Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

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ronin
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Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by ronin » Thu Mar 19, 2015 10:44 pm

Hello fellow Bogleheads,

I'm getting ready to purchase term life and am unsure whether I should utilize the variety of online agents (Select Quote, etc.) versus finding a local agent. Conceptually I have no problem conducting business online, but I'm not sure if there are any advantages to being able to sit face to face with someone for this type of transaction. I take it pricing in theory is the same regardless, though better agents may be more apt to directing you to insurance companies that may be more favorable to any specific situation. If you do recommend a local agent, what's a recommended way to choose one? I could use my local credit union's services, AAA, etc.

My health is great (non-smoker, etc.), I'm 42 and likely looking for 20-25 years of coverage as we are just starting are family. Any thoughts on this and which approach to calculating how much coverage to buy would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you kindly.

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slow n steady
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by slow n steady » Fri Mar 20, 2015 4:56 am

I used a local agent and am glad I did. We only talked on the phone and he sent me all the stuff to fill out. I made sure to shop around at term4sale.com to make sure I was getting a good quote. It was nice to have the agent know which companies are better or worse for certain problems (family history ect.).

My agent advertises that he only sells term life so I knew I wouldn't get a hard sale for a lot of stuff I didn't want. The experience was surprisingly painless.

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gasdoc
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by gasdoc » Fri Mar 20, 2015 9:10 am

While shopping online, I discovered a broker who pointed me to the product I ultimately chose. I am healthy, with a touch of asthma, and the broker knew which companies would not penalize me for that one medical problem. Bottom line: I would use a broker as long as he truely does not work for any one company but can shop the marketplace for you.

ronin
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by ronin » Sat Mar 21, 2015 12:27 pm

Thanks for the thoughts thus far. When selecting an agent/broker (are those interchangeable?), how many different (and which particular if it matters) companies should they represent to be a reasonable choice? It seems many of them have a half dozen give or take with some overlap and some unique. Is the better agent/broker the one that offers choices across the most companies or are there other aspects to consider?

In terms of picking an actual agent/broker, I'm not finding much in the way of reviews/ratings (Angie's List, etc.) so I guess its either word of mouth recommendation or start talking to someone, and see if it "feels right" in terms of selecting? I understand the pricing is all the same regardless of who you work with, correct?

Thanks!

random_walker_77
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by random_walker_77 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:22 pm

In my case, I used online (term4sale) which then connected me to a broker. It was a good experience. Though the broker was 3 hours away, it was all done over the phone and with fax/ USPS. And the free medical exam was done by a mobile nurse who came to my home. (If you get a policy that requires a medical exam, be sure to ask for a copy of the results!)

Dandy
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by Dandy » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:31 pm

If you know you want term it is pretty simple just to buy on line. You want to make sure it is from a top rated company, that it is guaranteed renewable up to at least age 65 (unless you have a shorter need) and you want to look at premiums. Most agents don't make money selling term so you are likely to get a pitch for variable or variable universal life (a combination of insurance and investing) these products are too expensive. You are better off investing on your own.

ronin
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by ronin » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:35 pm

Anyone have experience with any of the following: AAA (American Automobile Association) Life Insurance or just their agency/brokerage services, or Select Quote online? I take it Term4Sale links refers you to independent agents that may or may not be local to you.

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gasdoc
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by gasdoc » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:13 pm

The problem with simply applying online with services such as SelectQuote, in my experience, is that the small amount of info you use to prescreen does not get back an accurate quote. My experience with the broker was faster and better- he knew which company gave the best treatment for whatever medical problems might run in the family. And it was easy to do over the internet/phone.

Miriam2
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Re: Term Insurance Shopping - Local Agent vs. Online?

Post by Miriam2 » Sat Mar 21, 2015 2:53 pm

ronin wrote:Anyone have experience with any of the following: AAA (American Automobile Association) Life Insurance or just their agency/brokerage services, or Select Quote online? I take it Term4Sale links refers you to independent agents that may or may not be local to you.
We used term4sale.com and it was easy to pull up term prices for different death benefits at different levels for different amount of years - without sales people calling.
You plug in your zip code and term4sale gives you 3 agents in your area. We used one of their agents and he was good, the least offensive life insurance salesman we found. He had other types of life insurance also, including gUL, guaranteed universal life products, and kept us away from whole life, which we appreciated. He came to our house, set up the medical exams quickly, took care of all the paperwork.

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