More than ever these days, customers have their eyes on prices. Here’s how to help them understand that an inexpensive choice now may cost a lot more later.
Insurance advertisements are everywhere. We're all accustomed to their kooky characters and catchy jingles. But have you ever noticed how most advertising never digs deep into actual coverage? That's not a bug, it's a feature: When price-focused direct carriers don't discuss actual coverage, consumers often assume all policies are the same. And if that's true, all they need to compare is the price.
Independent agents know that price isn't the only thing worth thinking about. Insurance is important and choices should be made carefully when selecting coverage. But the average consumer does not know this. Most consumers have never had a single conversation about coverage, let alone considered how options vary from carrier to carrier. By providing the right advice to customers, you can help them understand what they should consider beyond price.
Highlight the Cost of Coverage Gaps
Given the state of the world and the rapid incline of inflation, it's understandable that consumers are paying closer attention to how much their insurance policies are costing them. But what many of them forget to consider is that the cost of a coverage gap down the line can hit their wallet significantly harder than it would have if they filled that gap by paying more upfront.
When encountering a price-focused customer, it's useful to show them exactly where the hidden costs might come down the line. By taking a close look at your customer's current coverage, you can point out the exposures and advise them on how they can acquire more comprehensive protection.
Consider Your Customer's Future Assets
Consumers are frequently more worried about the costs in front of them than the costs down the line. As an independent agent who offers ease, choice and advice, you can educate your customers and help them understand that the decisions they make today can seriously impact their futures.
For instance, a medical student in heavy debt may be thinking short term and trying to save money to pay off their loans. But what they might not realize is that setting lower liability limits on an insurance policy today could result in garnished wages after they've graduated and taken on a high-paying job as a doctor.
If that doctor throws a party at which an attendee drinks too much, drives home and causes an accident, they may very well get hit with a lawsuit. And it'll pay out based on the doctor's current wage, not the wage they made when they bought their insurance policy. You know this, but your customers likely don't.
Without the guidance of an independent agent, many students and young professionals will wind up with policies that don't offer the protection they'll eventually need.
Provide a Worst-Case Scenario
Consumers may not realize the dire situations that can be caused by coverage gaps. For instance, business lines customers might not believe they need cyber coverage. But all you have to do is point to recent headlines when ransomware attacks caused major disruptions to hospitals, financial firms and school districts.
Attorneys, accountants and medical practitioners don't always expect to be targeted by cybercriminals. But their systems hold enormous amounts of sensitive data: social security numbers, credit card numbers, private medical details and more. In our interconnected, digital world, hackers can cause a lot of damage very quickly—your advice and examples can guide customers toward the proper protection against them.
Ask the Right Questions
One of the simplest things you can ask a client is: “How do you know you have the right coverage?" This isn't a “gotcha" moment. Don't attack them or make them uncomfortable. Just let them know that most customers don't know how to answer that question, and use your insurance knowledge to help them find coverage that actually fits their needs.
Another question worth asking is: “Have you ever filed an insurance claim before?" If they haven't or it's been a while, they may not understand the myriad ways that the claims experience differs from carrier to carrier. The reality here often is “you get what you pay for." A bad claims experience that causes headaches for your customer is usually not worth the amount they'll save at the time of purchase.
Asking customers what their most valuable possessions are—aside from their car and home—can reveal other potential coverage gaps that you can help fill. Furthermore, you can ask what they know about umbrella coverage and use that to start the conversation about the importance of liability coverage.
Getting specific with your customers about their coverage options allows you to display your value as a risk advisor. And that helps set you apart from the price-focused carriers your customers have surely seen on TV. Cheap insurance isn't always good insurance: It's up to you to help your customers understand that.