It is our practice to compare the best life insurers in the context of which of them has the best chance of providing overall value to our clients. Yes, we are still active life insurance agents who work with clients all over the United States to purchase any type of life insurance that fits their needs–be it a term life policy or any number of whole life policies. Most of the time the premiums or the client's budget for the policy determines the coverage options available to them.
Many people have a bias toward using participating whole life insurance as their choice for cash value life insurance while others lean more toward using indexed universal life insurance.
Quite honestly, we don’t feel there’s a right or wrong answer here. Both types of policies will work well with a cash accumulation strategy so long as the policies are structured properly. And we even sell term life insurance to many of our clients as well.
As for looking at term life insurance quotes, generally, that's fairly straightforward as most people are looking at paying those premium payments for 20-year terms or 30-year terms.
However, when we are looking at permanent life insurance policies things get a little more complicated or nuanced depending on your outlook. In particular,
How Do You Compare Life Insurance Companies?
If we are comparing the best life insurance company when evaluating participating whole life insurance it is a different matter altogether. Most of the time when comparing whole life, we're faced with comparing Mass Mutual, Northwestern Mutual, New York Life, Guardian Life, and Penn Mutual.
As I mentioned a few years back, in my article “ Do We Need More Life Insurance Agents? ”, it seems that most life insurers go out of their way to make it difficult to do business with them. They would argue that but we have over 30 years of experience suggesting otherwise.
One of the simplest ways to thin the list of life insurance products to evaluate when looking at whole life insurance, in particular, is to pay close attention to life insurance ratings. No, ratings are certainly not the panacea but they do provide a way to quickly assess which companies to avoid.
Without going too deep into the mechanics of participating whole life insurance, understand that the financial strength ratings can point to overall financial stability or the lack thereof. A company that suffers in its ratings may have trouble paying a nice dividend in the future. And that would weaken the rationale to actually purchase life insurance coverage.
All that being said, the life insurance companies do not make it an easy process to compare dividend pay whole life insurance. On the other hand, if you are looking to buy a term life insurance policy, you're in luck.
You can easily compare term life insurance quotes from large, reputable companies like Transamerica, John Hancock, Lincoln Financial, Banner Life, AIG, Mutual of Omaha, and many others to say the least. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners ensures that illustrations amongst them all are fair and transparent.
It sort of harkens back to a time when investment information was controlled by retail stockbrokers. Back in the day, if you wanted any information on a stock you had to call your broker, get a research report from them, and then place your trade with them. They controlled the information flow and the transaction cost was astronomical.
Eventually, with the dawn of the internet and free information readily available to us all, the retail brokerage model was forced to change. Now you can trade stock for free online.
It’s time for the life insurance industry to do the same and in particular, those that offer participating whole life insurance.
How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?
When you are looking to buy a policy, no matter what type of life insurance you're considering, this question is front and center. There is no hard and fast way to determine your need for life insurance death benefit but there are opinions.
Some popular financial gurus suggest 10x your current income. Not the worst method though if you are young, earn a high income and have a non-working spouse, you probably need more like 30x your current income to replace yours if you die. If you want to be more precise you can add up all of your debts and then multiply your current income by the number of years you would like to replace it.
For example, Bob is 32 and earns $100,000 a year. His wife, Sally, is a full-time mom to Bob Jr. and Janey. They have a mortgage of $300,000 and owe another $5,000 on credit cards. Additionally, Bob would like to pay for both kids' college tuition with the death benefit proceeds if he dies. Plus of course, there are the funeral costs to account for as well which he estimates at about $15,000.
Based on the rough estimate from above, he would want to have somewhere in the neighborhood of $2million, or a bit more. If he went with the 10x income number he would leave Sally coming up short of what he really desired.
How Do You Qualify For Life Insurance?
Additional concerns that do come up when thinking about “how much is enough life insurance coverage?“…do any of your children have disabilities that would require greater care? What sort of underwriting process is going to be required if you have diabetes? Do you have a history of terminal illness in your immediate family that could affect the underwriting process?
In fact, it can feel at times that qualifying for life insurance is an entirely different business that you have to understand. And it is an important part of comparing life insurance companies as the process for underwriting can vary quite a bit from State Farm to Ohio National as a strange example.
The coverage amounts will dictate what particular hoops you are required to jump through to qualify. Some companies now use an algorithmic process that relies on compiled data from multiple sources.
Whether we like it or not, companies collect our data all the time and sell it to other companies every day- your credit card company, grocery store loyalty/discount card, internet browser, local internet service provider to name a few. Plus there is a prescription history database that is heavily relied upon to scrape information about your health.
Are There Any Riders That You Need?
There are quite a few various riders that you could add to your life insurance policy but there are only a few that most policyholders can choose to add to their policy.
That probably sounds a bit strange because everyone knows that riders are additional benefits that are not covered under the base life insurance policy no matter what type of life insurance it happens to be – whole life, term life insurance, variable universal life insurance, or indexed universal life insurance. Riders add extra features and most people think that comes at an extra cost.
Sometimes that is true. If you want to add the waiver of premium rider which covers your premium payments if you become disabled there is a significant added cost to your policy. How much extra cost does this rider add? Well, that depends on your health rating, your age, and your premium amount.
To contrast that, most modern life insurance policies have included with them an accelerated death benefit rider that will provide the death benefit to you while you are still alive. Some are only in the event of a terminal illness, others cover chronic illness and yet others provide a sort of long term care benefit under this rider if you require nursing care or home assistance. There's no parity in the name of the rider nor in the terms.
Should You Care About Customer Satisfaction and Complaints?
You should always care about both of these things but you do have to consider the source of information. Sometimes people post comments online (in particular) about their terrible experience with a life insurance company only to later reveal that the problem was avoidable by paying their premium on time.
That being said, we have definitely determined that a good customer service department can make a great life insurer look bad and a good one can make a mediocre company seem a whole lot better. What is important however is that the company is responsive and follows through on what they say they will do.
If you call and request a beneficiary change, a very routine request, how quickly do they forward the form to complete the change? Will they email it to you versus only mailing it to you? Will they allow you electronically sign the change form or are they only accepting a wet signature?
That is just one minor example obviously but how they handle those sorts of everyday requests probably indicates how responsive they will be when it comes to assisting you with a death claim or a policy loan. Both of which are terribly important to handle on a timely basis.
Who Needs Life Insurance?
Well, that is probably a loaded question to be answered by two life insurance agents that have a website dedicated to educating people about life insurance.
The easiest answer here is that anyone who has a financial interest in another person should consider purchasing a term policy at the very least. It's cheap, easy to qualify without a medical exam in most cases, will cover final expenses, and is quick to pay your beneficiaries.
On a less logical or practical level, anyone who cares about those left behind should absolutely purchase life insurance.
Would You Like Help Getting the Best Life Insurance Coverage for Yourself?
If you’d like for us to compare options for you, we’re more than happy to do that. We’ve spent a great deal of time to develop our own proprietary method for doing this very thing.
We will guide you through the process of determining the right coverage amount if you are not really sure and we can help you determine what type of life insurance will fit your budget. It is a manual process for us, but we have found that it provides you with the most accurate way that we know of to look at the best life insurance company and life insurance product to fit your particular situation.
You can rest assured that we will not spout off any platitudes from the life insurance company brochure. We do not take their word for it; we actually analyze their financial statements and state filings to determine which life insurance company compares best for you.
If that sounds appealing to have two dedicated life insurance professionals work on your behalf to ensure peace of mind for you and your loved ones, please contact us and we will gladly set aside some time to discuss your concerns with you by email and by phone.
We will then develop a few workable ideas for you to consider while always keeping your budget in mind and we will never attempt to sell you more insurance than you need or can reasonably afford. Completing a full life insurance company comparison is how we know for sure that you are getting exactly what you need.
Click here and fill out the brief form to let us know the basics of what you are thinking and we'll get back in touch with you as soon as possible.