It’s easy enough to jump online and look at prices for life insurance…
But…how do you know if the lowest priced policy is the best choice?
Top 5 Life Insurance Company Factors to Consider
Most people start their search with the price, and that’s a great place to start. No one wants to overpay for life insurance, right?
The top 20 most competitive companies are typically priced within a few dollars of each other.
Keep in mind that annual premiums offer the best life insurance pricing due to companies charging you an interest factor if you pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually and the interest factor varies by company.
Ratings and Financials
There are a number of rating services that review insurance companies. Each rating service has its own methodology used to assign ratings to carriers.
Some well recognized ratings services include:
- AM Best
- Standard & Poors
- Weiss ratings.
As independent agents, we work with many of the following companies:
Ratings are subject to change based on a company’s performance.
Comdex Score – Unlike a ratings service that evaluates financial strength and the ability to pay claims, Comdex scores were developed by a software company and should not be relied on for rating purposes.
Will you qualify for the price you were quoted?
This is where underwriting knowledge by your agent plays an important role.
Each life insurance company’s underwriting guidelines look at your:
- Health history
- Height and weight
- Medications taken
- Family History
- Motor vehicle driving record
- Credit check
- Tobacco usage
What you’ll find is that there are small differences in underwriting that may cost you a bundle if you apply to the wrong company. These underwriting guidelines are readily available to us as independent agents.
If you’ve had health problems in the past or present, we’ll show you which companies are best based on your unique history.
Other underwriting considerations include no exam policies, fully underwritten, e-app submissions, e-policy delivery, e-signatures, etc.
Life Insurance Riders
Most life insurance carriers offer riders that may be added to your policy. Some are no cost options, while other riders will increase your life insurance premium.
Some of the more common riders include:
Accelerated Death Benefit Rider
Usually a no cost rider with the companies that offer it, and availability depends on the company and state of residence.
Accelerated Death benefit riders allow you to receive a portion of the death benefit while still alive if you become terminally ill. Upon your death, the remaining proceeds are paid to your beneficiaries.
If you are considering buying life insurance on your children, you may want to consider a child rider instead. Child riders allow you to buy $5,000 – $20,000 of coverage on your children for a minimal cost.
Pricing for this rider averages $60 – $100 per year for every $10,000 of coverage.
The pricing is for all children, not per child…If you have 1 child, pricing is $60-$100, if you have 5 children, it’s still only $60-$100.
Waiver of Premium Rider
In the event you become disabled, the waiver of premium rider will pay your premium for you during your time of disability. While it is a nice rider to have, pricing tends to be expensive.
Accidental Death Rider
Accidental death riders pay an additional sum of money to your beneficiary if your death was the result of an accidental death.
A policy’s conversion privilege allows you to exchange your term life policy for a universal or whole life insurance policy without having to qualify again medically.
Why is this important?
If you developed significant health issues, you may not qualify for life insurance in the future. If you still needed coverage, a conversion allows you to exchange your term policy for a permanent insurance policy.
While most policies will never be converted, this is an important no cost feature to have in your policy.
Also important to look for is the duration of the conversion privilege. Some companies allow you to convert your policy anytime during the level term period….10,15,20,25 or 30 years.
Other companies limit the conversion period…..some as little as 5 years!
There are very few term life insurance companies today that offer no conversion privilege, but make sure you review your company’s conversion features.
Some companies may also limit the type of policy you may convert your term policy to.
Policy Change Provisions
Policy change provisions are important to understand, especially if you know that you will be making changes to your policy in the future.
- Increasing coverage
- Decreasing coverage
- Changing ownership and/or beneficiaries
- Minimum death benefit requirement after changes
- Splitting a policy into multiple policies
- Adding riders
- Conversion credits
Another recent change relates to the handling of policies at the end of the level term.
Some companies keep the death benefit the same, but increase the price you pay substantially at the end of the term.
Other companies keep the premium similar to what you were paying during the level period, but decrease the death benefit each year.
Best Life Insurance Companies
With over 100 companies available in the U.S., it can be overwhelming. We’ve worked with many companies over the years and have found that there are about 30-40 companies that are competitive for most people.
We have selected some of America’s best life insurance companies to work with. We choose these life insurance companies based on their competitive life insurance rates, underwriting expertise and ability to issue policies as applied for.
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