How to Choose a Life Insurance Agent

Buying life insurance is an important decision you make for yourself and your loved ones. The agent from whom you buy a policy plays a large role in helping you buy the right policy for your needs. Learn how to choose a life insurance agent as you prepare for your family's future.

State Licensed

Your state's insurance department issues licenses to life insurance agents who demonstrate that they understand insurance and are committed to a code of ethics. Select a licensed agent to ensure you deal with one who's knowledgeable and permitted by law to issue you a policy.

Willing to Listen

You deserve a life insurance agent who will listen to you. He or she should take time to understand your financial situation, income, assets, attitude toward risk and personal situation. With this information, the agent can recommend products that work for you instead of selling something you don't want or need.

Explains the Details

Life insurance lingo can be complicated. A good agent can explain all the details, including the difference between a term and whole life policy, so that you understand exactly what your options are.

No Pressure

You should never buy a policy from a pushy agent. Of course it's a wise investment, but the choice of what insurance you buy and when you buy it should be one you make after careful consideration, not because you were pushed.

Provides Written Documentation

After you meet with an agent, he or she should prepare a personalized written document specifically for you. It will outline your current financial situation, personal needs and life insurance options. You can review that document as you determine which policy meets your needs. If the agent is unwilling to provide this documentation, look elsewhere for help.

Fair Compensation

Most life insurance agents are paid a commission on the policies they sell, but a few earn income from fees associated with the policies they sell. Understand the agent's compensation plan to ensure you're receiving a fair product recommendation and only the products you need.

Communicates Regularly

Life insurance isn't something you can purchase and forget about. Your circumstances, family size, income or health may change and prompt you to select a different type or quantity of coverage. Select an agent who is committed to keeping in touch and checking on you at least once a year to see if your needs have changed. Every three years, your agent should sit down with you, review your policy and ensure you still have the coverage that's best for you.

When you're ready to purchase life insurance, carefully select an agent. Use this list to help you choose one who's right for you.
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