The Unscrupulous Insurance Agent: 3 Signs

A home owner insurance agent represents the interests of an insurance company that wants to sell you insurance to protect your home. This individual is licensed by the state in which they do business and trained to offer you the right protection for your home. You should look out for signs that the person representing himself or herself to you as a licensed professional is out for your best interests and not their own. There are at least three signs to watch for that will let you know whether the home owner insurance agent you are dealing with is unscrupulous.

Tell Tale Sign #1: Asks for Premium Payment Payable to the Agent

If the insurance agent asks that the insurance premiums be made payable to them, this may be a sign the agent intends to convert or steal funds. When applying for insurance, all checks should be payable to the insurance company issuing the policy, not the insurance agent. An insurance agent is an intermediary for the insurance company and should never be supplied with checks.

Making the check out to the insurance company binds the company for the coverage, based on the receipt. This will eliminate any disputes over whether the coverage was paid for or not when making the check out to the insurance company.

Tell Tale Sign #2: Does Not Completely Fill out the Application
A home owner insurance agent should never ask you to sign blank application pages and tell you that they will fill them out later. You will be told that this is being done for your convenience, but, an agent who obtains blank forms is violating state insurance laws. You have no way to verify what is being applied for and it is possible for the agent to change the terms of the offer once they have secured your signature on the application, a form of bait and switch.

Signing a completed application allows you to see what amount of coverage is being applied. You cannot prove to the insurance company that you did not apply for a policy that has terms different from what you believed them to be if you sign blank applications.

Tell Tale Sign #3: Seems Evasive or Unable to Answer Questions
An agent that seems evasive with his answers or is unable to address your questions about the home owner insurance policy may be covering up some illegal or unethical activity. Asking to speak with a managing agent, will help you get the right home owner coverage. An evasive agent may be covering up lack of knowledge or fraudulent activity.

Check your state's insurance agent's producer database before you meet with any individual that is selling insurance. Ask to see their license to establish whether an individual is properly credentialed, has any disciplinary history or customer complaints and is current with their licensing and education requirements.

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