More than half of the people polled in a LIMRA study indicated fear of high pressure sales as a major reason to avoid buying life insurance. And yet, most Americans lack adequate coverage for their families. As fortune has it, though, most people can buy life insurance and entirely bypass the possibility of high pressure sales tactics.
—Who can buy life insurance online?—
Not all types of life insurance are available online, but if you’re looking for term insurance or no-exam life insurance, you should be able to complete most or all of the purchasing process on your own, at your home computer. The good news is that term insurance is the cheapest option on the market, and it ideally suits most buyers needs. As for no-exam insurance, almost anyone can qualify for it.
Even if you choose to buy life insurance online, you will probably need to work with an agent at some point in the process, but by the time you reach that step, you will have effectively avoided any high pressure sales tactics. You will have already chosen your product and carrier. The agent’s role at this point is to process your paperwork and keep you updated on the progress of your policy, all at no cost to you.
This is not to mean that you cannot obtain assistance from an agent if you wish. A good agent will be willing to start the purchasing process over from the beginning, if requested. A good agent is always ready to answer your questions, help you understand your coverage needs, and advise you as to your options. Have a care, though, that your agent does not push an agenda of his/her own (and be prepared for the necessity of brining legal action against an agent who sells you something and misrepresents it to you).
—Is buying insurance online safe?—
The number of agencies providing life insurance online has exploded in recent years, so there is a fair deal of variation. In most cases, your personal information will be closely guarded, and you will have fair-to-excellent service. There are a few things to know in order to ensure both of these goals, however.
For the tightest control on your personal information, ensure that the site you are on is really an agency or carrier, that is, a company licensed to sell insurance or a company that actually issues insurance policies. Some websites actually just collect information and sell it to independent agencies. Look for an “about us” page. Also, check to see that your agency transmits data over a secure connection. Look for a security seal on the site. Such a seal indicates that transmissions of personal information are encrypted.
If you’re buying online, you may think that the level of service you receive makes no difference. However, you would do well to ensure that your agency website enables you to compare rates from many reputable carriers. Some agency sites compare as few as five insurers, while others compare more than eighty. Carrier websites only provide quotes from a single insurer (themselves). Again, look at the “about us” page for clues. Somewhere on the site, an agency should indicate with which insurers it does business. They should include names you trust and recognize.