My term life insurance will expire soon. Not technically expire but the renewal rate will skyrocket after the level-premium period comes to an end. Since I’m still going to work a few more years, I want to have life insurance for some more years to make sure my family is really financially secure if I die.
I’m following my own playbook How to Buy Life Insurance. I wrote it 7 years ago. It still works for the most part.
I called the agent who sold me my current policy years ago. He said he doesn’t sell to individuals any more. Instead, his business now only focuses on employee benefits for businesses.
I needed a new agent. My first stop was to term4sale.com. I got quotes as usual. After I clicked on “Find An Agent” I noticed something different. The phone numbers of the 3 agents given to me were all toll-free numbers, not local numbers. Some have websites. When I checked their websites, they were all out of state, far away, not local agents.
I live in a major metro area. There should be plenty of local agents around. I checked a random zip code in a different major metro area. Same thing. Toll free numbers, out-of-state agents.
There’s nothing wrong with working with an agent out of state. These days we have online bank accounts, online brokerage accounts, and online auto insurance such as GEICO. I said one should find a financial advisor outside one’s local area. However, I find it disingenuous when term4sale.com says all over the place:
Click on [the Find An Agent button] for the names of 3 COMPULIFE subscribers near you.
I clicked on that button and they are not near me!
High-volume Internet agents have taken over term4sale listings. Local agents can’t compete without their scale. My previous agent exited the market altogether.
What if you still want a local agent? The premium is going to be the same whether you buy the policy from a local agent or an out-of-state agent.
I picked Ohio National as my preferred insurance company. It has good ratings and low premiums for the type of policy I wanted. I went to its website and I used the “Find a Rep” link there to send a message asking for a referral.
A day later I got an email from a local agent. She gave me a quote, which was the same from term4sale. I asked a few questions. She answered them. She didn’t try to sell me any variable, universal, or whole life policy. She normally represents New York Life. She didn’t try to steer me to New York Life either.
She filled out an application for me. I signed. That was it. Easy.
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