Insurance Broker/Agent

I get asked all the time the difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker. Regardless of where you live in California the Department of Insurance looks at agent and brokers as really the same thing, at least when it comes to licensing.

A “broker” is usually independent  and works with multiple insurance carriers to find their clients the best overall premium. These days majority of brokers do not change broker fees as they are paid directly from the insurance company they placed the business through. Now when it comes to non-standard auto insurance or hard to place commercial business many brokers charge an extra fee since these type of carriers pay less and there is a lot more work involved.

Now an “agent” is usually captive, which means they only work with one general insurance company and they are not allowed to place business outside of this carriers circle of companies. A lot of times this means you might pay higher premiums and the agent is hand cuffed if you are unhappy with the current premium since this is their only option.  This becomes an issue for the client if you don’t fit into the box the insurance company is looking for. Even know your agent might be great he has no control over the rates and is only able to lower the rate by decreasing coverage or increasing the deductible. The other option is looking at a discount you might qualify for that was not given previously.

It’s been my experience that a “broker” is going to be able to provide the same if not better customer service but also provide higher coverage limits for an overall low premium. If you find yourself in a situation where you have had multiple claims on your home or auto insurance or there are other issues a “broker” can usually find a way out for you.


Curtis Peterson/Owner

Peterson & Grantham Insurance Brokers

1508 Eureka Rd Ste. 175

Roseville, CA 95661