Skip to Content
Father, mother and daughter laughing symbolizing a time of life when learning about life insurance is important.
Life Insurance Basics

5 tips when shopping for life insurance

Shopping for life insurance? Understand how much coverage you need, research policy riders for added benefits, and read your policy carefully.

Ready to shop for a life insurance policy? Great! But before you do, here are some quick tips and helpful links from the Protective Life Learning Center that may help the process go just a bit easier.

Know the basics of shopping for life insurance

Shopping for life insurance (whether it's online, over the phone, or with an agent) can be an overwhelming process if you don't know a few of the basics. First of all, do a bit of homework to understand the difference between a permanent* life insurance policy and a term (or temporary) life policy. Then, get some working knowledge as to how the basic life insurance policy types work. You'll want to look at term life, whole life, and universal life.

Crunch the numbers

You won't get very far shopping for life insurance if you don't take the time to figure out how much you need. Do your loved ones a favor and resist the urge to arbitrarily pick a figure. Life insurance is serious protection and deserves a bit more consideration. Before you jump on the computer or meet with an agent, first determine how much life insurance you need. A good place to begin is with the Protective Needs Analysis Calculator.

Check out policy benefit riders

When comparing life insurance quotes, it's a good idea to find out if the policy you're considering includes any additional benefit riders. Some of these “add-on” benefits come standard, while others are optional and can carry an additional cost. Understanding policy riders such as a child rider, accelerated death benefit rider, waiver of premium rider, etc., may help you decide if paying a bit more for a policy that includes built-in benefits is worth the extra cost.  

Rate shop

Once you have some of the basics down, it's time to go shopping. You can get as many as you like, but a good rule of thumb would be to get at least three different rate quotes. Then, speak with an agent or company representative from each of the companies that you are considering. A reputable life insurance company will allow you to speak in person with a qualified insurance professional so that you can ask questions. Be sure to ask about any additional underwriting processes that you may need to go through (such as a medical exam), and what the next steps are towards getting a policy in place.

Read your policy

Once you receive your life insurance policy, take the time to read it. Most life insurance policies have what is called a declaration page, which briefly summarizes your policy. However, go beyond the declaration page and review the entire policy. The idea is to make sure that the coverage you so painstakingly took the time to select, is indeed what you want.

Generally, most life insurance policies have what is called a free look period. (Typically 10 or more days, depending on the carrier.) If for any reason you wish to cancel the policy within the specific time frame, the free look provision allows for a refund of any premiums paid. Free look provisions may differ among carriers and policies, so be sure to get the details.


* As long as required premium payments are timely made.



Arrows linking indicating relationship

Related Articles

Husband and wife washing dishes together in the kitchen.

4 reasons why no medical exam life insurance might be for you

Learn more
Family with grown children eating healthy lunch at their kitchen table.

Adding a child term rider on your life insurance policy

Learn more
 Young woman browsing the Internet for online insurance quotes.

3 considerations when getting online insurance quotes

Learn more

All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax-related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit

Companies and organizations linked from Learning Center articles have no affiliation with Protective Life or its subsidiaries.