Historically, purchasing life insurance has been something that has been quite a chore. It either required going to an insurance office or even worse having a life insurance agent come out to your home for a “set appointment” which would often include a “hard sell” because the last thing the agent would want to do is have to come back to your home to fill out your life insurance application.
The good news is…
That slowly but surely, the “process” of applying for life insurance is gradually entering into the 21st century, thereby allowing folks to be able to shop dozens of different life insurance companies simultaneously from the comfort of their homes WITHOUT having to cozy up with their local life insurance agent on the couch!
Which means that…
For many, the days of old where one had to rely on the local life insurance agent in town is over and one isn’t dependent on the quality of service provided by a…
“Life insurance agent near me”
And let’s face it…
“This is good news!”
But this also presents us with a new problem for folks looking to purchase a life insurance policy from someone they don’t necessarily know.
The problem of…
“Who, should I choose as my life insurance agent?”
Unlike purchasing a car or a TV, where someone is more aware of exactly what they’re looking for, when it comes to finding the best life insurance policy, chances are you’re going to have a lot more questions or at the very least, you’re not going to necessarily have all the answers.
This is why…
We wanted to take a moment and discuss what one should look for when choosing a life insurance agent and what questions you’ll want to ask since choosing a “life insurance agent near me” may not be your best bet for finding the most qualified agent.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Top 5 Questions You Should Ask Your Life Insurance Agent
How experienced is your life insurance agent?
One of the first things you’re going to want to know about the life insurance agent you’re considering using is…
“How much experience does he or she have?”
The only problem with…
This question is that sometimes, it’s quite difficult to know for sure. You see, it’s possible that your local life insurance agent near you, may have been working as an insurance agent for decades, but doesn’t really focus all that much on “life insurance”.
It quite possible that while he or she may sell a lot of life insurance policies, they may “limit” who they will and won’t work with based on the underwriting guidelines of the individual life insurance companies that they work for.
Isn’t necessarily a huge issue unless of course you have already been diagnosed with a preexisting medical condition which could make it more difficult for you to qualify for a traditional term or permanent life insurance policy.
This is why…
You’ll want to just get a “general feel” about how experienced your prospective agent is and then begin to ask him or her specifics about how they help their clients.
Specifics such as…
Are they an insurance broker, or are they a captive insurance agent?
This is an important question to ask because an insurance broker will be able to offer a wider variety of different insurance products offered by multiple insurance companies vs a “captive insurance agent” who will likely only be able to offer products from a specific company (or perhaps just 2 or 3 different companies).
It’s quite possible that in your situation a “captive agent” may have the “best” possible option for you, but as you can imagine, if you are a life insurance agent who is only able to sell products form one insurance company, chances are, he or she is definitely going to want to make you believe that, that ONE type of insurance is certainly the BEST for you.
An insurance broker who is able to offer a wide variety of products from dozens of different insurance companies isn’t going to find him or herself “locked” into such a position. Instead, he or she should be able to offer you a wide variety of options to choose from which hopefully will improve your chances at finding the “best” life insurance policy you can qualify for!
Does your agent offer a wide variety of “types” of life insurance products?
Lately, there has been an emerging trend for many life insurance brokerages to “shy” away from selling more complicated types of life insurance policies such as whole life insurance and variable whole life insurance.
Some of the arguments against offering permanent life insurance vs term life insurance may have some validity in certain situations. For us here at I&E, it seems rather irresponsible for us to “automatically” assume that one type of life insurance policy is going to be better for everyone.
This is especially true…
In certain situations where it may make complete sense to purchase a term life insurance policy today that has the ability to covert itself into a whole life insurance policy later on down the road.
A feature that is…
Not available in all term life insurance policies and one that most agents who sell both term and whole life insurance look for when trying to help a client find the “best” life insurance policy for them.
Now if your agent isn’t familiar with some of the benefits of such a feature, they may be less likely to point it out to you which could potentially cause a lot of heartache later on if you ever wish to convert your term life insurance policy into a whole life insurance product later on!
Does your life insurance agent understand your needs?
You can bet that if you give us a call here at I&E and tell us you’re looking to purchase a life insurance policy, one of the very first questions we’re going ask you is…
“Why are you looking to purchase a life insurance policy today?”
And this isn’t…
Because we’re nosey, it’s because understanding “why” you want to purchase a life insurance policy is going to tell us a whole lot about what “kind” of life insurance policy is going to be right for you.
There are a lot of reasons why someone will want to purchase a life insurance policy. It could be because you’re looking to:
- Cover the cost of a mortgage,
- Protect a spouse or child,
- Cover any “lost wages” which would occur in the event of a premature death,
- Provide collateral for a small business loan,
- Satisfy a divorce requirement.
You may be interested in taking advantage of some of the benefits of cash value whole life insurance which include:
- Permanent life insurance coverage,
- Tax free policy loans,
- Forced savings mechanism,
- Guaranteed Cash Value Growth,
- Dividend Payments
We’ll at least have an “general idea” of what your looking to accomplish by purchasing your life insurance policy. Then with this understanding in mind, your “experienced agent” can then direct his or her attention to focusing on what kind of life insurance you’ll be able to qualify for and what PRICE you
Does your life insurance agent think like an underwriter?
Once you decided on the “type” of life insurance that you want to apply for, the next trick becomes understanding “which” life insurance company is going to give you the best opportunity for success. And while each company will have a variety of different products, they’re also going to have a variety of different underwriting guidelines that they’re going to follow.
And this is where…
Experience really comes into play because, when it comes to qualifying for a life insurance policy, there are literally thousands of ways for it to go wrong. Most of these “potential causes” will be related to one’s health, but a lot of the reasons why an individual’s life insurance application can go badly is also because many life insurance companies will also use non-health related issues to make determinations about who they will and won’t insure as well.
Issues such as one’s:
- Driving record,
- Previous criminal background,
- Presence of a recent bankruptcy(s),
- Travel history,
Many of these “disqualifiers” are clearly laid out in the individual underwriting guidelines provided by the individual carriers, there’s also a lot of “give and play” that can be found in these guidelines as well. As a result, experienced agents will learn over time which insurance companies have a “tendency” to be a “better fit” for certain situations.
The problem is…
That these “tendencies” tend to ebb and flow over time which means that while an insurance company may be really good for “diabetic applications” one year, they may become very strict the next!
The thing is…
That when you’re working with an experienced agent, he or she is going to know this and instead of just “checking a box” on an application about where or not you have a certain medical condition, if you have been diagnosed with a certain medical condition they’re going to ask you a series of questions so that they can gain a better understanding of “how” an insurance underwriter is going to “view” your condition.
Questions such as:
- When where you first diagnosed?
- How are you treating your condition?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Have your medications changed at all in the past 12 months?
- Are you currently working right now?
- In the past 12 months have you applied or received any form of disability benefits?
An experience life insurance agent will not only use these questions to hopefully provide you with a better quote, they’ll also use these questions to help narrow down “which” insurance companies will most likely provide you with a better opportunity to be approved at a fantastic rate.
The good news is…
That if you’re just beginning your search for that “perfect” life insurance agent or you’re not “sure” about the one that you’re currently working with, here at I&E, we only employ the best!
What are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!