Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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How Do I Buy Life Insurance

You can buy life insurance through an agent, a broker or online tools. The first step is easy enough: you look up insurance quotes online.

Get free online insurance rates by entering your zip code into the tool on this page!

At the end of this article we will tell you about a handy way to go about finding quotes. Understanding the basics of what you need will help you in your search. To begin, let’s discuss some of the essentials of life insurance.

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a contract between insurance company and policyholder that says the company will pay a sum of money to a beneficiary upon an insured person’s death. Some life insurance policies can specify conditions other than death, such as a terminal illness.

A contract can be arranged for regular intervals of payments or a lump sum. The insured event is usually illness or a work injury. Insurance becomes more complicated when you consider the options of permanent life insurance as well as term life insurance.

Permanent insurance is a contract designed to last a lifetime. The insured pays agreed upon premiums that increase steadily with age, but can save or accrue money over a lifetime.

Term life insurance is designed to last for a specific period of time. When the insured reaches that age the term is served and no more payments are needed, unless the two parties agree to a new contract. By the time a new contract is issued, the insured is older and thus more of an insurance risk.

Whole life insurance and universal life insurance policies are both types of permanent life insurance. Whole life insurance is a policy in which premium payments are used to create an investment line or a cash value.

Universal life insurance is similarly based on a cash value plan, and still resembles a permanent life insurance policy, but is more flexible in nature.

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How much insurance do I really need?

The next step in buying life insurance is to determine how much insurance you need. The traditional way to figure this out is to base your insured amount on your income replacement. Therefore, a husband might figure out that his surviving stay at home wife would require 5-10 times the annual salary he currently makes to provide for her needs one decade. In some marriages, this would not be the practical formula.

Some individuals prefer to base the figure on individual needs (counted expenses) and general preferences. Replacement needs have to be figured into the sum, as do taxes, lifestyle expenses, personal expenses, transportation expenses and bill payments. You also have to figure in one-time costs like funeral expenses, estate expenses and medical bills.

You must also calculate how much the premiums are and if you can realistically afford to make payments every month or every year. Will it be worth your investment? A voided policy is not worth anything, so make sure your job is secure and you can afford such a contract. Some policies might even have special insurance provisions for the loss of job.

When Life Changes, Your Insurance Coverage Changes

People’s circumstances change in life. Sometimes older persons and retirees feel the need to reevaluate their circumstances. Younger adults often need life insurance to cover the cost of raising children and providing income.

However, older parents may find that since their children have left home, and mortgages have been paid off, they no longer need a high sum in return. It is also worth noting that the mortality expense of cash value policies does increase after the age of 60.

Before deciding on a policy, research the insurance company you are considering. Check their rating with noted standards like A.M. Best, Moody’s, and Standard and Poor’s.

These ratings measure not only reputation and claims paid but also financial stability. Investigate any customer complaints online. Always take a careful look at a contract and verify that the documented information is the same as was discussed previously.

The most challenging feat will be finding an insurance provider that works in your area (these companies are tightly regulated by the state and may not be available in every region). The insurance provider has to open, honest and fair in their coverage. Not all insurance companies will offer the same price.

Understanding the major risk factors in life insurance (preexisting conditions, smoking, lifestyle, job) can help you make informed decisions.
One of the simplest ways to get started is with a web chaser tool, which is an online tool that helps you view comparisons between top insurance policies in your local area.

Get started with your zip code and the free life insurance quotes tool right now!