Should You Buy Health Insurance From The Same Agent You Use For Your Car?


General StoreAs a kid I walked to junior high school.  I had to pass by Eddie’s Market.

Back then we could recycle glass “pop” bottles.  I would get a nickel for every bottle I returned.  I learned fast that if I recycled them at Eddie’s Market I could exchange 1 penny for 1 piece of candy.  For a 12 year-old kid, that was a valuable lesson in economics.

By collecting “pop” bottles along the fence-line, I always had some spending money in my pocket.

Now that I am a grown up, I realize that Eddie’s Market was not just for kids on their way to school.  Eddie’s Market was not much different from Olsen’s mercantile in the Little House TV shows.  He carried a hodge-podge of goods that people in the neighborhood might need.

Today we would call Eddie’s Market a convenience store.

Sadly, the last time I was in the town in which I grew up, I noticed two depressing things.

  1. My junior high school had suffered a fire and burned to the ground.
  2. Eddie’s Market no longer exists.   There is now an empty lot where Eddie’s Market used to be.

Why am I sharing this story?  I am not proposing that our society regress to the world of 1970, although when I look at the number of obese children in our nation, I realize that it would not hurt them to do a little more walking to school.

Neither do I advocate returning to the days when soda was sold in glass bottles.  More than once I have had to pull glass out of my feet because I walked in my bare feet where someone had dropped a “pop” bottle.

My point is that, just like Eddie’s Market, the days of finding everything you need at one insurance agency are numbered.

There is a huge difference in laws between Property and Casualty insurance and Life and Health insurance.  They are two separate disciplines.  The only thing they have in common is the word insurance.

Several years ago I thought that I was pretty smart and able to keep up with trends for both P&C and Life & Health.  I was wrong.  In 2006 I made a choice to drop my P&C license to concentrate on Life and Health insurance.  With recent changes to health insurance, I am wondering if that was a mistake.

However, I believe that people need a professional who understands current facts about whatever line of insurance people want.  I believe that it would have been impossible for one person to keep track of the major changes that have happened in the health insurance industry at the same time they were trying to keep track of insurance regulations regarding insuring your car and home.

EDUCATION

State and federal laws require agents to certify annually or biannually that they know what they are talking about for Medicare Advantage, Medicare D, Long Term Care insurance and Annuities.  Life & Health insurance agents are also required to have training in recognizing Money Laundering.

Insurance agents who work exclusively with Property and Casualty insurance are not required to take those courses.  They have other continuing education that they are required to take.

FOCUS

In addition to the different training classes they have different focuses.  I am a Life & Health insurance agent.  My focus is on setting up a plan that assures that there will be enough money for you or your heirs if you get sick, injured or die.

The P&C agent’s focus is on making certain that you are restored to your original financial condition if you suffer a loss to your property.

The bottom line is that unless you have done your own research to know what you want before you go to your insurance agent’s office, I believe that the local insurance version of Eddie’s Market, is not for you.

It may be convenient to buy all your insurance in one place, however, if you have to rely on the advice of an insurance agent for anything other than something simple, there is a good chance that the one giving you advice is not an expert.  He/She may only know a little more about a line of insurance than you already do.

For example, I consider myself an expert on health insurance.  However, when it comes to insuring a car or house I am worthless.  I know enough to advise you to seek counsel from someone who is current with their knowledge about Property and Casualty insurance in your state.

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