Getting Life Insurance? Avoid These 4 Common Mistakes

  • Sep-26-2013
  • Richard Reich
life insurance mistakes

Life insurance — you don’t need it, right? After all, you’re in your 20s or 30s, have no children and aren’t yet married. The truth is, even single people who don’t plan on dying for years are smart to purchase a life insurance policy. Policies are typically cheaper the younger you are, according to US News and World Report. Plus, it’s easier to get a policy when you’re still young and healthy. Once you decide to get a policy, avoid making these common mistakes.

Not Doing Your Research

A life insurance policy isn’t something you buy on a whim. Do research first to make sure the company you’ll be working with is financially stable. If you’re buying insurance for the first time, work with a licensed agent who has extensive experience. You want an agent who can clearly explain the product to you. If the agent is unclear about the policy or can’t explain how benefits will pay out, back away.

When you shop for auto insurance, Captain Compare can provide live quotes and price comparisons. Be at least as diligent as you shop for life insurance. Examine your income and your financial needs to determine the amount of insurance you need. Think of how long you’ll need the policy, too. There are two basic types of insurance — term and permanent. Term life insurance policies last for a set amount of time, commonly 30 years, then expire. The premiums for term life are usually lower, especially if you buy the policy when you’re young, according to The American Council of Life Insurers.

Living Like There’s No Tomorrow

You’re young and feel like nothing can get you down. But the decisions you make regarding your health and lifestyle can come back to haunt you when it’s time to apply for life insurance. Take smoking for example. If you smoke, your life insurance premium will skyrocket. A smoker’s premiums can be three times as much as those of a non-smoker, according to the CT Department of Health.

Along with quitting smoking, cut back on your wild activities, such as driving a motorcycle, sky diving or even mountain climbing. The insurance company doesn’t want to see any sort of activity puts you in danger. High-risk hobbies or habits result in higher premiums, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Skipping the Medical Exam

Picking an insurance policy that doesn’t require a medical exam might seem like the best way to get a plan without having to reveal or put an end to your less-than-healthy habits. Policies that don’t require a medical exam cost much more than policies that do, however. The LIFE Foundation notes that you have to be in general good health to get a policy without an exam, so it’s not necessarily an option if you have a chronic condition.

Lying When You Apply

It can be tempting to lie when you finally apply for a policy. You’ll get a better rate and no damage will be done, right? Lying on your application is one of the worst things you can do. Not only are you risking giving up any benefits, you are also committing insurance fraud, which is a crime. Don’t say that you don’t smoke or use tobacco if you occasionally enjoy a cigarette. It’s not worth saving a few dollars a month if your insurance company ends up canceling your policy when you really need it.

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