Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Insurance Q&A: “How do I buy life insurance?”

So you’ve made the decision to ensure (insure) your loved ones are taken care of financially after you pass…now what?

Well, there are a lot of options for life insurance out there, and navigating your way through them all can take a lifetime.

Further complicating things is the fact that insurance companies give their life insurance products all types of different names, with varying features and benefits.

That makes it even more difficult to compare products across insurers, though the more you know about life insurance in general (and your particular needs), the better off you should be.

For the purposes of this article, we will look past the types of policies available (term life, universal life, group life, whole life, permanent life insurance, no load life insurance, guaranteed issue).

Also how much you need to focus on how to buy a life insurance policy once you have done your research and are ready to purchase.

Get Life Insurance from Your Employer

First, check with your employer if you are a salaried employee. You may be able to purchase a group life insurance policy as part of your employment.

This option takes out a lot of the guess work, as you may have an HR representative who can assist you with your coverage options.

Additionally, you probably won’t have to participate in health exams if you go this route (although there is no guarantee of this).

The best part is; the insurance premium is often taken right out of your paycheck, so you may not find it as (emotionally) difficult to make the monthly payment each month.

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Buy Life Insurance Online

Shopping online for life insurance (or any insurance for that matter) is becoming popular because of the ease of purchase. You can get term life insurance quotes online in a matter of minutes. Generally speaking, a term life insurance policy will be the best choice for most people who are not wrestling with a complicated estate or have other specialized estate planning needs. The cost of life insurance is also very reasonable for term.

Nowadays, you can get insurance quotes and even purchase a life insurance policy directly online.

But you will most likely have to pass a health inspection to obtain a life insurance policy if you go this route. So don’t get any silly ideas about tricking the insurance company.

The good news is the life insurance companies typically send someone to your home in order to collect a blood sample (and possibly urine sample) prior to issuing a policy to you. So there isn’t much hassle.

Obtain Life Insurance from Your Car Insurer

Another option is to simply tack-on a life insurance policy to your existing auto or home insurance policy.

The upside is that you can call your existing insurance company or captive agent and simply ask about adding life insurance.

They can go through the products they offer and find one that suits you. There’s a good chance you’ll get a multi-policy discount while you’re at it too.

The downside is that you won’t be able to shop life insurance premiums with a variety of different companies. This means you’ll be at the mercy of what they offer, along with the price quoted for coverage.

For these reasons, it’s probably not the best avenue for obtaining life insurance coverage if you’re a price-conscious shopper.

Visit an Independent Insurance Agent to Talk Life Insurance

Lastly, you may want to visit your local independent life insurance agent to purchase a life insurance policy if you are not comfortable making a purchase of this magnitude via the Internet.

Learn more about the difference between an independent agent and a captive agent when shopping for insurance.

Similar to purchasing a life insurance policy online as an individual, rather than part of an employer sponsored group, you will likely have to undergo a battery of health tests (such as testing for tobacco use) to actually get your life insurance policy issued.

But the agent can at least go through all the policy types one by one, compare prices for you from a variety of insurers, and answer your many questions in a thoughtful manner.

This could actually save you money because you won’t just throw it at a policy needlessly.

In summary, it doesn’t hurt to gather some insurance quotes online.  This will ensure you know the range of what you should expect to pay for a life insurance policy based on your individual needs, even if you’re not comfortable purchasing online.

Read more: How much does life insurance cost?