Shopping for term life insurance online can take a small leap of faith. After all, you really don’t know much about the companies you’re working with online. Sure, they all have an ‘About Us’ page on their website. But what does that really tell you about the company? Are they who they say they are? Will they look out for your best interests, or their own?
Dictionary.com defines trust as reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc. of a person or thing; confidence. What comes to mind when you think of trust? Perhaps it’s a specific person such as a family member or a good friend. Or maybe it’s more general like a doctor or religious figure. But what about in today’s business world? For many businesses, trust seems to be a fleeting concept. And people are starting to take notice. According to a new poll by the Gallup Organization, Americans give low honesty ratings to many professions. Take a look at how people view some of them.
|% High/Very High||% Average||% Low/Very Low|
|Members of Congress||10||34||54|
So then, who can you trust when shopping for term life insurance online? As critical as trust is online, it’s not always an obvious choice for people to make. After all, there are hundreds of life insurance websites, each one eager to tell you how great they are and why you should buy from them. Not to mention all the personal information they ask of you. Who can blame you for being a bit confused and perhaps even skeptical?
The truth is there is no simple answer. But there are some important things you can look for when choosing a company to work with.
How long has the company been in business (and online)?
Experienced life insurance brokers know how life insurance companies operate. They have helped thousands of people buy term life insurance online. This is especially important if you have specific circumstances such as medical conditions, travel requirements or a hazardous activity or occupation. Chances are good the broker has worked with many people in a similar situation and can find the right life insurance company for you to apply with.
Just because the company has a website doesn’t mean it has experience online. It’s surprisingly easy to set up a website and start quoting term life insurance these days. You don’t need a lot of technical expertise or insurance experience to do it (although it will become painfully obvious at some point). An experienced company and well-run website will stand out from the rest. Which leads us to …
Is the website of high quality?
By quality we don’t mean the pictures are pretty and the colors look nice, although that does help. What we’re looking for is relevant and current information. Are the articles and blog posts informative and well-written? Do they sound authoritative? Does the website give the appearance that someone actually works there (you might be surprised)? Look for the following important indicators of a quality website — and company for that matter.
BBB Endorsement – Is it endorsed by the Better Business Bureau? If so, you should be able to find a seal with a link to the BBB.
SSL Certificate – An SSL Certificate creates a secure link between a website and a visitor’s browser. Look in the header or footer for a clickable seal from a company like VeriSign or Network Solutions. No seal? No deal — move on.
Contact Information – This should be easy to find. Preferably, you want a toll-free number you can call. And you want it prominently displayed on the main pages of the website. Be wary if there is no number, or one that is hard to find.
Social Media – Any business worth doing business with today will have a social media presence. Look for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or other logos. Click on them and take a look. You may find something that helps you trust the company or not.
Do they work with good life insurance companies?
An oxymoron, you say? Ha — actually, there are plenty of good life insurance companies out there. Check the list of companies on the website. You should recognize a few of the names. Don’t recognize them all? That’s okay. Many could be great companies that simply don’t advertise as much as the big boys. Look for the company ratings. They should be listed, and they should all be ‘A’ rated or better by major ratings companies such as A.M. Best or Standard & Poor’s. You can also go directly to those two websites for verification.
Do they display agent licensing information on the website?
A licensed life insurance agent or broker is required to show certain license information when giving quotes online. You can usually find this at the bottom of the page that contains the quotes.
Once you verify it’s there, you can go a step further and verify the agent at your state’s department of insurance website.
The bottom line is you may not feel comfortable until you actually begin to work with a company. But using the tips above to do your initial research is a good first step. If you’re still unsure after going through them, simply call a couple of companies and see if they check out. Are they who they appear to be online? Do they make you feel comfortable or pressured? You should know fairly quickly if your research has led you in the direction of someone you can trust!