What Is an Insurance Broker vs. Insurance Agent

May 10, 2019

When searching for insurance, many consumers know where their priorities lie.  Are you looking for the best price, best coverage, or are you looking for the quickest way to get insurance?  Maybe you have a unique situation and need some extra advice.  One thing consumers today rarely consider is whether they need an insurance broker or an insurance agent.  There are many advantages to working with a licensed insurance broker, but it's also important to know what an insurance agent offers so you can make an informed decision. So here's our take on the classic Insurance Broker vs. Insurance Agent pros and cons:

Insurance Difference Between a Broker and Agent

The first thing to know is that an insurance broker works for you, not the insurance company.  You’re the boss, and brokers exist to represent customers to insurance companies. Brokers receive payment from the insurance company in the form of commission; they often earn 12.5% of your auto insurance and 20% of your home insurance premium.  This is already included in your total price.

Agents or Direct Writers are quite different. Agents work for the insurance company, such as TD, RBC, Belair Direct or Allstate. They only represent that one company, which means they can only offer that company's products and prices. Brokers, on the other hand, can work with many insurance companies.


Since brokers can work with any number of companies, they offer by far the most choice. But what about the price? Yes, agents on average will have lower insurance rates. But remember: Agents can only represent one company. This means if your insurance premiums increase, they cannot shop around for you.  

It is fair to say that while some of the lowest rates are with an Agent, they can also have some of the highest if you don’t shop around.  Working with a broker ensures you can always find a competitive insurance rate and they will do the shopping for you.

Price Advantage: Tie


What is an insurance broker for?  They exist to make sure you are always covered properly.  Brokers can offer a wide selection of insurance companies and products such as auto, home, business, life and travel insurance.  They can tailor a package that is just right for your needs and back it with professional advice.  Brokers are required to maintain strict levels of ongoing education in order to remain a broker.

Agents can usually offer home and auto insurance, sometimes life and travel.  They normally will not offer business insurance and their products are often out-of-the-box solutions.  If you have anything unique in your life that needs special attention an agent may have difficulty helping.

Advantage: Broker 


Everyone wants fast service and ease of doing business.  It used to be that agents, with their large call centres, were able to provide the fastest service with well-trained professionals.  With the progress of all things digital, brokers have arguably caught up in this regard.  It used to be that Agents provided the fastest service, while brokers provided the best advice.  Today the lines have shifted a little where smaller brokers can compete with big banks online and deliver a great customer experience.  Whether you are looking for speed, advice, options and consistency, a broker is now the way to go.

Advantage: Broker 

Insurance Questions, Comments

There you have it!  Whether you want to deal with an insurance broker or insurance company, there are distinct advantages and disadvantages for each. 

At Begin Insurance, we combine the best of both worlds.  Whether it is the speed and efficiency of online service, or the personal advice of one of our highly trained team members, we combine technology with the human touch that consumers need.

We work with 17 insurance companies to find the best coverage at competitive prices for you.  If your insurance price increases, we will shop the market to find you a new home.  We are a one-stop shop for all your needs. 

Still wondering what an insurance broker is for? Want us to shop around for you? Feel free to reach out to us. 

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