Generally speaking, people are comfortable shopping online for most items. The Internet is a great tool for gathering information and advice prior to making a purchase — and this especially holds true for life insurance. There are numerous sites online that provide instant quotes and solid, basic information about life insurance. Some sites are more “salesy” than others, but it doesn’t take long to sift out those sites and focus on the ones that are professional and helpful.
The popular mega-sites have call centers that make it very easy to ask questions and apply for coverage. It is simple to view carrier financial ratings so that one can avoid companies that aren’t financially strong. They have a streamlined system that allows you to get instant quotes and access all the forms necessary to get the application process started quickly. So, everything sounds pretty good so far — why not just pick a reputable online site and go for it?
Well, consider the fact that buying life insurance is a major purchase. You want to be certain you are getting the best coverage, the best advice, AND the best service available. After all, even if you are spending just $35 per month on life insurance, you will pay that amount over the course of 20 or 30 years. That adds up to $8400 or $12,600, respectively. For a long-term financial commitment, it makes sense to work with an agent who is experienced and has a proven track record.
When you work with a rep at one of the large online companies, you don’t know if they are experienced and knowledgeable. Do they understand carriers’ underwriting strengths and weaknesses? Will they be quick to resolve problems that arise during the application process? Will they be your advocate and appeal an unfavorable underwriting decision? Those are just a few of the reasons why it’s not a good idea to purchase life insurance at one of the big online sites. Many people have learned the hard way that it can be frustrating and costly. It is always best to work with an agent who has lots of experience and more importantly, a very good reputation.
Many local agents also provide instant online quotes and a quick application process. They don’t require a long meeting around the kitchen table, but offer advice and answer questions by phone or email. They are glad to meet in person if that is preferrable, but they won’t make it a requirement. A good, local agent will care about your needs and ask questions so that you make an informed decision. Keep in mind, you do not pay extra to work with a local agent — the premium is exactly the same (as regulated by law) regardless of where you purchase life insurance. A good, local agent will be flexible and always do what is best for the client.
So, buying insurance online can be a smart decision if you comparison shop and then work with an agent who listens to your needs and concerns — and then guides you through the entire process.
Peachtree Insurance Advisors (678) 236-1600 www.insuranceADV.com