Life insurance is a promise - a promise to protect your loved ones when you are not here to do so yourself. With this in mind, nothing calls for trust more than the purchase of a life insurance policy. You have to trust the insurance company to keep the promise made to you and your loved ones. Below are four ways to ensure your trust is well-placed.
1. Check your insurance company's financial solvency
Similar to consumer credit bureaus, there are several insurance rating agencies ( A.M. Best, Moody's, Fitch Ratings, S&P's) that provide insights into an insurance company's financial stability and ability to pay future claims. Not all companies are rated by all the agencies, and they each have unique standards and rating methods. Be sure to review more than one agency's ratings.
In addition, life insurance is regulated at the state level. To protect the public interest, each state in the union stipulates solvency levels insurance companies must maintain. When your advisor recommends an insurance company, you should ask for information about the company's financial ratings. Your financial professional should be able to provide you with information about the insurance company's financial stability. You may also choose to research the insurance company by accessing its website.
2. Ask for your financial professional's reasoning
Your choice of financial professional is an important part of the trust equation. When looking for a professional, it may be wise to pay attention to which ones ask questions about your lifestyle, your goals, and your financial position. A good financial professional should recommend a life insurance policy and insurance company that uniquely fit your situation. Find out if your adviser or agent represents the products of one life insurance company or the products of several companies. Independent agents should be able to demonstrate how they select the insurance companies they represent. Ask financial professionals why they feel this insurance company and insurance policy are the best options for you.
3. Read and understand to receive reliable life insurance policy terms
Well-placed trust requires knowledge. Consumers have a legal right to review an insurance policy before accepting it. The review period varies by state but all states have one. In fact, information about the review period can be found on the front page or cover of most policies. Use the allotted period to actually read the insurance policy. You should be sure you understand what the policy does and does not cover. Most insurance policies are designed to be easy to read and understand. It is a small commitment of your time, well-invested. If you have questions, call your financial professional or the insurance company's customer service center. Contact information can also be found on the front page or cover of the policy.
4. Check with your state's Department of Insurance
Finally, if you need more information to feel comfortable with your decision to purchase a life insurance policy, use your state's Department or Bureau of Insurance as a resource to research complaints that have been made about the insurance company and how they were resolved. This last step can offer valuable insights.
When you purchase a life insurance policy, you're taking an important step to help protect your family's future. By taking the added precautions above, you can feel more confident in your life insurance decision.