Insurance brokers - individuals who sell insurance on behalf of several insurance companies
Insurance agents - individuals who sell insurance on behalf of one company
Direct writers - insurance companies that sell insurance directly to the consumer, usually online or through a call centre
The personal lines market share, measured by premiums written is as follows: 53% for brokers, 13% for agents and 34% for direct writers.
Each one of the channels through which car insurance can be purchased has its benefits (summarized in the table below). What's important is that you shop around before you commit to a rate. This is the only way to ensure that you're getting the best possible rate. Shopping around when dealing with direct writers or insurance agents can take longer since every company has to be contacted one at a time. The insurance broker does all the shopping around for you by checking the rates of several companies all at once - this can save you considerable time.
In summary, all three channels have their own advantages. You should be aware of all available options and do your homework prior to purchasing an insurance policy.
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