Today we’ll be looking at how to choose the right life insurance agent.

Online life insurance agent or broker

These brokers are good if you understand your coverage needs, wanting only term life insurance (these only last for a set number of years), or if you want to buy it on your own terms with minimal help. Term life insurance can last you for a certain amount of time, like 10, 20, or 30 years. This is inexpensive and can be the most sufficient for a lot of families. 

With online agents or brokers, you can get quotes, apply, and even buy coverage all online. Some companies may partner with a company to give you a life insurance comparison tool, which lets you apply for the life insurance that fits your needs.

If instant coverage is what you need, places like Haven Life (a subsidiary of MassMutual), Ladder (a partner of Fidelity Security Life Insurance), and Ethos (sells policies from Assurity Life Insurance Co.) all have quick application processes and can give nearly instant coverages without needing a medical exam.

Traditional life insurance agent or broker

This option is good if you need permanent life insurance, want personalized advice, or have more complex needs. If you require a bit more hand holding than an online “do it yourself” broker provides, or if you want permanent life insurance, this is the way to go. Permanent life insurance also includes a cash value, which is a savings account that grows over many years. However, the policies are much more complicated than regular term life.

If you’re worried about your life insurance and how it fits into your financial life, try hiring a fee-only financial planner who can advise you on the type and amount of coverage to buy. They’ll be the ones that can recommend you to a good insurance agent. 

‘Captive’ vs. Independent insurance agents

There are two different types of insurance agents, captive and independent. A “captive” insurance agent only sells products from the company they represent. Someone from AllState will only sell you AllState insurance, not State Farm as well. 

An independent broker can sell you policies from many different companies. That means that when using this broker, you don’t have to do prior research and can compare the prices from different companies with the agent. However, the agent can only sell you life insurance they have made agreements to sell. You also can’t buy insurance through an independent agent from a company that only sells policies directly to the consumer, such as TIAA, or only uses captive agents, such as AllState.

If you have problems qualifying for affordable health insurance because you have a troubling health problem, or a risky hobby, an independent agent is the best way that you can get affordable insurance. A good independent agent will know the guidelines at different insurers and will use their knowledge to steer you in the right direction.