Getting Life Insurance Quotes is only the beginning to building a secure and personalized insurance program for you and your family. The best way to insure that you’re comparing “apples to apples” when gathering life insurance quotes is to find a highly skilled and professional agent who can explain the many options available, and help you build the optimum program.
A good insurance agent is the primary ingredient in a bullet-proof program. An agent is a great bargain in at least 5 important ways.
- He has the tools and expertise to help you choose appropriate coverage limits in each crucial loss area.
- He helps you to balance your coverage in those key loss areas, helps you avoid conflicting coverage.
- He takes the time to analyse your life deeply enough to recognize those risks that your current insurance may leave out.
- He then applies his expertise to help you accurately shore-up your policies with supplemental coverage you that fills in those gaps. A good agent also helps you adjust your coverages as the risks in your life change.
- When you must file a claim, he will apply his expertise in coaching you on how to correctly document your claim so that you get everything that you’re owed with the least amount of hassle or delay. If your claim is unjustly underpaid or denied, he cares enough (and has enough expertise) to convince the claims department to alter its position and pay you all you rightfully deserve.
The consequences of having an inept agent can be severe. Getting more talent may only cost you a dime (for the telephone call). Insurance agents, from the best to the worst, get paid the very same commission.
Permanent, or “whole life” insurance, due to its cash value element and complexity, requires additional expertise in choosing among assorted products, and is available almost solely from insurance agents. Permanent insurance should only be purchased from a top agent. Term insurance is an entirely different issue. Unlike other kinds of insurance, term insurance is a commodity.
Term policies are the least complex insurance policies you can buy. The policy is simple. If you die, your beneficiary gets paid. Unlike most other insurance policies, there aren’t limitations, hidden exclusions, and other dangers. Buying term life direct, without an agent, is less risky than pruchasing any other policy direct. Still, an agent won’t cost you any more, and can help you choose a financially secure company that will survive. And, if your application is rejected because of weight, health, or other problems, a dedicated agent can help you find a company that will insure you.
While rounding up your life insurance quotes, you may feel a lot of pressure to buy permanent life insurance when all you’re interested in is term life insurance. The significantly higher commission that agents earn from permanent insurance policies compared to term insurance may be the reason. If the agent who’s “helping” you is overly insistent on permanent insurance when your need isn’t permanent, thank him for his time and get another quote. There are however, some hard-working pros who honestly believe that permanent insurance is the best way to go. After all, permanent life insurance is always going to be there for you and your family, as long as the premiums get paid. Still, permanent life is not considered by most financial planners as a good investment product.
Two types of life insurance salesmen fit into the general financial planner category:
- Money managers who mainly dispense investment advice but who are also licensed to sell life insurance
- Career life insurance agents who also deal with investments
The main difference between the two is that money managers more often recommend buying term life insurance with your investments separate, whereas a career life agent will often recommend a permanent life policy with its cash value as part of your investment plan. If you’re debating buying a life policy from a financial planner, term insurance for your non-permanent needs is probably your better choice.
Many agents who sell home and auto insurance also have life insurance licenses. But most of those don’t know much about life insurance or even actively market it. And perhaps only 20% are very knowledgeable about the subject. If you’re satisfied with your current homeowner’s and auto agent, but he’s not expert on life insurance, ask for a referral to a life specialist. If your agent is skilled at his specialty, chances are good that the agent he refers you to will also be an expert. If your current agent is experienced with life insurance, working with him will be to your advantage. Having one agent for all your insurance needs simplifies your life.
Life insurance agents who have earned professional designations and taken advanced classes, such as the Certified Life Underwriter (CLU), are your best bets. The washout rate for life insurance agents is close to 90% in the first two years. Many states license a person to sell life insurance after just a week of schooling. When getting life insurance quotes, ask the agents you contact how long they’ve been licensed.
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