LifeNet Solutions Blog

What Do Independent Life Insurance Agents Actually Do?

Posted by Lenny Robbins on Mar 25, 2014 4:44:00 PM

What do independent life insurance agents actually do?They can do a lot for you...but not all independent life insurance agents work the same way. Some people say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  Others that a little is better than none.  When it comes to an important decision like life insurance, knowledge is very important.  Life insurance is intricate and involves protecting your family (or business, or estate), so be smart and use an independent agent to simplify the process.

Begin at the Beginning

You need life insurance.  You might know how much and for how long.  Or you might not be sure.  Talking to an agent can help you figure it out.  Things to take into account:

  • Who or what are you protecting?  For this article we will discuss protecting your family.
  • Do you have children? How old are they?
  • Do you have a special needs child? Or spouse?
  • Do you need to consider college expense?  Professional school expense?
  • Does your spouse work or are you the sole provider?  Do you both work?
  • What will your family lose financially if you are gone?
  • Do you have a mortgage to pay off?
  • Would you leave behind debts?
  • Can your family afford to pay your final expenses?

These are only some of the questions you need to consider.  You need to know your goals for getting life insurance.  Then your agent can help you find the right policy to fulfill your goals. 

How Much Will It Cost?

The cost of your insurance will be determined by a number of factors including:

  • How much insurance you buy.
  • What is the policy length? Is it term or permanent?
  • Your build (height and weight).
  • Medical history.
  • Current medications.
  • Family medical history.
  • And more.

An independent life insurance agent can help you determine your likely insurance rating which determines the price of a policy.  Important note- ONLY the insurance company can give you a real price.  An agent gives their best guess, based on their experience and what you tell them.  The insurance company will obtain information not available to your agent such as lab test results, doctor records and several database results before making a decision.

Once you know your rating you can adjust the price by changing the face amount or the length of the policy.  But we are getting ahead right now.

You should never be insurance poor….never spend more than you can comfortably afford.  You may not have the option to get as much coverage as you would like, but any beneficiary will tell you, it’s better to have some help than none at all. Figure out what fits into your budget and make sure your agent knows so they show you what works.

The Best Way to Shop

Let your agent be your life insurance personal shopper.  You can go online and get quotes, but if you aren’t including some of the information mentioned before…like your build, medical history, etc., you don’t really know if you will qualify for that price 

Your independent life insurance agent has access to many more companies than you do.  They can also screen out policies based on your build, medical issues, etc.  They can show a list of carriers for the type of policy, amount and length of time that you want.  Then and only then do you know that you are getting your best deal.

There is no cost for using an agent, they are paid by the insurance companies.  All rates are set and recorded with the state insurance departments.  So the cost is the same if you go direct (which most insurance companies don’t offer) or if you use an independent agent.

What Else Does an Agent Bring to the Table?

What happens if you get declined?  Or approved at a poorer rating?  An independent agent will probably be able to give you other options.  You aren’t alone- they can tell you what options are available.  Also, they may have an in-house independent underwriter to help too.  They may be able to go back to the insurance company and get you a better rating.  Or they may be able to get you some other offers. 

Check with your agent to see what they do once your policy is in force.  We want to be there to help you if you need to change your beneficiary or you move or you change banks.  Or anything else.  Not all agents do that.  Find out what you can expect once your policy is in force before you choose your agent.

The Bottom Line

If you have the right independent life insurance agent, you have an advocate in your corner.  They are with you for life, starting with the quoting and application process.  Having the right agent can help you make sure you get the best life insurance for your needs.

Download 5 Questions to Ask Before Speaking to an Agent

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