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Maybe buying insurance should take longer than 10 minutes

You’re busy. Between work, family and a never-ending to-do list, there’s not much time left to research and buy insurance. So how much time should you actually carve out to get the right coverage?

Of course, speed is always a priority. It’s partly why digital insurance offerings such as chatbots and online quoting tools are growing in popularity. But the ‘quick to click’ online model can only take you so far, and you’ll likely have questions that are best answered by a broker.

Is there a faster approach to buying insurance?

In many cases, by using both digital and traditional tools and services, you can actually save time to purchase while also ensuring you’re properly covered.

“Our digital broker partners are offering the choice to see added value through the digital experience, allowing their customers to get that fast online service. At the same time, they are still providing access to a broker who can provide them with personalized advice,” says Paul Fast, Manager of Executive Office Business Development with Wawanesa Insurance.

So, it doesn’t have to be an “either/or” option. Whether buying insurance in person or online, you may still want access to the expertise of a broker to guide you in the right direction and help you avoid costly mistakes.

Here are eight tips to help guide the insurance buying process:

1. Do your online research (without getting stuck)

Digital services are convenient — and you can often purchase 24/7, whenever it fits your schedule. But you can also end up more confused than before, entering an online research wormhole after looking at countless sites. So consider this only part of your process. Don’t worry if you haven’t found every answer — just write down your questions while you get comfortable with the terminology and what you might need to consider for coverage.

2. Get chatty with a broker (even if it’s an online chat)

While digital insurance is here to stay, traditional options aren’t going anywhere either. We’re now seeing the emergence of hybrid approaches, where brokers offer a combination of digital services with human consultation and advice.

Now’s the time to get the answers to your online research questions. Whether talking to a broker in person, on the phone or via online chat, they can also walk you through digital quoting tools and review your coverage options. Insurance is not always ‘one size fits all’.

3. Understand the vocabulary

If you don’t know the difference between “sewer backup” and “overland water” coverage, for example, a broker can explain it to you in plain English. If you purchase one and not the other, you could find yourself without coverage when you discover water in your basement.

Your broker can help you understand all these terms, what common situations you could encounter, and then help you pick the right coverage for your home.

4. Avoid gaps in coverage & costly mistakes

“When purchasing an insurance policy there may be sub-limits or potential gaps in coverage,” says Fast. “A broker can provide you with knowledge to make the right decision for the coverage you feel is appropriate for you.”

Purchasing the wrong coverage can lead to costly mistakes — and a broker can help you avoid those errors. Often with digital insurance options, people make a decision based on the cheapest price. Or they don’t want to spend a lot of time going through all the options, which can lead to not fully understanding any gaps in coverage. Even a small, innocent oversight could lead to a claim denial.

5. Double check your list

Although you might want to make a quick decision at this point, double check that you truly understand all the answers to your questions. There’s a reason why this process shouldn’t always take just 10 minutes, particularly when you’re dealing with your most valuable assets. If you aren’t quite clear, revisit steps one and two. You’ll thank yourself later.

Having someone in your corner at this step can provide peace of mind. That way, if a future worst-case scenario does indeed happen, you know you’re covered. Nobody ever wants to imagine a situation where their home catches fire and is damaged beyond repair, taking with it all their belongings and possessions. At that point, the time you spent going over all your options with a broker will have been well worth it — not the ‘quick and easy’ purchase that felt convenient at the time.

6. Check out with your broker

Whether online or in person, your broker can help you complete your application. After you make an insurance purchase, they will also make sure your needs have been met and any follow-up questions are answered. Lean on them to make sure you’re covered.

7. Have an advocate on your side

If, in the future, you do need to make a claim, you’ll be able to refer to information on websites and access digital tools. But when speed is a factor, as is often the case when it comes to difficult situations involving your home and property, having an advocate who can help you through the process is appreciated.

If you need to make a claim, would you rather read through your policy and wording on your own, or have a broker who already understands the policies and protocol walk you through everything and be your advocate? A broker can help move things forward, and be on your side to get you through it — whether that’s helping to fill out lengthy forms or having a go-to person who can move things along with the claims adjustor.

8. Renew your policy with ease

When it comes time to renew or make updates, you also have choice — in your coverage options and the method in which you’ll communicate with your broker. In some cases, this can be relatively straightforward, but if you’ve recently made a claim or had changes to your property or living situation, for example, some adjustments might be necessary.

This isn’t to say that chatbots and digital tools aren’t handy for speedy renewals. In fact, they are growing in popularity because people like getting access to quick information. But don’t make them your be-all and end-all source of advice. If you have uncertainty, talk to a broker.

“The main purpose of a broker is to provide clients with choice, advocacy and value,” says Fast. That choice extends from in-person meetings to digital portals with options to talk to a broker for expert advice.

No matter how you decide to purchase insurance, you still need to put in the time — and the quickest (and seemingly easiest) approach won’t necessarily cut it. Whether you want to review that information in person or online, a broker can provide peace of mind that you’ve made the right digital insurance choices.


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