flexibility to switch your insurance company if needed.
Make sure the agent has expertise with your specific insurance needs.
Look for agents who proactively provide advice to maximize your coverage.
Seek out agents with excellent customer service ratings and reviews.
Taking the time to find the right insurance agent is worth the effort and will save you headaches in the long run. Don’t settle for subpar service – take control and switch to an agent who exceeds your expectations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I switch agents anytime?
For auto, homeowners, and other policies that renew annually, you typically have to wait until your next renewal date to transfer to a new agent within the same insurance company. Life insurance and health insurance policies can usually transfer anytime upon request.
Do I need to cancel my policy when I switch agents?
No, you don’t need to cancel your current insurance policy. The new agent will handle requesting that your insurer transfer your policy over to them. Your coverage will remain the same.
Does switching agents affect my insurance history?
No, your prior insurance history will stay intact when you switch insurance agents. It will not reset any tenure discounts you’ve earned or count as a new policy. As long as you stay with the same insurance carrier, your policy history remains unchanged.
Can I switch if I’ve already filed a claim?
Yes, you can switch insurance agents even if you have an open claim with your current agent and insurance company. The new agent will take over servicing the claim moving forward. The change will not impact your claim.
What if there are no other agent options nearby?
If no other local agents are available with your insurance company, you may need to consider switching providers to find a new agent. Or look for an independent agent willing to take on your policy. While less convenient, remote agents are an option.
The Bottom Line
Being stuck with a bad insurance agent can make policy management, claims, and customer service incredibly frustrating. But in most cases you can switch to a new agent without having to change insurance companies or policies. This allows you to maintain your current coverage while getting better service.
Take the time to research new agent options in your area, interview candidates, and find someone who exceeds your expectations in terms of availability, communication, and expertise. By taking control of the situation, you can ensure you get an insurance agent who provides the service and support you deserve.
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