Sure, you know you will die someday. But you will be so old by then that you’ll be ready to go. Oh, and rich. You’ll also be rich. So who needs life insurance?
But, as you know, life doesn’t always go the way we plan. Sometimes people die before their time and life insurance is there to provide income to those who are left behind. It’s a way for you to continue to provide for your loved ones even if you pass away.
Do You Need Life Insurance Now?
If you have a spouse, kids, or anyone else who depends on you financially, you need life insurance.
The good news is that the younger you are, the less expensive term life insurance is. A young, healthy person can get the best price on term life insurance; sometimes, a substantial amount of coverage will be less than a gym membership.
And don’t think you need to spend hours on the phone price shopping with pushy insurance salesmen, either. Some new players and some of the oldest major life insurance companies alike are beginning to offer the best prices on term life insurance online.
Where Can You Shop for Life Insurance Online?
Ladder offers flexible term life insurance starting at just $5 a month. This company is named after the concept of “laddering.”
Laddering is increasing or decreasing your life insurance coverage as your needs change to make sure you’re only paying for the coverage you need. Big life and financial changes like welcoming a new child or paying off a loan, for example, could be good reasons to change your coverage.
But “laddering up” (adding more coverage) or “laddering down” (removing some coverage) is completely optional. Ladder offers term lengths between 10 and 30 years with a coverage minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $8 million. This maximum is high compared to other providers.
It only takes about 10 minutes to apply for Ladder life insurance. The application doesn’t require a medical exam for less than $3 million in coverage.
If you want to apply for term life insurance without completing a medical exam, check out Bestow. They only offer term life insurance, since they know that’s what most people need. They have a quick and simple application process that provides an instant decision.
Bestow offers policies ranging from $50,000 to $1.5 million and are available in 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, or 30-year terms.
Policygenius is another company looking to disrupt the life insurance business by letting customers shop for the best prices on term life insurance entirely online. Policygenius clearly has younger life insurance buyers in mind, making it clear that you won’t get a phone call if you don’t want one.
One of Policygenius’s competitive advantages is their ability to give more accurate online quotes. They do this by asking for a comprehensive medical history online.
Indeed, it may seem rather personal to divulge all this info on an online form, but rest assured it’s strictly confidential. The benefit is that the quotes you get from Policygenius are less likely to go up after you go through the real-live medical exam that is required for most policies. (There’s no point in lying about your smoking or high cholesterol–the insurance company will take a blood draw and know all.)
Policygenius also now has an option (through their partner Brighthouse SimplySelect℠) to get term life insurance with no medical exam required.
You’ll need to call a Policygenius agent to answer an over-the-phone questionnaire, but after that, you can get up to $2 million in coverage, while still keeping your low premiums. You can get coverage in just three to four days, rather than having to wait weeks like you would with other companies.
Do You Still Need Life Insurance if You Have It Through Work?
Probably. Although employer-provided life insurance is better than nothing, they may not provide enough coverage — and are in force only while you remain employed.
“Life insurance through work can certainly help, but it’s more a simple benefit employers can offer than a real financial tool to protect someone’s family,” Hallett says. Let’s say you have to undergo chemotherapy. “If you come off the payroll, then you are no longer covered. And you may then be unable to get a new policy due to your preexisting condition, or that policy may be prohibitively expensive.”
How to Shop for Life Insurance Online: 5 Tips
1. Determine How Much Life Insurance You Need
You should have enough life insurance to financially provide for your children or other dependents when combined with your other assets.
Let’s look at an example of a married 30-year-old man with a 2-year-old daughter who earns $40,000 a year before taxes. His wife works, but the couple relies on both incomes. The man has $50,000 in various savings and investment accounts. In this case, $500,000 might be a reasonable minimum amount of life insurance. Combined with his $50,000 of savings, the $500,000 policy would replace his after-tax income until his daughter turned 18. Of course, if he wanted to account for inflation, future earnings potential, and perhaps his daughter’s college education, he might choose a higher policy amount.
Check out our life insurance calculator to determine how much life insurance you need based on your age, income, and more.
2. Try To Buy When You Are Young and Healthy
The younger and healthier you are when you apply for a life insurance policy, the less expensive it will be.
While you may not want to apply for life insurance before you actually need it, applying for life insurance while you’re young could provide substantial savings. You also don’t want to put off buying life insurance in the event you become ill or develop a medical condition that makes taking out a life insurance policy more expensive or impossible.
3. Know How Long To Be Covered
Purchase a life insurance policy that will remain in force until your dependents will be financially independent or you will be able to save enough money on your own to provide for them.
“If it’s meant to cover your newborn’s college fund, you will want to make sure it will be active through their college years,” Hallett says. “Are you married and planning on having children? If yes, then a longer-term policy will be there for you throughout their formative years.”
4. Check the Insurance Carrier’s Ratings
A.M. Best is a company that rates insurance companies based on their financial strength.
“When it comes to insurance, the cheapest option isn’t always your best one,” Ben-Zvi says. “Term life insurance is very affordable in general. Make sure you’re choosing a policy from an insurer rated A+ or better by A.M. Best.” This indicates the company’s financial security and ability to meet policy and contract obligations.
5. Understand How Life Insurance Is Priced
No two people will pay exactly the same premium for a $1 million policy. To accurately compare quotes, make sure every company has a complete application.
Are you a smoker? Do you have foreign travel booked? Do you have any health issues such as diabetes or depression? “There are many risk factors that go into pricing a policy, and each carrier has its own ways of looking at them,” Hallett notes.
Using tobacco of any kind may be the most significant factor in life insurance premiums. Even for an otherwise healthy 30-year-old, even smoking one cigarette a week could double or triple the cost of a 30-year term policy.
Other factors, such as international travel or engaging in risky sports, may be priced differently by different companies.
“All life policies are not created equal in price or in benefits,” Hallet says. “Working with a knowledgeable agent is key to finding the right carrier for you. Understanding the nuances helps.”
Whatever your reasons for not buying insurance, don’t consider an intrusion into the pizza fund as valid. You can truly have your insurance and eat your pizza, too. “Adequate term life coverage typically will cost just a fraction of a cable bill or a cell phone bill,” Ben-Zvi says.
Hallett sums it up like this: “You only have to make the decision to buy insurance once — at least for 10 or 20 years — and then you can go on living the life of a young invincible.”