5 Questions for Your Insurance Agent

Life insurance began as a simple concept. Over time it has evolved into a complex marketplace teeming with different products, promises and premiums. With so many choices at hand, you need a trustworthy company, as well as an agent who understands your concerns and can provide the products and service that complements your needs.

But finding an agent you can trust is not always easy. The number of life insurance agents seeking your business seemingly is as vast as the number of products available. Selecting an agent begins with asking a few questions - the answers to which will help you decide who you trust with your business.

Here are five important questions to ask life insurance agents seeking your business:

  1. "How accessible are you?"
    The Internet has made shopping for many types of products as easy a clicking a mouse. Life insurance is no exception; there are many life insurance companies that assume you will go to their Web site, click the policy you want and pay. There are consumers who prefer to do business this way. But if you are a not one of them, make sure you select a life agent who shares your views on the importance of personal attention.

  2. "How often will we talk?"
    Many policyholders believe that buying a life insurance policy is a once-and-done deal. The reality is that your life insurance needs change as your life changes; getting married, having a new baby, earning a big promotion or buying a big home can require changes in your policy. You will not always remember to call your agent every time there is a significant change in your life. An agent who will periodically assist in evaluating your needs could be a blessing, especially if he or she initiates the contact.

  3. "Can you explain this stuff to me in terms that make sense?"
    Your life insurance agent should remember that he or she is the one in the insurance business, not you. Make sure your agent can explain policy terms and other aspects of your life insurance in a way that makes sense to you and your benefactors. It's important to remember that it may not always be you who deals with your life insurance agent.

  4. "What companies do you represent?"
    Asking this question is important for several reasons. First, an agent who has access to several different insurance companies will be able to shop for you - more choices means more opportunities for better terms, premiums, etc. In addition, knowing the companies your agent will go to for coverage can help you determine the financial strength and integrity of the company before the policy is offered. There are several insurance company rating services available to research this information as well as your state's insurance department. And, by all means, question any agent who suggests placing your business with a financially unstable insurance company. Lastly, a greater selection of products may give your agent the tools he or she needs to always act in your best interest, even as your needs change over time.

  5. "What other services do you provide?"
    Life insurance may not be the only financial service valuable to you and your family. Many life insurance agents offer additional services such as retirement planning, college savings plans, long-term care insurance, investments, etc. If life insurance is only a part of your family's overall financial plan, an agent who can assist you with more of your goals may be more helpful.

Finding a life insurance agent who gives you favorable responses to these questions and who you can trust can put you and your family on the path to long-term financial security. Now, get out there and start asking these questions!

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