Should you purchase life insurance online or offline?

Choosing an insurance policy for your car can be mind-boggling enough but, when it comes to covering your life, finding the right insurance can be a daunting process. The simple fact is that life, in all its unpredictability, is relatively easy to insure: both online and in person. Whether you prefer an online or offline insurer really comes down to what you need.

Insurance Broker Or Agent

The old saying “knowledge is power” comes to mind on the subject of life insurance. Because every policy is duty-bound to have a Policy Disclosure Booklet (PDB) attached, reputable companies will always have an attached PDF version of their PDB online so you can take your time to read the fine print.

Having said that, PDBs can be confusing at times and, if you find that’s the case, then speaking to an insurance broker may be your best option. Face-to-face consultations are also recommended if you have an unusual medical history or just require a higher level of coverage. Online insurance can be quick to obtain from an insurance company, but only if your situation fits within the specific set conditions.

The biggest difference between going through a broker or an insurance representative is that a broker is not obliged to sell any one company’s policy. Finding a broker through the National Insurance Brokers Association is the best place to start. The Association has up-to-date information and maintains a wide knowledge on the best policies available. In addition, all brokers have to adhere to a strict code of ethics and a good broker will stay with you for the duration of the policy to help you make a claim if you need to, making the claims process faster.

The Online Insurance Advantage

Most insurance companies and brokers have online options these days and some deal exclusively with clients in an online environment. A good example is Life Broker. It took only two minutes to fill out their online quotation form and they responded the following day with quotes from around 15 insurance companies. There was also the option to discuss the policies over the phone.

Many insurance brokers will not charge for a quote, either in person or online, but always check this is still the case if you’re intending to insure for a larger amount. For more complex quotes, it’s understandable that some fees will be charged, in which case shop around for the quote price first.

Going direct with an insurance company can also be very fast. ING’s First Life, for example, is an online policy that provides cover up to $500,000 for people up to 54 years old. However, that cover dwindles to just $250,000 between 55 -75 years old, with the policy expiring after that.

For most basic policies that cover up to $500,000, such as ING’s First Life, a medical examination is not required, making the approvals immediate if the conditions are met. For more complex cover, approval time will be longer, particularly if a medical examination is required.

Interestingly, Life Broker maintains that all brokers should be quoting the same price for the same policies. They say that if you have been quoted various prices, the policies will probably not be the same.

Online Insurance Pitfalls: Where A Face-To-Face Counts

The most important thing to be aware of when dealing with any company online is whether or not the company is reputable – if it’s a well-known company chances are it also has a reputation for reliability. You also need to make sure that their site is secure and that you have up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software installed on your computer. Identity theft is rife, so don’t take any chances. If you have problems, the Insurance Ombudsman Service may be able to help.

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Income Protection  Life Insurance