How to shop for life insurance: 5 things to consider
We’re highlighting how to shop for life insurance, different types of life insurance policies, what to consider when looking at life insurance companies and next steps.
Different types of life insurance
One of the benefits of buying a life insurance policy is that the cash payout is income tax-free. This means the beneficiary can use it as they see fit for expenses, bills or future college tuition. Another thing to keep in mind when you shop for life insurance is the different life insurance policies and their duration of coverage.
Term life insurance: A limited-time policy that’s designed to be budget-friendly. The policy pays out your beneficiary if the insured individual passes before the term ends.
Whole life insurance: A policy that usually has a locked-in rate and covers you for life regardless of health or age changes—as long as you pay your premiums. This type of insurance could include a cash account that builds cash value over time and that you could borrow against if needed. Additionally, this policy has a death benefit.
Guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance: A policy that typically costs more than whole or term insurance, covers you for life and cannot turn you down for health reasons. This policy could include a locked-in rate for lifetime coverage and a cash benefit for your family when you pass.
Life insurance vs. Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance
If you’re wondering whether life insurance and Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance are the same—the answer is no. AD&D insurance is typically less expensive than actual life insurance and only covers death or injuries caused by a covered accident, so your full amount of coverage may be set for a certain time. However, while AD&D insurance could be used as a stand-alone, it’s actually designed to complement life insurance coverage.
Now that we’ve covered the different types of life insurance, it’s time to focus on five core elements of reliable life insurance companies.
Five elements to consider when choosing a life insurance company
1. Pricing and quotes
Most reputable life insurance companies should include the basics such as pricing and quotes for your coverage. When you shop for life insurance quotes, make sure to keep these questions in mind:
- Can I get a quote?
- Does this quote fit within my budget?
- Does this quote include the coverage I need?
- Will this quote and coverage align with my current and future needs?
2. Medical conditions
It’s important to note that certain life insurance policies may not be as inclusive when it comes to medical conditions. Keep these questions top of mind when you’re narrowing down the best place to buy life insurance:
- Does this policy account for changes in my medical history?
- If my medical history changes, will they let me keep my coverage?
- If I smoke or have a history of certain medical conditions, can I still be insured?
3. Financial security and public reputation
Determining where to buy life insurance also involves understanding the customers’ views of the company’s financial stability. Here are a few questions that can help you get one step further in your decision-making process:
- Do they seem like a financially stable company?
- What’s their reputation for paying out benefits when needed?
- Can I read reviews from current or past policyholders?
- Are the reviews of their products or services positive?
- Can I reach them through phone, email or chat?
Web searches are one of the most common ways we receive answers to our questions—and the same goes for how to get life insurance. The companies you’re researching should have an intuitive website that allows you to access your policy. When you’re researching, ask yourself:
- Does the company’s website have a customer portal where I can easily access my account?
- Do they have helpful resources I can refer to?
5. Word-of-mouth recommendations
Family and friends are an excellent resource when you’re figuring out how to purchase life insurance—so make sure to ask them if they have a recommended insurance agent or company.
Once your research and reflection phase are complete, you’re one step closer to protecting your loved ones. Let’s summarize how to choose your coverage within these three steps:
- Choose the coverage that keeps your family’s needs in mind.
- Get a quote online, over the phone or through an agent.
- Fill out the application—depending on how you apply, some coverage decisions can be instant.