Being an Informed Consumer

Being an informed buyer will help you to be successful in working with an insurance agent to find the right insurance product for needs. You don’t need to be an expert on insurance, but you should be aware of what you need to know and what questions you should ask your insurance agent.

Please take a moment to review the information below when looking to purchase insurance or work with an insurance agent, salesperson, or adjuster.

About Insurance Agents

Your Role When Purchasing Insurance

If you have additional questions about any of the information on this page, please contact us.

About Insurance Agents

In BC, an individual or company must be licensed with the Insurance Council of BC in order to sell insurance. Licensees have an obligation to meet standards of practice and ethical behaviour, abiding by the Insurance Council's Rules and Code of Conduct.

Search our Licensee Directory to confirm that an individual or company is licensed in BC. The Licensee Directory shows:
  • Whether an individual or company is currently licensed as an insurance agent, salesperson, or adjuster in BC, and
  • The type of insurance a licensed person or company can sell.
Search for disciplinary action the Insurance Council has taken against an agent, salesperson or adjuster on our Disciplinary Decisions page disciplinary decisions.

Ask for information about disciplinary action taken against an individual, agency, or firm — including any licence restrictions or conditions — by contacting our Professional Conduct team.

Your Role When Purchasing Insurance

Being an informed consumer means understanding that you have an active role to play when purchasing insurance. Here are some things to bear in mind:

Be as accurate and concise as you can. Provide the insurance agent with accurate information to the best of your knowledge, and be clear about what insurance coverage you’re looking for, and why — this helps the agent to better assess your needs, and provide you with the most appropriate insurance product options.

Give reasonable projections or estimates when requesting an insurance quote. You may need to provide the insurance agent with projections, estimates, or assumptions about your personal information to get an insurance quote. Provide as reasonably accurate information as you can — a quote is not an insurance policy guarantee, and a change in your personal information may significantly affect the quote.

Take the time you need to ensure you understand what you are buying. Ask questions regarding the product(s) being recommended, and make sure you understand what your coverage entails, what it will cost, as well as your own responsiblities in order to maintain coverage. See our list of questions to ask before buying an insurance policy. 

Review the restrictions on your temporary insurance coverage. Some forms of life insurance will have temporary insurance coverage while the insurance company is underwriting the policy. Such temporary insurance is usually subject to many restrictions, so take the time to ensure you understand what those restrictions are, and how they may affect you.

Find out what will happen if you change your mind. Ask your insurance agent what the consequences are if you decide to change or cancel your coverage; for example, in six months, or on a life insurance policy, in two years.

Have a written record of your conversations with your insurance agent. Always feel free to ask your insurance agent or adjuster to confirm any transaction in writing. Take as detailed notes as possible of your correspondence with your insurance agent or adjuster, including date, time, and location, especially when:
  • You give your agent or adjuster instructions to act on your behalf to make a change of any type, for example to take a loan, or agree to any settlement.
  • The agent or adjuster confirms important issues to you verbally.

Read all proposals carefully. Take the time you need to review the information provided by your insurance agent, and ask as many questions as you need to clarify details.

Clarify the acronyms. Ask your insurance agent to explain any acronyms you don’t understand; for example, “DSC” (Deferred Sales Charge).

If you have additional questions or concerns about an insurance agent, salesperson, or adjuster, please contact us.

Have More Specific Insurance Licence Questions?