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Insurance Agents: What They Do For You

Written by Michele Wilmonen. Posted in Definitions Last Updated: 05/01/2011

Insurance agents have the option of being an independent agent or exclusive agent and have the option of selling many different types of insurance.

Insurance Agent at her Desk

Your insurance agent is there to help you with your insurance needs.

The simple definition of an insurance agent is someone that sells insurance products. There are insurance agents in just about every city and town across the nation and they can be independent agents and sell for a number of different insurance companies or they can be agents that sell just for one company.

Agents are not bound to selling just one type of insurance either; they can also sell different insurance products just as long as they are licensed in the states that they sell in.

Independent Agents

An independent insurance agent is just what it sounds like – an insurance agent that is an independent entity not attached to any insurance company in particular. Independent agents pick and choose what insurance companies that they want to sell and can sell for a number of different companies all at the same time.

The benefit of being an independent agent is that you can offer your potential clients a number of different insurance companies to quote so that they can chose which one to go with. This option gives an independent agent the upper hand in selling to new clients and also in being able to keep clients that are already on their books, when they are not happy with the insurance company that they are currently with.

Exclusive Agents

Opposite of the independent insurance agent are the agents that exclusively sell just one insurance company’s products. They are not employees of the insurance company that they sell for, but more like independent sales agents that only have one thing to sell. These agents specialize in one company and are more familiar with the ins and outs of the single company that they sell for, more so than the independent agent that sells for multiple companies.

Agents Sell Different Insurance Lines

While we concentrate on auto insurance here at, insurance agents have a broader insurance approach. An agent that is licensed to sell auto insurance can also be licensed to sell home, commercial, crop, fleet insurance, specialty and health insurance. The more insurance lines that they are able to write for, the more money they can make.

How do You Become an Agent?

To sell insurance as an agent you have to first be licensed in the state that you are planning on selling insurance in. Each state has different rules, regulations and procedures for you to follow in order to get your insurance license. The one thing that is the same in every state is that you are required to pass a licensing test before you can be licensed to sell insurance in that state.

To find out what these requirements are contact your state insurance commissioner or visit their website for more information. If you are already working for an insurance agency, the agent that you are working for can also be a good resource for information on how to obtain your license.

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Michele Wilmonen

Michele's first introduction to insurance was working for a major insurance company as a file clerk and a mailroom supervisor in a regional office. She learned insurance directly from underwriters and claims adjusters from questions and also watching them do their job. Since then, she's earned a number of insurance certifications from the Insurance Institute of America and also a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho. She blogs at Car Insurance Guidebook.

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