Life insurance advice is like any other type of advice you receive—if it’s informed and unbiased, and you’re getting it from somebody who has your best interests at heart, then it’s probably useful. But no one wants life insurance guidance from someone who doesn’t know what they’re talking about or has their own agenda.
Advice from Family and Friends
It’s natural to ask family and friends for life insurance tips. The problem is that they probably aren’t very familiar with the complexities of the life insurance industry.
In some cases, they are simply telling you about their own experience; they aren’t providing any insight into what life insurance options are best for you. Other times, they are trying to give you specific advice, but without the industry knowledge necessary to make it good advice.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking life insurance suggestions from family and friends—just remember that they aren’t life insurance experts. They’re not professionals whose job is to help people find the best life insurance value. Hopefully the policy(s) they have fit their goals, but that doesn't mean they will fit your needs.
Advice from a Captive Agent
But you’ve got to be careful about getting advice from professionals, as well. Many life insurance agents are “captive agents,” which means they only represent one insurance carrier’s products. They are limited in that they only have products from one carrier. There is no competition in their minds. Even if you could find a better value elsewhere, the captive agent is going to steer you toward the carrier they sell for.
An independent life insurance agent, on the other hand, is not tied to one carrier. They represent many different carriers and have the ability to search the entire market to find the best deal for you. Multiple carriers give you more options to choose from.
Advice From an Independent Agent
A successful independent agent’s business is built on earning a reputation as someone who helps clients fulfill their life insurance goals at the best value possible. To give you the best-possible personalized guidance, an independent agent will take the time to get to know you and your situation. The independent agent’s goal is to keeps your insurance costs affordable while providing you with the protection you need—the same as your goal—so you will get advice with your best interests in mind.
To find the right independent agent, take a look at the agent's website. Are they honest about both the good and bad of policy options? Do they give you valuable, unbiased information? Do they provide useful insights to help in your decision making? Do they have good customer reviews on their site, and on sites like Yelp and Google+? Find an agent that you feel comfortable with and then give them a call.
The Bottom Line
Be wary of advice about buying life insurance if it’s not from an experienced independent life insurance agent who’s genuinely motivated to get you the best deal possible.
Photo credit: Laughlin Elkind