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Choosing an Insurance Company and Finding an Agent

What should I look for in an insurance company and agent?
Check out the Beehive's section on choosing an insurance company and an agent.

What information will I need to give an agent when I buy life insurance?
The insurance agent will want information about your family's financial situation, plans for the future and your health and activities. Get a printable list of questions to answer.

What happens if my insurance company goes out of business?
If your insurance company goes out of business before you die or cash out your policy, you will be out of luck. So it's very important that you choose an insurance company that is financially strong. You can find out how strong a company is by checking its financial rating (to be safe, go with a company that is rated "A," "AA," or "AAA").

I already have life insurance, but I just heard about another company that offers better rates. Should I cancel my current policy and buy one with this new company?
Possibly. But remember that buying a new insurance policy becomes more expensive as you get older, and if you have permanent insurance you will have to start again in building the cash value. It doesn't make sense to change your life insurance policy very often.

How can I make sure I don't get cheated?
There are companies that will take your money and then not deliver on their commitment to you. Here are some tips on protecting yourself from being cheated:

  • Do not buy the first policy you find, shop around and compare prices and features.
    Get tips on finding an insurance company.
  • Deal only with licensed insurance companies and agents.
  • Choose a company that is financially strong. (Check the company’s financial rating. To be safe, go with a company that is rated "A," "AA," or "AAA.")
  • Go someplace else if the agent can't or won't answer your questions.
  • Do not sign a blank application or claim forms.
  • Fill out your application or claim form carefully. It's a crime to supply false information on an insurance application or claim and incorrect, incomplete or false information on your application can jeopardize your insurance coverage.
  • Never pay premiums in cash. Always pay for insurance premiums by check or money order.
  • Get a copy of your policy from your agent and read through it carefully - make sure you're getting the coverage you discussed with your agent.
  • Keep copies of all insurance records in a safe place (this includes copies of your premium payments). Store extra copies in a safe-deposit box, waterproof and fireproof container or with a friend or attorney.
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