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Assuming that you know the kind of insurance that you seek, there are several ways to buy it. These include:

1. Go to an insurance agent who transacts that kind of insurance. The two major kinds of insurance are "property and casualty" (generally covering tangible property), and "life and health" (providing benefits upon the death of the person insured, and paying some of the costs incurred due to sickness or accident, respectively). An agent is a person licensed by the state insurance department and who is authorized to submit applications for insurance to the company(ies).

There are also insurance "brokers". They are similar to "agents" but usually have access to more companies than do agents. There is beginning to be less of a difference between the two. Regardless, it is critical that the person with whom you deal has a license from the state to transact the kind of insurance that you seek (property and casualty or life and health).

2. Some insurers sell directly to the public and do not use agents or brokers as intermediaries. If you go this route, you do not get the benefit of the advice and experience of an agent or broker. By the same token, however, it is sometimes more economical to buy directly, as the insurance premium does not include an amount attributable to the sales commission.

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Q: How Do I Find an Insurance Company for a Specific Kind of Insurance?
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