Senior Care Insurance: A Guide to Finding the Ideal Agent for Your Needs

Article Summary

This article explains how insurance agents can help family caregivers understand and purchase insurance policies, and how to find a good insurance agent.

Key takeaways:

  1. Insurance agents can help people understand their policy benefits and limitations, purchase a policy, and make a claim.
  2. Insurance agents usually work on commission, while brokers may charge a fee.
  3. When looking for an insurance agent, consider their license status, ratings and reviews, and whether they can meet your needs.

How Can an Insurance Agent Help Family Caregivers?

Insurance agents are licensed professionals who help people select and purchase insurance plans. It’s possible to purchase insurance policies without an agent – an increasing number of people purchase policies online – but it can be a big help to have a person to talk to when you have a question or aren’t clear on which policy will best meet your needs.

Most types of insurance offer an array of options, and in some cases – such as with Medicare – there are lots of complex rules, laws, and variables to consider that can make it overwhelming to tackle alone.

Insurance agents may be able to:

  • Help you understand your policy benefits or limitations so you can use them effectively.
  • Help you purchase a policy or change your coverage if needed.
  • Help you find the features you need at the lowest price.
  • Help you make a claim if needed.

How Much Do Insurance Agents Cost?

Insurance agents work for insurance companies. Most operate on commission, so there’s usually no direct cost to you.

You may decide to work with an insurance broker instead. Similar to insurance agents, brokers work for the client, not the insurance company. Some brokers work on commission as well, but others charge a fee. In most cases, brokers will end up saving you enough on premiums or out-of-pocket costs that any fee they charge will quickly pay for itself.

How Do I Find a Good Insurance Agent?

You may be able to find one agent who represents all of your insurance needs, or you may go with several.

  • Decide which type(s) of insurance you need or want to learn more about. Many agencies offer multiple types of insurance, which can often be bundled together at a discounted rate.
    • Some of the most common types of insurance for older adults include:
      • Medicare, Medigap (Medicare supplemental plans), or other health insurance
      • Dental insurance
      • Vision insurance
      • Life insurance
      • Burial insurance
      • Long term care insurance
      • Homeowners or renters insurance
      • Auto insurance
      • Annuities
      • Workers comp and disability insurance (if employing a private caregiver)
  • Locate potential agents. “Captive” agents represent a single insurance agency, while “independent” agents work with multiple companies. Captive agents might offer more in-depth familiarity with their company’s products, but independent agents typically offer a wider selection of plans, often at lower rates.
    • Try one or more of the following suggestions:
      • See Olera’s suggested insurance agents (navigate to your dashboard for service provider profiles recommended for your area).
      • Search online for the type of agent you need (for example: “Medicare Insurance Agents near me”)
      • Call insurance agencies directly.
  • Narrow down the options to your top few choices.
    • Check their license status. Never work with an agent who doesn’t have an up-to-date state license in good standing.
    • Look at ratings and reviews online to get a feeling for how satisfied other clients have been with their service. Yelp, Google Business, RateMyAgent, and Consumer Reports are a few of the platforms which can provide customer reviews.
    • Call and talk to the agent. Many offer free consultations. Determine whether they can meet your needs and see which makes you feel most comfortable.

Author Bio

Laura Herman is an elder and dementia care professional who advocates for better senior care in America. This article has been reviewed by TJ Falohun, co-founder and CEO of Olera. He is a trained biomedical engineer and writes about the cost of healthcare in America for seniors.

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