Howdy, folks! This week marks the one-year anniversary of The Zebra’s resource for all of your insurance questions: Ask an Agent. (Ahem, ASK-iversary.) I’m Neil Richardson, a licensed insurance agent, and I have spent much of the last year answering hundreds of questions from people all over the country.
Early last year, I was trying to figure out how to share valuable insurance knowledge that could answer questions people had that were specific to their situation. In the digital world of today, you can find and buy insurance policies online without ever having to speak to an agent. If you called an agent just to ask for their expertise or advice (which most people need for something as complex as insurance), you might get an answer that’s biased toward a certain insurance company. And even with the wealth of information available online (including here on Quoted), there was no single resource allowing people to ask an expert about their own individual insurance needs, coverage, and policies – until last year, that is. Being the resident insurance nerd here at The Zebra, helping people navigate the complicated world of insurance is what I do best. So, we created Ask an Agent.
How does it work?
All you have to do is visit the question submission page and yours truly will be there to provide advice. Ask a question about your own insurance needs, confusing terms… anything at all! I’ll get back to you within 24 hours. You can also browse our list of all the questions that have been asked by previous users.
We have received questions from every single state – from Alaska to Florida, Maine to Hawaii and all states in between. You can even search answers by state (which is important because insurance varies widely based on the state you live in).
Over the past year, I’ve answered more than 500 questions and reached more than 36,000 people. Pretty neat, huh?
The questions I’ve covered have ranged from confusing insurance terms to what to do after a multiple-vehicle accident. Some questions have straightforward answers. Others, not so much. A few examples:
Since it is possible to have a vehicle titled and registered in your name while under the age of 18 then there are companies that will insure under-aged drivers on their own policy. Not every carrier will but there are hundreds of companies that do so rest assured that you have options; it’s just going to require that you shop around to find the right company for your needs.
In the event that your state has suspended your license and requires that you have an SR22 then you will need to purchase an auto insurance policy. For people who do not own a car but are required to carry an SR22 then the solution is a non-owners insurance policy. This type of policy will offer the same coverage as basic auto insurance while not being specific to a vehicle. Generally these policies are much less expensive than a traditional auto policy and adding an SR22 will allow you to comply with the state’s requirement to reinstate your license. You wouldn’t need to purchase a car just to comply with your state’s requirement.
Other questions I’ve received have much more subjective answers and require consultation with an agent to make the most informed decision. Lots of folks have asked me: “Should I file a claim or pay out of pocket after a crash?” or “Why is my car insurance more expensive than last year?”
When it comes to such a confusing topic like insurance, it’s important for people to remember that there are no stupid questions. It’s better to ask and be informed than avoid a question simply out of embarrassment.
The Zebra’s State of Auto Insurance Report also helps provide some much-needed clarity to subjects that are often difficult to answer, particularly around how certain things impact your car insurance rates.
The top 5 Ask an Agent questions:
- What should I do with my car insurance after I pay off my car loan?
- Can I insure a vehicle that I don’t own?
- Does car insurance cover rodent damage?
- Does car insurance cover a U-haul?
- Can I get car insurance without a home address?
As beneficial as Ask an Agent has been for our users, the exposure has also lead to some really cool opportunities for me to share insurance information through additional outlets. Reporters from Forbes, NPR, Bloomberg Businessweek, and even local news stations like KENS5 in San Antonio, Texas have reached over the past year for answers and perspective on trends and changes in insurance.
I’ve enjoyed getting to reach additional drivers with tips and tricks on how to navigate the complicated world of insurance. This wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous reception Ask an Agent has received so I’d like to take a moment to thank all of the people who have submitted questions, provided comments, and checked out our posts!
We have big plans for Ask an Agent moving forward. We’re now adding resources for all your questions around homeowners, condo, renters, motorcycle, boat, and RV insurance lines. Although these subjects are new to Ask an Agent, I have been licensed in these fields for years and look forward to providing advice on a much larger scale beyond auto coverage.
And if you have an insurance question you can’t seem to answer, just ask me!