What Sorts Of Services Can You Get Through An Insurance Agency?

Leaving home and setting up your own independent life can be both freeing and frightening. It can also be very confusing, with so many new things to think about. Insurance is one of these things -- or rather, several, once you realize how many policies you need -- and an insurance agent can guide you through which coverage would apply to your situation. When you first start looking for insurance, it helps to know which types you can find through the agent and which types might require additional searching.

The Basics: Homeowners, Renters, and Auto

Your insurance agent will be able to set up home and auto policies for you easily. You can discuss the types of specific coverage, such as a jewelry rider, that you might need for your homeowners or renters insurance. If you live in a flood plain, you'll also need flood insurance. If you're in California, your agent can sign you up for earthquake insurance; this insurance is technically managed by a nonprofit agency, the California Earthquake Authority, but statements and premiums are handled by the insurance agent's office.

Life, Accident, and Disability Insurance

You may not think you need life insurance when you're just starting out, but if you can afford to add it, your insurance agent can help you there, too. Remember that you don't need to get all your insurance through the same company or even the same agent, so if you find another life insurance policy through another company -- it's common for places like credit unions and auto clubs to offer smaller policies, too -- looking into those won't jeopardize your other policies.

Retirement Annuities

One interesting type of insurance policy is the annuity. This is a policy where, instead of paying a premium each month for a payout to your heirs after you die, you place a sum of money in the annuity and start receiving payments yourself at a specific time. Depending on the type of policy, you can start immediately or defer the payments until another time, like retirement. These accounts do accrue interest (and there are tax implications). While these sound like something you'd get from a bank, you'd more than likely find them through your insurance company.

General Liability

If you're starting a business and need general liability insurance, your insurance agent can set that up as well. Again, this is one policy where you may end up going with a different company than the one that provides your car insurance, but it can also be the same one.

A Note About Health Insurance

You're not going to get health, dental, or vision insurance through the agency that gives you your car insurance. However, that agency may offer health insurance broker services or be able to refer you to a broker. If you don't get health insurance through work and need to look on the state exchange for a policy, a broker can help sift through the details of each to find a policy you like.

When you're starting out, property and car insurance are really the big two (other than health insurance). Start with those and then keep looking at different types of coverage as you can afford to add more policies. Look into several insurance services and make sure you're getting all the coverage you need.