Chances are, at some point in your life, you’re likely to want the services of an insurance agent. Homeowners, auto, health, disability, and life insurances can prevent financial disaster due to a crisis.

A good insurance agent can help you protect one of your greatest assets: your money.

How do you find an exceptional insurance agent? Will you know one when you meet one?

Consider these qualities of an excellent insurance agent:

1. Demonstrates good listening skills. If an agent pressures you to select a certain type or amount of insurance and hasn’t yet listened to what you have to say, turn around and go the other direction. An effective agent is attentive and listens well.

2. Takes time to get to know you and your situation. A good insurance agent will sit down with you and focus on your financial needs and desires. His recommendations are solutions that work well with your own personal circumstances.

3. Returns calls promptly. Whenever you have questions or comments about an insurance policy or claim, a quality agent will call you back within 24 hours if he was unavailable when you called.

4. Employs quality staff. A good agent understands the importance of having office workers who show up on time, dress appropriately, and use courtesy and kindness when dealing with you. Such an agent realizes that his customer service is only as good as his staff’s professionalism.

5. Uses tact, understanding, and knowledge. An effective agent understands where you’re coming from. He’ll listen to you and then present you with facts and examples that educate you regarding the insurance you seek.

6. Shows honesty. He will tell you the downsides as well as the benefits of the policy.

7. Has the capacity to sell you one of a number of insurance products. The more insurance companies that the agent interfaces with, the better the chance that he’ll be able to find a policy that fits you and your needs like a glove.

8. Possesses some legal and tax knowledge. A good agent should be able to explain to you general legal and tax ramifications of a policy. Specific legal and tax knowledge, however, should still be directed to an attorney or tax professional.

9. Is involved in the local business community. He knows many of the local bankers, store owners, and major employers in your town. You might see him at your local street fair or farmer’s market on Saturday.

10. Is friendly and open with others. A competent agent will have a smile on his face and openly chat with you.

11. Will refrain from being overly aggressive or pushy. A good agent knows that being too pushy with a prospective customer rarely helps to get a successful sale.

When you’re seeking an insurance agent you can trust, look for these characteristics. Trust your own instincts about whether someone is the right agent for you. Before you know it, you’ll find a competent agent whose focus is to fulfill your insurance needs so you can protect your precious assets.