Life insurance helps protect your loved ones in case of your passing.
But the life insurance market is broad and quite complex. To find a life insurance policy that works for you, you may want to hire a life insurance agent.
However, even picking the right life insurance agent itself is a bit of a hunt. To help you out, here’s a quick guide to finding a good agent for you.
Finding a Life Insurance Agent
First, you’ll need to find a life insurance agent. You can look online, but it’s often best to start with the following two sources to narrow your search:
1. Friends, Family, Neighbors, and Colleagues
Start with those closest to you — friends, family, neighbors, and colleagues. There’s a decent chance some of them have similar life situations, meaning their agent may be able to help you find a good life insurance policy.
Also, you may be able to help your friend, family member, neighbor, or colleague get a referral bonus of some sort from their agent.
2. Other Professional Advisors You Work With
Accountants, financial planners, lawyers, and other professional advisors all network with each other and insurance agents. They may be able to point you towards a few good agent choices.
Choosing a Life Insurance Agent
Once you start finding some agents, you’ll want to make sure they’re a good fit.
1. Captive vs. Independent
Captive agents can only sell policies from the company at which they are a “captive.” For instance, State Farm agents only sell State Farm policies.
Independent agents can sell policies from numerous companies. Naturally, they can show you more options — especially useful if you have a medical condition or another factor that makes finding the right life insurance policy more complex.
2. Online vs. Traditional
Are you well-versed in life insurance and only need quick help comparing policies? Or do you have more complex needs and want personalized assistance in finding a policy?
Online agents are good for the first case, especially if you just want a term life insurance policy. For the second set of circumstances, however, going through a traditional, in-person agent may be the better choice — especially for permanent policies, the extra time investment is worth it.
3. Check Your Agent’s Licensure
You always want to make sure the agent is licensed properly in your state with current (unexpired) credentials.
You can either ask them or look them up via your state’s insurance department. The department’s website should have an agent lookup tool.
A more experienced agent is usually good, but do they have experience with people in similar situations to you? If so, they’ll be able to find you a great policy more easily.
5. Professional Designations
Professional designations could indicate more expertise, trustworthiness, and dedication to getting you the best policy.
Some certifications to look for include:
- Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC)
- Certified Insurance Service Representative (CISR)
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
Find a Good Life Insurance Policy Through the Right Agent
Make sure to ask family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues for recommendations. Once you have a list of potential agents, compare and contrast based on the above factors to pick the right one. It’ll make finding a great policy that much easier.
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