If you’re looking to buy auto insurance, choosing the right Santa Barbara insurance agency takes more work than just picking up the phone. Chances are you require not only a great agent that can assess your needs, but you also want affordable coverage.
With companies like American Family, Allstate, State Farm and Farmers having local Santa Barbara offices, it’s difficult to determine which car insurance agent will have the best rates, service and coverage. To help decide, consumers can use online quoting in order to build a list of insurance agencies from which to choose.
Comparing rates from local agents
Insurance agents can point out coverage gaps and give you someone to call. One of the best bonuses of price shopping on the web is that you can obtain the best rates but also keep your business local. And supporting local insurance agencies is definitely important in Santa Barbara.
Once you complete this short form, your information is emailed to agents in your area who will compete for your coverage. You don’t have to drive around because quoted prices will be sent directly to your email. How cool is that?! Get lower rates AND an agent nearby.
Is a captive or independent insurance agent right for you?
When finding a reliable agent, there are two different types of agents from which to choose. Santa Barbara agents are classified as either independent or captive.
Independent Agencies or Brokers
Independent agents do not work for one specific company so they have the ability to put coverage with multiple insurance companies enabling the ability to shop coverage around. If your agent finds better pricing, your agent can switch companies and you won’t have to switch agencies. When searching for an agent, you should always include price quotes from at least one independent agent for the best price selection. Many write coverage with lesser-known insurance companies which may provide better rates.
Shown below is a short list of independent agents in Santa Barbara who may be able to give you price quotes.
- MFC and V Insurance – 1025 Chapala St – Santa Barbara, CA 93101 – (805) 965-0071
- Santa Barbara Insuring Agency – 1731 State St – Santa Barbara, CA 93101 – (805) 569-0731
- Barry Rahm Insurance – 1074 Diamond Crest Ct – Santa Barbara, CA 93110 – (805) 683-6311
Captive Insurance Agents
Captive agents write business for a single company such as American Family, State Farm and Allstate. Captives cannot compare other company’s rates so it’s a take it or leave it situation. They receive extensive training on their products and sales techniques which helps them sell insurance even at higher premiums. Some consumers prefer to choose to use a captive agent mainly due to loyalty to the company and solid financial strength.
The following are captive insurance agencies in Santa Barbara that are able to give price quote information.
- Liberty Mutual Insurance – 207 W Mission St – Santa Barbara, CA 93101 – (805) 898-2637
- State Farm Insurance – 1809 Cliff Dr # A – Santa Barbara, CA 93109 – (805) 965-8934
- Farmers Insurance Group – 5122 Hollister Ave – Santa Barbara, CA 93111 – (805) 967-1278
- Allstate Insurance – 3887 State St # 211 – Santa Barbara, CA 93105 – (805) 682-6155
For a complete listing of captive agents in Santa Barbara, click here to link.
Selecting an insurance agency should depend on more than just the bottom line cost. Agents should be asked these questions:
- How long has their agency been in business in Santa Barbara?
- Does the agency provide any after hours assistance?
- Does the agency have a good rating with the Better Business Bureau?
- How long have they worked with personal auto insurance coverage?
- Can they provide you with a list of referrals?
- Is vehicle damage repaired with OEM or aftermarket parts?
- Did they already check your driving record and credit reports?
Once you have acceptable answers for all questions you ask and locked in a price quote, you’ve probably found an insurance agency that can provide auto insurance coverage.
What about online companies that cut out the middleman?
Insurance agencies can be invaluable at times, but California consumers also have the option to buy directly from online companies. Even companies, such as Farmers Insurance and State Farm, who have local agents in Santa Barbara additionally provide the ability to buy direct online. This is something to consider and can also potentially find you lower rates.
If you’re apprehensive about choosing your own coverages when buying direct, this really isn’t an issue. Online companies provide access to licensed agents for answering any questions you have. They also offer online help and live chat to help you make a buying decision.
If you just want to find lower premiums, the most effective way to determine whether prices are lower online or from agents is getting rates for as many of both types of providers as possible. It’s possible to get different rates from agents as you do online from the exact same provider.
Will auto insurance cost less online? A lot of shoppers won’t buy anywhere else, but it’s impossible to say because there are many factors that determine the price you pay. It’s logical to say that buying direct saves the commission normally paid to an agent. But the reality is it’s expensive to advertise and that can quickly cost more than paying an agent.
More California auto insurance resources
Much more information about auto insurance in California is located on the California Department of Insurance website through this link. Consumers can find out industry alerts, file complaints about an insurance agent or broker, and read enforcement actions against agents and companies.
Smart consumers save more
As you shop your coverage around, don’t be tempted to buy poor coverage just to save money. In many cases, drivers have reduced full coverage only to discover later that saving that couple of dollars actually costed them tens of thousands. Your aim should be to buy the best coverage you can find at an affordable rate.
Consumers leave their current company for many reasons like an unsatisfactory settlement offer, delays in responding to claim requests, delays in paying claims or even being labeled a high risk driver. It doesn’t matter what your reason, finding the right auto insurance provider can be less work than you think.