Thanks for checking out our SelectQuote review. Full disclosure, we at I&E are a direct competitor to SelectQuote representing many of the same top life insurance companies. With that in mind, we did our best to present the following information about SelectQuote as unbiased as possible.
Table of Contents
- About SelectQuote
- SelectQuote Services
- How does SelectQuote make money?
- Application Process
- Types of Insurance Offered
- SelectQuote Life Insurance Companies
- SelectQuote Pros
- SelectQuote Cons
Select Quote is an independent insurance agency that specializes in using online resources and telephone communications to connect consumers with insurance carriers. The company is headquartered in Kansas, with smaller regional offices dispersed throughout the U.S. For most consumers, though, Select Quote’s presence is predominately online.
On its website, Select Quote describes itself as the “oldest and largest independent direct to consumer life insurance sales agency in the United States.”
Importantly, that means that Select Quote is not an insurance company and does not itself issue any policies.
Instead, the company markets insurance policies on behalf of multiple insurers with whom Select Quote partners.
If a consumer purchases coverage through Select Quote, the chosen insurance company issues the policy to the consumer, and the consumer makes premium payments to the insurance company.
Like other agents, Select Quote’s job is to market to the public the financial products provided by insurance companies. The company takes its fee in the form of a commission from the insurance company for each policy sold—consumers don’t pay Select Quote directly.
Within its field of online and telephone insurance marketing, Select Quote has been undeniably successful, as is evidenced by its recent IPO. Since its inception a little over 30 years ago, the company has assisted over two million consumers in finding insurance coverage.
With company representatives licensed in 49 states, consumers throughout the country (except in South Dakota) are able to procure life insurance through Select Quote.
For many years, financial entertainer Suze Orman was a spokesperson for SelectQuote. However, we don’t see Orman on the site any longer.
A search for Suze Orman SelectQuote offers this site which is attributed to Suze Orman and Select Quote.
Select Quote’s sales process is designed to be simple and time-efficient for consumers. The idea is that—rather than submitting a half-dozen applications to different life insurance companies that may or may not offer the type of coverage you want—you submit one form with your basic personal and medical information to Select Quote.
Then, a company representative tries to find the insurers within Select Quote’s network that best fit your needs and situation.
As an independent agent, Select Quote can suggest any of the policies offered by companies in its network, rather than just a single company’s products (like with a captive agent).
Select Quote’s system is intended to introduce an element of competition into the process of buying insurance
As Select Quote says on its site, insurers don’t offer better or worse life insurance rates through Select Quote than through any other agents.
Instead, Select Quote tries to make it simpler and more convenient to access and compare the different premium rates available in a given consumer’s individual situation.
In theory, you save money because you can see more quotes and choose the best option—not because Select Quote is negotiating a better deal on your behalf.
Select Quote earns its money through commissions on policies sold. One of the costs built into the premiums charged by insurance companies is the agent’s commission.
If a consumer purchases a policy through Select Quote, then Select Quote gets that commission.
If a consumer purchases a policy through the local independent agent with an office on Maple Street, the agent’s commission goes to that agent.
Select Quote doesn’t charge anything if you don’t end up deciding to purchase a policy (that’s usually the case with the independent agent on Maple Street, too).
Ultimately, Select Quote is a marketing agency.
Their business model focuses on getting consumers who are likely to purchase insurance to visit the company’s website or call its toll-free number—whether through advertising, word of mouth, or a large online library of search-optimized informational articles.
The network of insurers is already on board, so Select Quote’s job is to bring in the other party to the insurance policy—the consumer.
Scattered throughout Select Quote’s website are numerous links inviting visitors to “Request a Free Quote.”
Health and lifestyle
If you click on the link, the website will ask generally about the type and level of coverage you’re seeking and request some basic demographic and lifestyle information—such as your age, sex, height, weight, birthdate, tobacco-use history, significant medical conditions, etc.
Once you’ve provided all the requested data, Select Quote asks for your name and contact information to go with it.
Alternatively, you can provide the requested info to Select Quote over the phone.
Either way, you need to provide personally identifiable information before you receive a quote.
“Here’s your quote”
Equipped with the information provided, Select Quote then narrows down the potential carriers and policies from its limited pool of providers.
Typically, a licensed insurance agent employed by Select Quote will contact you to discuss the possible options within a day or two.
During the call, the agent will ask for more detailed information to obtain more precise premium rate quotes.
When Select Quote’s system works as intended, the agent will be able to provide a few coverage options and preliminary estimates for comparison.
Of course, people in certain age and health categories may not be eligible for coverage—or may only be eligible through one or two companies.
And, importantly, initial estimates provided at this point are not binding offers.
“Remember, this is just a quote”
If, after reviewing Select Quote’s coverage suggestions, a consumer is interested in pursuing one of the available options, the Select Quote representative assists in formally submitting an application to the carrier.
Depending on the type of life insurance policy selected, additional underwriting requirements—such as a medical exam or more detailed health-history questionnaire—will likely be necessary.
Once the life insurance underwriting process is complete and a bona fide offer of insurance has been extended, the consumer decides whether to ultimately purchase coverage.
“Congratulations, you are approved!”
You can now sign any last delivery requirements, pay your first month premium and the policy will go in force.
Since the company formed in 1985, life insurance has been Select Quote’s bread and butter. However, they have branched out and can now assist consumers in obtaining any of the following:
- Life Insurance
- Home Insurance
- Auto Insurance
- Medicare Supplement Insurance
Within the realm of life insurance, Select Quote works with thirteen different life insurance providers.
The network includes some very well-known and well-regarded life insurance companies like:
- American General (AIG)
- Banner Life/William Penn
- Globe Life
- Lincoln National
- Mutual of Omaha
- Pacific Life
- Protective Life
Not every insurer does business in every state, but most of the companies in Select Quote’s network issue policies in at least all but a few states.
Select Quote tries to find a happy medium between the efficiency that comes with a standardized online application process and the flexibility and thoroughness you get from working directly with a knowledgeable agent.
If you’re shopping for a simple type of insurance in Select Quote’s wheelhouse—like convertible term life or auto coverage—they do a pretty good job of accomplishing that.
Select Quote’s status as an independent agent is also a plus. Independent agents can provide consumers access to significantly more potential insurance options than what is available from a captive agent.
For people who easily qualify for life insurance, that can mean saving money by finding the company offering the best life insurance rates for the desired coverage.
Even for people whose situation makes qualifying for coverage difficult, Select Quote’s process can help narrow down the insurers willing to issue a policy under the circumstances.
In evaluating an applicant’s insurability, life insurance companies generally consider the same or very similar factors. However, there can be considerable differences in the weight assigned to each factor by different companies.
A medical condition that would be disqualifying (or make coverage prohibitively expensive) with one company might be viewed as only a minor concern by another.
As a result, independent agents can often find a policy with affordable rates for people who think they are uninsurable.
If you’re still deciding whether you need coverage, Select Quote does a decent job on its website explaining how life insurance works and what Select Quote does. The website includes numerous articles with some helpful information and tips.
On the other hand, Select Quote’s public-facing materials reveal a strong preference for the product that best fits their business model: term life insurance.
Term life is, of course, a perfectly good, inexpensive option—and the right option for many people who follow the mantra of “buy term and invest the rest.”
But if you are one of the many people who would be better served through permanent coverage, you will have a tough time figuring that out relying on Select Quote’s website alone.
Volume-Driven Business Model.
Select Quote’s business model is volume-driven, with an annual marketing budget that reportedly exceeds $100 million.
For all that advertising to pay off, Select Quote agents need to sell an awful lot of policies—which means agents have less opportunity to familiarize themselves with each individual consumer.
Buying life insurance through Select Quote will probably take you less time than you’d spend with a more personalized service, but, sometimes, a little extra agent time is necessary to ensure you end up with the optimal policy for your situation.
The efficiency-focused model usually isn’t a big deal if you’re shopping for a fairly simple insurance product.
However, if you have health problems, your agent may not be equipped to get you the best deal, or to get you insured at all.
Further, your Select Quote agent may not be much of a help when it comes to tough financial and retirement questions.
For example, if you want auto insurance, for example, the agent won’t need to know much more than your demographic data, vehicle information, and desired coverage levels.
Life insurance, though, often fits into a much larger financial plan—whether it’s saving for retirement or organizing an estate. So, it’s important for an agent to be familiar with a prospective purchaser’s situation to identify the best coverage option.
With that said, term life insurance is pretty straight-forward, and that’s what Select Quote focuses on selling. A term policy is simple, takes less time to apply for, and usually doesn’t require as much agent involvement as permanent policies. So, for Select Quote’s business model, term life is an ideal fit.
Not Suited to Permanent Policies or Customization.
If you’re certain from the get-go that term coverage is what you want, Select Quote will probably be able to find you a decent deal.
However, if you’re not sure what type of life insurance is best for your situation, the Select Quote agent will likely suggest a term policy.
It’s possible to get whole life or universal life through Select Quote, but permanent policies are deprioritized—other than final expense coverage for older applicants.
However, even with final expense insurance, it is good to have many options to choose from.
Select Quote’s focus on time-efficiency leaves it poorly equipped to broker permanent policies that have more variables, allow for greater customization, and require more in-depth agent involvement.
So, if you need to know with certainty that insurance proceeds will be available when you die—or if you like the idea of a life insurance policy that doubles as a retirement-savings vehicle—Select Quote probably isn’t where you want to turn.
Along the same lines, Select Quote’s pitch is built around finding the lowest rates. When evaluating life insurance policies, though, the cheapest rates do not always translate to the best deal.
Particularly with permanent policies (but also with some term coverage), policies can be set up to provide policyholder benefits beyond a simple death benefit.
Additional benefits increase a policy’s cost, but, if a supplemental benefit is well-suited to your situation, the extra cost can be well worth it.
It takes time to evaluate whether any riders offered by an insurer are appropriate for a new applicant.
If you’re assessing coverage based on rates alone, you may miss an option that would have been highly beneficial in the long run.
Relatively Small Insurer Network.
As mentioned above, Select Quote is an independent agent, and that’s generally a good thing. But, considering the size of Select Quote’s operation, it has a relatively small carrier network compared to many other independent agents.
Select Quote works with highly rated companies (which is good). But more options typically result in better outcomes for consumers, and Select Quote could stand to add a few more insurance companies to its roster.
Telephone Call Required (?)
It’s also worth mentioning that, to receive coverage quotes from Select Quote, you have to have a telephone conversation with a real live human being. That really bothered Clark Howard. So, if speaking with an agent over the phone is something you’re trying to avoid, Select Quote isn’t your company.
On the other hand, working with an actual agent who knows the industry can be a plus, since an experienced agent may raise relevant factors you hadn’t considered, which can be a big help in finding the right policy.
Be aware though, there’s a good chance the Select Quote agent with whom you speak will try to sell you more than one type of insurance. So, you may contact Select Quote about life insurance and end up hearing a pitch for auto and home coverage, too.
For most people, that might be a little annoying (unless you also need auto or home coverage), but it’s not such a big deal. However, there are also vulnerable folks out there who have a tough time saying ‘no.’
Thanks for reading our SelectQuote review. While you are here, why not get a quote from us as well. You will find we work with the same companies (and more) and can help you make the best decision on the right policy for you, whether that is term or permanent coverage. And we promise not to try and sell you home or auto insurance.