eenie meenie minie moe – Find the Right Life Insurance Carrier
Finding the right insurance carrier – it’s not as hard as you think. (hey, maybe that’s our new slogan!)
First, we discussed how much life insurance you should have here: Find the Right Amount of Life Insurance in 10 Minutes
Then, in this link: What’s the Right Type of Life Insurance? (which AverageJoe refers to as “Insurance Strikes Back” because it’s part II—I know, he’s juvenile), we compared different types of insurance to find out which is right for you (if any).
I know that all four of our readers (yes, we’re up to 4 from 2 last week…or as I brag to the board: “we’re up 100% in visitors week over week!”) have been holding their breath waiting for part three of our series, so they don’t have to read any more insurance talk. But, alas, our site is called Free Financial Advisor, so we must advise.
It’s the curse of being experts and all.
You should, by now, have an amount and type of insurance in mind. Where do you buy it? What is the best life insurance carrier? In the interest of clarity, our title was a joke. You probably shouldn’t involve the highly complex process of counting toes during your decision process.
Now that we have that out of the way, I can tell you where ELSE you shouldn’t begin your life insurance search…the local insurance agent working for a “name-brand” company. These firms only peddle their own products…or at best just a few different firms. To do the job right, you’ll need to find places to shop all the carriers out there – because you may be unique. For example, some companies don’t classify pipe smoking as smoking (because I know, you didn’t inhale), so you’ll qualify for non-smoker rates. If you’re a pilot, most companies will say a polite “no thank you” before refusing to insure you…while some other companies specialize in pilots.
Bottom line, that’s why you need to start your life insurance search by following these tips:
1) Find a site listing many different insurance agencies.
2) If you’d prefer to shop with a professional, find a broker instead of a captive agent. How do you know someone is a broker? Ask for a list of quotes from several different companies. If they tell you they “pre-screened to find the best one,” insist to see them all.
3) Don’t always focus on the cheapest policy available. Here’s why: There are two important times you think about insurance:
when YOU pay and when THEY pay (when you file a claim)
Don’t get me wrong, I like low costs as much as the next guy, but when it comes to insurance, there’s nothing I want more than a quick check in my hot little hand when I need it. So, I want to focus on the insurance rating. Reliable rating firms are AM Best and S&P. If the site you’re using to shop doesn’t include links to these ratings, we’ve got you covered:
S&P Insurance Rankings
There’s a little rust on these company’s shiny reputations. For what it’s worth, these are the same agencies that said CDO’s and CMO’s were legitimate investments and posed no real risk…but sadly, there isn’t anywhere better that we can recommend.
You want your insurance company to score at least an A minus rating; below that and it’s at your own risk. Get it? Risk…ha ha ha. I can’t figure out why my wife didn’t laugh at that, either….
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