APN News

  • Thursday, December, 2020| Today's Market | Current Time: 02:54:14
  • A couple decades ago, it was unusual to hear of someone buying a life insurance policy online. In those days, the vast majority of adults who wanted policies sought out live contacts with agents, or at least spoke with them over the phone. But like everything else in the computer age, buying insurance has come of age. Ironically, even though most people do purchase coverage via their computer terminals, they still call company representatives with questions before making a final decision.

    So, what’s the smartest way to avoid all the common pitfalls of remote buying? Fortunately, there are a half-dozen excellent techniques for making certain that you get not only the right amount of protection but also the right kind of coverage. In a nutshell, it’s all about being careful, taking your time, and remembering to speak with a professional before closing a deal. Here are six steps that can help anyone navigate the process.

    Learn the Lingo

    Do at least a half-hour of preliminary research on the topic. That means getting familiar with the most common terms, like beneficiary, premium, cash value, dividend, and more. The industry has a language of its own, so it’s a good idea to brush up on terminology so you’ll be able to compare offers more easily. It’s difficult to evaluate a policy if you don’t understand the key words in the description of the product.

    Decide How Much You Need

    One of the most common pitfalls in the entire evaluation process is not knowing how much coverage you need. Most of the big carriers’ websites feature special calculators you can use to estimate the right dollar value of this all-important figure. For example, if you’re single and earning just above minimum wage, you’ll probably need much less coverage than a high-income parent of several young children. People’s needs are different, but so are their wants. Be sure to use the calculators and come up with a ballpark estimate of the dollar amount. Later on, when you speak with an agent, you can refine the number even further, based on specific policy provisions and other details.

    Decide What Kind of Coverage Is Best for You

    Another major decision pertains to the kind of insurance you want. Even though there are many varieties of coverage, there are only two main types: term and whole. Term policies have a fixed expiration date, a fixed benefit amount, and tend to be simpler than whole life protection. But one of the primary advantages of whole policies is that you can sell them later on if you decide to do so. Some working adults choose to get cash in exchange for their policies via a life insurance settlement. The amount is usually higher than the cash value but less than the benefit amount. Plus, it’s easy to estimate the value of a policy in just a few seconds because the market for life settlements is quite active. Whatever your long-range goals, an important first step is deciding whether you want term or whole coverage.

    Compare Offerings from Top Carriers

    One of the great things about the internet is that it makes product comparison so easy. This step involves examining several different offers from the industry’s top-rated companies. There are literally hundreds of websites that list the best carriers as well as their main products. You’ll soon discover that prices vary quite a bit, and each company has its own unique way of doing things. That’s an important fact to keep in mind as you search for a carrier and a policy that suit your needs.

    Make a Short List

    After an hour or so of research, you’ll be able to narrow your choices down to two or three firms who have quality products in your preferred category. Once you’ve developed this short list, dig a little deeper and read more about each company, what they specialize in, what their customer reviews look like, and what their price ranges are. It’s helpful to gather basic data about each carrier and write down any questions that come to mind.

    Contact Agents and Ask Questions

    Take the list of questions you have from the last step and be ready to speak with agents over the telephone. This is also a good way to evaluate each company’s customer service. Do they answer phones quickly and politely? Are you routed to the agent you asked for or sent to someone else? Once you speak with a representative and ask your questions, do you receive direct, clear, concise answers? Did the agent encourage you to call back, meet, or offer to help in some other way? It’s amazing how much you can find out about an insurance carrier just by making a quick phone call.