If you’re not in the industry, you may have many questions when purchasing insurance.

  • How do I know what type of insurance I need?
  • How much coverage is the right amount?
  • What is the right insurance company for my lifestyle?

Insurance companies – sometimes referred to as carriers – have different structures and use different types of sales agents. Understanding your options can help you decide which is right for you.


Direct writing companies are common, selling insurance directly to policyholders rather than working through agents. The primary benefit of working with a direct writer is you can get insurance quickly using a phone app or through a website online. Insurance may be less expensive because the direct writers do not incur the expense of maintaining agencies. However, guidance is limited so the buyer is responsible for determining adequate coverage limits and making sure there are no coverage gaps. This might not be the best fit for people who don’t recognize insurance gaps or those with complicated insurance needs.


Companies that maintain an agency you can visit in person have their own “captive” agents. The agency primarily represents one insurance carrier. Agents are employees of that carrier. While they may be knowledgeable about their products, you may have to seek other agents for quotes to make sure you’re getting the best plan for you or if you have insurance needs that the carrier cannot cover.


Independent agents can help you answer all the insurance questions you have! They may have brick and mortar agencies or be 100% digital, but they represent multiple carriers and can offer a variety of coverage choices. They earn commissions from the companies they work with, employ their own staffs, maintain their own businesses and cover their own expenses – they are truly independent businesspeople. Their goal is to develop a relationship with you, get to know your personal insurance needs and place you with the right carrier to cover all of your assets. At renewal, if your situation changes, they will have options to compare your coverage with other carriers and make sure you’re getting the best value.

Independent agents are highly trained professionals with local knowledge of the risks in their community. This makes them uniquely qualified to advise their customers on the proper insurance protection and to be on the scene in the event of a loss. This is why The Cincinnati Insurance Company offers its insurance products only through independent agents.

While there are multiple factors to consider when buying insurance, understanding the different insurance models can assist you in deciding which type might be best for you and your family.