Consumers Guide to Researching a Fresno Car Insurance Agent

When shopping for auto insurance, there are a lot of options and picking a good California insurance agency is harder than just using the same insurance agency as your neighbor. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume you’re not only searching for a friendly agent, but you also need affordable coverage.

With insurance companies like State Farm, Allstate, Farmers and independent agents all competing for your business, it’s difficult to determine which one will provide you with the best service and rates. Thankfully, it’s easy to use insurance quotes online in order to build a list of agents and price estimates.

Working with a local agent

Professional agents can point out coverage gaps and give you peace of mind. The biggest benefit of comparing rates online is you can get lower rates but still work with a licensed agent. And supporting local agencies is important particularly in Fresno.

Once you complete this quick form, the quote information is immediately sent to companies in Fresno who will give you bids for your coverage. There is no reason to leave your house as quotes are delivered immediately to your email address. How’s that for easy! It’s the lowest rates and work with a local agent.

The type of car insurance agent you choose is important

When finding local Fresno agents, you need to know there are two types of insurance agents that you can select. Insurance agencies in Fresno are categorized either captive or independent (non-captive).

Independent Insurance Agents

These agents do not work for one specific company but rather can write business with multiple insurance companies depending on which coverage is best. If your agent finds better pricing, the agent simply finds a different carrier and that require little work on your part.

When comparing rates, it’s a good idea to get quotes from at least one independent agent to get the best comparison.Most can insure with lesser-known insurance companies which can be an advantage.

Listed below is a list of independent insurance agencies in Fresno who can help you get price quotes.

  • Smith and Smith Insurance – 4124 E Shields Ave – Fresno, CA 93726 – (559) 222-7777
  • Colonial Western Agency Inc – 3855 N West Ave – Fresno, CA 93705 – (559) 248-8908
  • Alegiance Insurance Co – 770 E Shaw Ave # 101 – Fresno, CA 93710 – (559) 225-6584
  • James West Agency – 2526 E Jordan Ave – Fresno, CA 93720 – (559) 297-7300
  • United Valley Agency – 3245 W Figarden Dr – Fresno, CA 93711 – (559) 226-1205
Captive Agents

This type of agents write business for a single company like American Family, State Farm and Allstate. They are unable to compare other company’s rates so they have no alternatives for high prices. These agents are well schooled on the products they sell which can be an advantage. Consumers sometimes buy from captive agents mostly because of loyalty to the company and the convenience of having a single billing for all their coverages.

Shown below are captive agents in Fresno who can help you get rate quotes.

  • Farmers Insurance Group – 1507 N West Ave – Fresno, CA 93728 – (559) 269-9904
  • State Farm Insurance – 6033 N Figarden Dr – Fresno, CA 93722 – (559) 274-0600
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance – 7110 N Fresno St – Fresno, CA 93720 – (559) 435-2144
  • Allstate Insurance – 1677 W Shaw Ave # 105 – Fresno, CA 93711 – (559) 229-5700

To view a full list of captive insurance agents in Fresno, visit this link.

Picking a car insurance agent needs to be determined by more than just a cheap price. Any agent should have no problem answering these questions:

  • How much will you save each year by using a higher deductible?
  • If you have an accident, will your rates go up?
  • Are claim adjusters local or do you have to take your car somewhere else?
  • Does the agent have professional designations like CIC, CPCU or AIC?
  • Is the agency involved in supporting local community causes?

Once you have received answers to your satisfaction and a good coverage price, chances are good that you have found a car insurance agent that can properly insure your vehicles.

Which insurance is the “right” coverage?

When it comes to buying the right insurance coverage for your personal vehicles, there really is not a “best” method to buy coverage. Everyone’s situation is a little different.

For example, these questions may help you determine if your insurance needs might need an agent’s assistance.

  • Should I buy more coverage than the required California minimum liability coverage?
  • Is a new car covered when I drive it off the dealer lot?
  • Exactly who is provided coverage by my policy?
  • Why am I required to buy high-risk coverage?
  • Do I have any recourse if my insurance company denies a claim?
  • Will my vehicle be repaired with OEM or aftermarket parts?
  • Do I need PIP (personal injury protection) coverage in California?
  • What if I total my vehicle and owe more than it’s worth?
  • Can I afford to pay high deductible claims out of pocket?
  • Do I need medical payments coverage since I have good health insurance?

If it’s difficult to answer those questions, then you may want to think about talking to a licensed agent.

Does buying direct online get me lower rates?

Licensed agents are a valuable resource, but California car insurance can also be bought from companies direct over the internet. Some specific companies, such as State Farm, Allstate and Farmers, who have local Fresno agents also allow you to buy direct online, so keep that in mind to possibly find a better rate.

If you’re apprehensive about not getting proper coverage when buying online, this really isn’t an issue. Online insurance companies provide phone numbers and online resources to walk you through the process.

If you’re trying to save the most money, the best approach to discovering if local insurance agents or online providers are cheaper is to get free quotes from both and compare them. You may actually get a different price when comparing agent prices to online quotes from the SAME company. It’s difficult to tell if the lower rates are from agents or online unless you compare quotes for identical coverages each way.

Are car insurance rates lower online? Many people swear by it, but it’s difficult to answer because there are many factors that can increase policy rates. Many people think that buying directly from the company prevents the agent from taking a cut. But the fact is, online and traditional media advertising are expensive so the lack of a commission may be a wash.

Smart shoppers get results

As you go through the steps to switch your coverage, never reduce coverage to reduce premium. Too many times, someone dropped liability coverage limits to discover at claim time that it was a big mistake. The aim is to find the BEST coverage at the best price.

Drivers leave their current company for a variety of reasons including policy non-renewal, high rates after DUI convictions, lack of trust in their agent or policy cancellation. No matter why you want to switch, finding a new company is pretty easy and you might even save some money in the process.

For more information

Much more information about auto insurance in California can be found on the California Department of Insurance website through this link. Visitors are able to view agent and company licensing information, read enforcement actions against agents and companies, and report car insurance fraud.