Source: Although the number of consumers shopping for life insurance online is on the rise, many are still unsure of how this works. Beth Somplatsky-Martori, a member of the Pivot.com (online life insurance store) team, offered advice on everything from receiving quotes to the benefits of technology and much more.
Are you in the market for life insurance? If so, you have a few options for finding and buying a policy:
- Contact a local life insurance agent, request a quote, and hope for the best
- Contact a local broker, compare quotes provided to you, and make a decision
- Use the internet to take control of the search and purchase process
In today’s world, a growing number of consumers have come to realize that shopping for life insurance online is the only way to go. This puts you in control of the entire process, from requesting quotes to comparing rates and much more.
On the other side of things, you have people who are unsure of what goes into shopping for life insurance online. They are intimidated for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Fear of not getting the best coverage and lowest rate
- Not sure how to use the technology associated with online quotes
- Worried about being scammed by an illegitimate company
While there is nothing wrong with wanting to “play it safe,” if you avoid the internet altogether you are missing out on a big opportunity.
Did you know that shopping for life insurance online allows you to compare multiple policies in a short period of time, all while working towards obtaining the best coverage at the lowest rate?
Tips for Buying Life Insurance Online
Beth Somplatsky-Martori took the time to answer some questions related to buying life insurance online. She is a representative of Pivot.com, a brand of the Small Business Insurance Agency, Inc., a company devoted to helping consumers buy a policy via the internet.
Here is what she had to share:
1. What is the benefit of receiving life insurance quotes online, as opposed to dealing direct with a local agent?
In today’s 24/7 world, online quoting allows consumers to shop for life insurance when it is convenient for them. Since many online sites carry products from a broad range of well-respected life insurance carriers, they provide consumers the additional benefit of comparing different coverage options and pricing among the carriers and choosing the one that best meets their needs.
Also by shopping online, consumers get their initial quotes with little or no delay. Some sites will provide quotes without requiring shoppers to provide sensitive personal information. This allows them to become more informed about life insurance than they were previously before they share their private data.
Online shopping for insurance does not have to be cold and impersonal. Many sites have customer care representatives on-call to act as personal concierges and help consumers navigate through the process.
2. Do you find consumers receptive to technology or apprehensive about shopping online?
Research shows that consumers find the life insurance shopping process complicated and confusing. Therefore, they do a quite a bit of research prior to purchase. The Internet plays a significant role in their analysis.
Many online sites have knowledge centers and calculators. These tools help shoppers determine the coverage amount that best fits them. They are also able to create different financial scenarios such as covering their family’s expenses, replacing their income, or paying off their debt; determining how much coverage they could obtain for a certain budget; and offering tips on how to save money on their coverage.
A recent study by LIMRA states that a whopping 86 percent of consumers say they would use the Internet to research life insurance before purchasing. Although consumers are extremely comfortable with researching online, there is still a strong preference to purchase life insurance face-to-face.
However, the American public is increasing the number and assortment of products bought online each year. This expansion serves to increase their comfort level with Internet purchasing of more personal and complicated categories like life insurance. Also expected to fuel the growth of online sales is the large influx of the millennial generation forming households. When people enter this life stage they typically make their first purchase of life insurance. Millennials have grown up with technology and do not have the same reservations about it as their parents and grandparents. We strongly believe that these trends will significantly increase the number of consumers making online purchases of life insurance.
3. How do consumers know that the carriers they receive quotes from online are legitimate?
As with any life insurance purchase, on–line or face-to-face, consumers need to make sure they are dealing with a reputable company or agent. There are a number of different ways for consumers to make this determination.
Search online through a search engine like Google or Bing to see what comes up when the company’s name is entered. Were there any company reviews or customer testimonials that may help make a good judgment about the company’s business practices? Check out the Ripoff Report or other consumer scam alert sites to identify fraudulent companies or agents.
Visit the company’s website. Navigate through all of its pages and read all of the fine print. Is there a contact number? Call it to ensure that someone answers. Does the company have a physical address listed? If not, call or e-mail the customer service department which should willingly provide it. Validate that the address exists by using a mapping service like Google Maps. If no physical address is provided, or if it is and cannot be confirmed, then the company is probably not legitimate.
Check with the Better Business Bureau or the headquarters’ local Chamber of Commerce to see if there are any complaints filed. If there are, find out how they were resolved. Also contact your state insurance department to confirm that the company or agent is licensed and in good standing with your home state.
Finally, exercise good judgment. Be extremely wary if the agent or representative wants premiums paid in cash or checks written to a personal bank account rather than to an insurance company. They should be highly knowledgeable about their product and be able to explain confidently and clearly your insurance policy. If they cannot or will not answer your questions, behave suspiciously, or suggest something which causes uneasiness, like upgrading to a more expensive policy, then get a second opinion.
This may be a lot of information to soak in, but remember one thing: life insurance is essential to your overall financial plan. When it comes to managing your money, this is something you have to take into consideration.