There's a first time for everything. And if you've made the decision to purchase a life insurance policy for the first time, chances are you're wondering where to start. Fortunately, what may seem like a complicated process, isn't as intimidating if you follow a few simple steps.
While everyone's situation is different, the following steps are a typical part of the life insurance shopping and buying process.
Step one: Decide on a policy typeDon't let the different life insurance policy types confuse you. Basically, there are two fundamental types of policies - term and permanent.* By doing a bit of online research, you can better understand the particular type of life insurance that's best for you. Then, an experienced agent or company representative can explain what products they can offer you.
Step two: Calculate how much life insurance you needSimply put, if you were to die tomorrow, how much would your loved ones need to meet their immediate financial obligations? The fact is, when you die, your paychecks stop. So it makes sense to start by replacing your annual income. For example, if you currently make $45,000 a year, start there. Then, figure out how many years your family may need this income, add in any outstanding debts, and then finally, deduct any funds you may already have saved. Plug these numbers into a life insurance calculator that can instantly give you an estimate of your life insurance coverage needs.
Step three: Check your budgetLife insurance is a lifelong commitment. You don't want to buy a life insurance policy today, only to have it lapse a year later. Once you understand the policy type that'll work best for you and have calculated how much life insurance you should have, review your budget. While you want to buy enough coverage to meet your needs, it should fit within your monthly budget. A qualified insurance agent or company representative can help you design a plan that considers both.
Step four: Get quotes from reputable insurance companiesWhen shopping for quotes, aim to get at least three from reputable and established life insurance companies. You can spend some time on the Internet shopping for coverage, or make an appointment with an agent. Whatever method you chose, research how long the company has been in business and how financially sound they are.
Step five: Ask questionsOnce you have a few quotes, get answers on things such as how the company bills your premiums (monthly, quarterly, or annually), policy rider options, and who you can contact for policy changes, updates, and billing questions.
Step six: Prepare for your medical exam
Most life insurance companies will require a medical exam that typically includes a blood draw and urine sample. Because people tend to be more relaxed at home, try to get the examiner to come to your residence - if possible. Be sure to follow any instructions regarding how you should prepare for your exam (such as fasting for a certain amount of time, drinking enough water, and avoiding caffeine or strenuous exercise).
*As long as required premium payments are timely made.