Check out my interview, Assessing Your Home Insurance Coverage on New Hampshire Homes, one of the top sites for New Hampshire real estate, including Bedford, NH real estate.

Captive Insurance Agent or Independent Insurance Agent?

With the age of everything being readily available directly to imagescustomers, many consumers don’t think about the difference between buying their insurance products from an Independent Agent and buying direct from a major agency using a Captive Agent.  While it may seem like a better “deal” to buy direct, and eliminate the “middleman” that is not always the case.  And while buying direct may seem logical, the consumer may not realize that without an independent agent on their side they are taking a risk that they may make a mistake when choosing coverages. An independent insurance agent is actually your legal representative – your agent – to the insurance company.  Independent Agents are insured and licensed by your state and have the legal and ethical responsibility to put your interests before their own or the insurance company.  They receive commission from the insurance companies but they are your advocate and they work for you. Here is a list of the major differences between working with an Independent Agent and buying direct.

  • Your independent agent can offer a greater variety of policies, costs, and services because they typically have access to several different insurance companies.  Their ability to cross-sell and compare multiple insurers makes it more likely that you’ll receive the lowest available price for their premium than you could get for yourself buying direct.
  • Where a captive agent only has access to insurance from a single company, they are less familiar with the market and the competition than your Independent Agent who is motivated to have the knowledge to get you the best price and coverage. An independent agent will work closely with you to understand your needs and develop a relationship of trust.
  • Over time your insurance needs will change, your independent agent can quickly and easily adjust your coverages or tailor a new policy to suit your needs at no cost to you. If you buy directly you must personally make the changes and possibly even have to change insurance companies, this can be confusing and time consuming.
  • Independent agents can handle all of your insurance needs. An agent typically sells a variety of insurance products and often both personal and commercial. They can work with you to satisfy all your insurance needs. That way you only have one place to look when you have questions or need new products.
  • Insurance is a complicated subject and your agent has trained and studied it, and knows how to communicate it to you so that you understand it as well. If there are any hidden surprises, a licensed agent will know where they are.
  • Lastly, if your agent makes a mistake (such as selling you an insurance policy that is supposed to but doesn’t meet your needs), the agent is responsible if they fail to act properly in your interests.  If you buy direct for yourself you are now solely responsible for your coverage decisions and any mistakes in coverage you make.We’d love to hear your comments. Let us know which option you think is better and why.


You discover water where it
should not be.. leaksuch as coming from under the sink or in the ceiling!!  Now what do you do?

If you have a leak at your toilet, sink or washer machine, the very first thing you should do is shut off the water at the source as soon as possible.  It is best to familiarize yourself with these sources before a leak event.  We have listed here where to find the sources:

  • Toilet:  Look under the toilet, against the wall.  There should be flexible metal tubing with a handle visible.  Turn the handle clockwise until the handle stops.  Do not force the handle to turn past it’s natural stopping point.
  • Sink:  Look under the sink in the sink cabinet, there may be two sets of flexible metal tubing and handle.  Turn the handle clockwise until it stops to shut off the water.
  • Washer machine:  Some houses have the valves clearly exposed above and behind the washer.  Turn both valves clockwise.  If they are not clearly exposed you may have to slide the washer outward to find them.

If you have another type of water leak such as a burst pipe or cannot find a shut-off at the source of the problem, locate the main shut-off in your home.  This is the valve that supplies water to the entire house.  Closing this valve (clockwise) will cut off your entire water supply located in the basement or in a utility area and therefore stop the flow of water from the leak.  Once you have stemmed the flow of water leaking call a plumber and schedule repair and a professional restoration company if clean-up and restoration is needed.

Call your Independent Insurance Agent to alert them of your situation and they will help you with the claims process.  Make sure you have discussed with your Independent Agent your insurance coverage for this and other types of emergencies to be sure that you have proper coverage.  An Independent Agent can make sure you have the best coverage at a price that fits in your budget.

Do you have a water leak story to share?