What questions should I ask my health insurance broker?

Buying insurance is an important step in protecting the things you care about the most. Even more important than purchasing an insurance policy is finding the right Insurance Broker. Not only will a good broker help you get the policy that’s right for you, they’ll make sure it affords you the coverage you need.

There are a lot of options for insurance out there and no shortage of providers to choose from. Before you take out a policy, make sure you’re working with the right insurance professional. Here are four important questions to ask them and the kinds of answers you should be looking for.

Are you a captive agent or an independent broker?

There are distinct differences between these two types of insurance professionals. A captive agent is tied to a particular carrier. Sometimes they are employees. While they are extremely knowledgeable with regards to their own company’s products, they cannot assist you further. When dealing with an independent broker, they are able to find coverage options from a variety of carriers. They are independent and well versed on the industry as a whole, not just one plan. This puts them in a position to help you make the best choice instead of looking at one product.

How long have you been an insurance professional?

This should be important to you, so you can gauge their knowledge and expertise.  This is not to say all newer agents aren’t good professionals, but experience speaks for its self

What is your service after we sign up for the policy?

When you enroll in an insurance policy, that is not the end of the relationship with your broker, it is just the beginning. You want to be able to reach your broker for any clarifications you may have. You also want your broker available to assist you with claims, issues and provide resources when you are unsure what direction to take.

What other products do you offer?

Even if you are no looking to enroll in other policies at that time, you should ask your broker what other products they do you offer like auto insurance, homeowners insurance, and renters insurance, ID Theft Protection or Pet Insurance. This is an easy way to know if they are brokers, not a captive agent. Find out all the options available to you.

There is a lot gained from having an open, candid conversation with your insurance broker. Don’t be afraid to ask the questions above to learn a little bit more about them, the policies they provide and the line of work they’re in.