In today’s economy and marketplace, getting life insurance quotes and purchasing coverage has never been easier. No longer do we need to make repetitive phone calls to various agents and companies and then wait for them to come into our home for that “life insurance interview.”
All you need is a keyboard to research, then decide and a phone to complete the process.
The internet hasn’t completely eliminated human contact with insurance professionals, but it has significantly reduced the need for it.
Let’s face it, folks, insurance agents don’t want to come to your home after dinner any more than you want them to. It has become so easy to get quotes for term life insurance, universal life insurance, whole life insurance and even quotes for the best indexed universal life insurance.
And for agents who have disdain for prospecting, what better way to prospect than to have an engaging website up to attract prospects 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Without a doubt, life insurance has become commoditized like many other services. We file our taxes online, we renew our vehicle tags online, and we now get medical advice online.
#1 – Get Quotes From a Licensed Agent
Any licensed agent would be thrilled to offer a prospect a life insurance quote. You can contact reputable and experienced agents by getting referrals from family members, friends, and coworkers. Everyone wants to share their insurance contact when they are happy with their agent’s rates and service.
Using referrals, however, does limit the sources you can contact for insurance quotes, especially if the agent referral is for a company agent who represents only one or two insurance carriers. In fact, if the agent is a company agent (captured agent), you are drastically limited in the shopping process. Most insurance companies that use a company agent have cookie-cutter insurance products and if you don’t fit in their underwriting box, they’ll tell you “thanks, but no thanks” or refer you to an independent agent who can insure everybody. Why not just start with an independent agent from the get-go?
If you decide to contact an independent agent directly, the best way to find them is – you guessed it – online! Independent life insurance agents typically represent the top carriers and will also have virtually every type of product in their arsenal so they can meet the insurance needs of every prospect.
They don’t just use the old method of “quote-and-hope,” most independent agents are super-willing to discuss your insurance needs at length and work up an insurance needs analysis on your behalf. Simply put, a needs analysis will show you how much life insurance you need, and quite frankly, everyone should have one completed unless your life insurance is for a specific purpose like being required because of a divorce settlement, covering a loan in the event of your death, or funeral and burial insurance.
When it comes to shopping for life insurance, there are, however, a lot of folks who prefer to get a “quote indication” before they start working with an agent. This may or may not be the best process; it really depends on your expectations and needs. Here again, we are back to the internet and online shopping.
#2 – From the Insurance Company Directly
As a consumer who has purchased multiple life insurance companies online, I’m not sure why anyone would purchase a life insurance product directly from an insurance company. I’m not making this statement because the company product may be suspect, only because it limits your product selection and takes more time than the other two methods for the shopping process.
Consider this, if a consumer were to conduct a legitimate shopping process for their life insurance needs directly with insurance companies, they would need to contact each company directly and complete some form of a questionnaire for each company. How does this save time and money?
According to a LIMRA study, U.S. Life Insurance Trends 2016, more consumers than ever before are reporting they have purchased their life insurance directly from an insurance company rather than from a financial professional or independent insurance agent. In summary, the report indicates that 2016 was a banner year for direct purchases and indicated 29% of policies were purchased directly from the insurer.
That sounds about right because life insurers are marketing directly to consumers in an attempt to bypass the agent distribution network. These marketing efforts are likely to continue each year because the insurer wants to save the commissions paid to the agent while charging the same rates that agents are afforded. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it appears on the surface that removing an experienced agent from the equation when you do not save money by doing so may not be the best choice when purchasing a product that is confusing to most people.
If the direct writers (insurers who sell directly to the public) are getting about 29% of the business, that means that two-thirds of consumers are more comfortable using an experienced and reputable agent to advise them and assist them in the underwriting process.
#3 – From an Online Insurance Broker
You can simply fill out the instant quote form on this page and see rates on the next screen. Rates are the same no matter if you use an online insurance broker, go direct to the company or contact a licensed agent. We’re actually staffed with licensed agents.
Here’s an example of what you’ll see when you use an online insurance broker for free and instant life insurance quotes:
You’ll get comparisons from top rated life insurance companies in a matter of seconds.
We’re not the only one’s doing it either. Take five seconds and type “buy life insurance from an agent online” into a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, whatever) and you’ll instantly get about two million search results. Two Million! Now invest another five minutes or so reading the description (meta data) on each result on the first two or three pages.
Here you will find the direct writers and the independent brokers who sell insurance online. Almost every independent broker (agent) will have a “quote engine” somewhere on their website that will allow you to get a “quote indication” after filling out a very simple form. In most cases, the search result will be an article about buying insurance online so you may need to go to an “instant quote” or “free quote” page to access the quote engine which is typically a term insurance quoter.
Since quote engines ask for minimal information about you, you should understand that the quotes returned are “quote indications” because there is virtually no underwriting. The good news is that you will only complete one quote request that will electronically generate a quote from every carrier the broker represents and is usually sorted by lowest to highest monthly premium. Now you have your starting point and remember, THIS IS FREE!
Most quote engines will allow you to submit additional information once you select a company and that will also be sent to the agent electronically. Very soon afterward, your agent will contact you to discuss your insurance needs and answer any questions you might have about them or the carriers they represent. This initial conversation might take place over the phone or via email; either way, it’s a convenient starting point for purchasing affordable life insurance from a top-rated insurance company and IT’S FREE.
This is also when you the consumer can take advantage of an experienced insurance expert. The agent is going to be licensed in your state and should be reputable and experienced. You can, however, verify the agent’s credentials by checking with the Insurance Department in your state although this will likely add an additional four minutes to your shopping process.
When we say take advantage of your agent, we mean ask them to help you legitimately establish how much insurance you need and why. Remember there are many types of life insurance products and your agent is likely to suggest a different product altogether based on your particular circumstances. No cookie cutting here.
The Purchase and Underwriting Process
Once you have selected an insurance product and face amount, the insurance agent or company representative (depending on which one you use) will gather the required underwriting information and explain to you what happens next.
Depending on the product you are purchasing, you can expect the following things to happen:
· Term Insurance, Universal Life, and Whole Life Insurance – If your agent recommends a fully underwritten product, you can expect the insurer to require a medical exam and blood/urine analysis along with the insurance application.
If your agent recommends a No Medical Exam product, you will simply complete the application over the phone and then a few electronic reports will be ordered with your permission. The electronic reports that most carriers will order are the MIB (Medical Information Bureau), RX (prescription drug report), and MVR (motor vehicle report).
· Guaranteed Issue or Accidental Death Insurance – If you have decided on either of these products, there is basically no underwriting requirements. Guaranteed Issue and Accidental Death insurance policies do not take health issues into consideration in order to issue a policy. In fact, your policy will likely be issued in 24 to 48 hours and you’ll be on your way!
What about Service after the Sale?
Receiving service after the sale is critical for establishing a long-term relationship with your agent or broker. Everyone understands that life events happen and that in many cases these events will affect your insurance needs. You can certainly take it upon yourself to contact your agent or broker for any service needs but most of them (the good ones) will get in touch at least once a year to ask you about events during the year that would affect your life insurance needs. Typical life events that might trigger a change in life insurance coverage are:
- Home purchase
- Other major purchase
- Beneficiary changes
The Bottom Line
Whether you buy your life insurance from a referred agent, insurance company, or online broker, you are likely going to do at least part of the process online. By doing so, your shopping and purchasing process can be done quicker and easier and could possibly take less time than it took to read this article.
Remember, life insurance rates are the same no matter which option you choose. We always use the same published rates. And most importantly, IT’S FREE!
As principal licensed life insurance agent Bennett Bier has helped 1000’s of people purchase life insurance online & over the phone. During his career he has become the go to expert for securing hard to place term and permanent life insurance policies for clients across the nation. With his wealth of knowledge of each life insurance carrier’s products and underwriting he provides honest answers and advice to every client. Bennett Bier and his team will work tirelessly to successfully secure the coverage your family deserves.
All content on this site has been written by life insurance experts & licensed life insurance agents.