Mark Garetz, CSA
Insurance Specialist
Certified Senior Advisor

Life Insurance - Health Insurance - Annuities - Long-Term Care Insurance - Disability Insurance - Homeowners Insurance - Auto Insurance

Serving the Tri-Valley Area: Danville, Blackhawk, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, Alamo, Walnut Creek and Livermore



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Why an Independent Agent?

There are two types of agents: independent and captive.

A captive agent represents only one company (or family of companies).  They must place all their business through that one company (or at least give that company the first chance at the business).  They can only pick and choose between that company's products to find a product that meets your needs.  And if the product is too costly or doesn't have the features you need, they have nowhere to go.  They'll have to recommend a product that really isn't right for you.

On the other hand, an independent agent can choose from a huge variety of products and companies to find the exact product that best fits your needs, and more importantly, your budget.

Not only can an independent agent find the best features, but price is often a function of how the insurance company rates your health.  One company may have higher blood pressure limits than another, or may place less emphasis on a certain condition.  Matching the company's rating criteria with your health history can often result in you being rated more favorably and result in a lower premium.  A captive agent doesn't have this flexibility and that can often cost you.

That's just one of the ways independent agents can save you money.  The products an independent agent offers are usually less expensive than the same or similar product offered by a captive agent, even if you are rated the same. Why?  Many reasons, but a large one is the cost of advertising and marketing.  It costs a fortune to keep the Company name in front of you.  You know all their slogans.  That serves a purpose:  it gives you confidence and trust in that company.  You feel safer doing business with a big name brand.  But it costs money and they pass the cost on to you.  Do independent agents sell products from smaller companies?  Sometimes, but not usually.  Often the companies I use are even larger, or are in fact divisions of the same companies with the big names!  And the companies I use are often rated higher than the "big boys".

And don't be fooled by the "multiple products" discount where you get a discount if you have other policies with the same company (the only time this really works is when you combine autos and homeowners into one policy).  Even taking their discount into account, I can usually quote you a significantly better price.  (Captive agents are under a lot of pressure to "cross-sell" you all their products and can often be terminated if they don't cross-sell a certain percentage of their clients.  So who are they working for?  You or the insurance company?  I work for you.)

In closing, I could have easily been a captive agent.   If I had to sell you a product that wasn't quite right (or was too expensive) because it was my only option, that would bother me. But I want to be able to sleep at night knowing that I've sold you a product that is right for you.  And I couldn't do that if I was a captive agent. So I decided to be an independent agent.  It works for me and it works for you.

No High Pressure, Ever!

2248 Camino Ramon
San Ramon, CA  94583
CA License #0E08278