Written by Alice Stevens | Last Updated March 20th, 2020Alice Stevens has managed the health and life insurance content for Best Company since 2018. She’s passionate about conducting good research and understanding the details you need to know about insurance. When she's not writing and researching, she enjoys good food and travel.
Life insurance can provide peace of mind for your loved ones' financial security should you pass away unexpectedly. Below are some of the best tips and advice that people have received about purchasing life insurance:
1. Buy life insurance young
Purchasing a life insurance policy at a young age, even if you don’t think it’s necessary, can save you money in the long-run.
Matt Schmidt, CEO of Diabetes Life Solutions, says “As a 23 year old, my father who was a financial advisor told me to lock in a term life insurance policy, as it'll never be cheaper. I kind of laughed but ultimately did do just that.
Six years later, I got married and got additional coverage. By this point, I had developed diabetes, and my rates on new policy were much higher. The lesson I learned was you don't know what the future holds. Never did I think that I would develop diabetes or any other chronic illness.
Young people, lock in policies while you are young and healthy.”
2. Consider ALL your options
There is a lot to consider when buying a life insurance policy. Should you get a temporary (term) policy or permanent policy? What kind of permanent policy — whole life, universal life, or variable life?
Additionally, you’ll need to choose a life insurance company. Anthony Martin, owner and CEO of Choice Mutual, says “With life insurance, there is no one company that is best for everyone. To get the best plan for you, it’s critical that you compare offers from multiple companies. If your short list is comprised of only well-known companies, you hamstring yourself in a big way.”
Cast a wide net when looking at life insurance companies, but make sure you choose reliable companies. Martin says, “A consumer needs to be open to any life insurance company that has been in business for at least 30 years and has an A rating with A.M. Best (which like 90%+ do).”
3. Talk to an independent agent
Working with an independent insurance agent can help you investigate and consider all of your options at different companies. You won’t have to worry about the insurance agent needing to make a sale for a specific company or a specific policy.
Martin says “Work with an independent agent that represents 20 or more insurance companies. No one company can be best for everyone. That is because they all underwrite in their own way. Furthermore, everyone's situation is different, which is why it's critical that their agent can simply pivot to whichever carrier views their health most favorably.”
4. Understand the terms and conditions
Life insurance is an investment. With monthly payments over time, individuals can spend considerable money on life insurance.
If you understand the terms of your policy, you’ll know exactly what you are going to be paying for. This knowledge can help you be confident in your purchase and investment.
Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of Mettl, says “Terms and conditions are such miniscule-written content that it’s a normal practice to ignore them. Ask as many questions as it takes to understand the jargon from different people or insurance agents. It's better to read and understand everything in entirety at length at your own leisure rather than repenting later in time.”
To be confident in your decision, make sure that you’ll have enough time to consider the policy.
David Bakke, insurance expert at Money Crashers, says “Be sure to choose a policy that allows a certain waiting period before you choose to buy. That gives you a last recourse to decide whether the policy is right for you based on coverage and other aspects, geared toward your personal needs.”
5. Look into policy riders
Life insurance companies offer all kinds of riders, like an accelerated death benefit, accidental death benefit, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, and more.
Bakke says “One great piece of advice I received is that riders to your policy are mostly needed, especially if you have special circumstances. You need to be specific as far as what you need in order to get the coverage you want.”
One rider that individuals should consider is term conversion. This allows a term life insurance policy to become a permanent life insurance policy.
Sam Price, Independent Agent and Owner of Assurance Financial Solutions, says “The best life insurance advice I've ever been given is to consider using a company with good conversion options.
Most people start their life insurance with term life insurance which is a great way to get a good deal of coverage for less money at a time in you life when you need more but perhaps can't afford a large premium. But for many people who develop health issues later in life, that first term policy may be the only life insurance they'll ever have.”
Permanent life insurance policies are more expensive than term life insurance policies. If you can’t afford to invest in a permanent life insurance policy now a term conversion rider can help you have a lower monthly premium payment.
Price says “Legally, life insurance companies have to offer at least one option for conversions, even if it's a bad option. If you find yourself being that person who can no longer qualify for life insurance, having multiple conversion options is the best way to fit your budget and life insurance needs and is something everyone should consider in the buying process.”