Finding the correct life insurance policy can be easy, difficult, impossible, or just extremely frustrating depending on how much time you have to research it and the people who you end up talking to on the phone. Each person you phone with regards to a policy is going to try and get you to sign their policy by telling you about all of the good things, while conveniently glossing over some of the not so good things. Unless you are an expert at reading contract language there is a strong chance that you signed for something you may not have wanted. This is where an insurance broker comes in.
They know the product.
By definition an insurance broker sells insurance. Or to be more precise, in today’s world an insurance broker will connect you with an insurance company and broker the policy deal between you and them. They are aware of what products exist, what the product is and what it means to you in terms of money out and money in.
They know the people.
As insurance brokers tend to deal with lots of people, each with different situations and requirements they tend to have a large portfolio of insurance companies that they deal with, on a daily basis. They know who to phone at these companies to get quick answers. They have contacts that they regularly speak to, who you as a member of the public may never get in touch with. People who can make your process of getting a policy easier.
They know the language.
Insurance contracts are steeped in legal jargon. They have to be, there is a lot of money involved in each policy and every eventuality has to be covered in the document that forms the policy you sign. This language is difficult to follow and comprehend to the layman, but to someone who deals with it every day, it is simple.
Experience with problems.
Hopefully when you decide to take out a life insurance policy there will be no problems. But this is life, there could be lots of problems. You may find that your scuba diving hobby is making the insurance company hesitate and that they are asking you lots of questions about it. You gave up smoking two years ago and the company want a blow by blow account of your smoking history. All of this delays you getting a policy with you sending in the form, getting questions back, replying, etc. Back and forth constantly. An agent will be able to ask you all of the relevant questions, then only come back when they have definitive answers.
It’s their job to shop around.
You obviously want the best policy for the minimum monthly outlay. Unless you get extremely lucky with your first enquiry to an insurance company, this is going to involve you phoning lots of companies to compare prices. Even if you use the internet to do the comparisons before you start phoning you are still going to have to look through a lot of sites before you narrow down your search. A broker will be able to ask you how much do you want to spend, what coverage are you looking for. Then just by looking in his laptop, or case they will be able to pull out a list of companies that have policies to meet your requirements.
They can answer your questions in layman terms.
Phone an insurance company up and query page 3, paragraph 6, sub section 12 of your policy. When you finally get through to someone who is qualified to answer you, the answer they give you will be in pure insurance language, leaving you more confused than when you started. A broker is there to make sure that you are answered in laymen terms, in terms of what it is going to cost you, what the pros and cons are. Basically they are there to explain it to you in a way that you can understand.
They should be impartial.
A good insurance broker should be impartial. They should not be affiliated with any particular insurance company and be able to suggest a number of companies to you when you ask them about available policies. It is there job to find you the best value policy for your situation, not the highest paying customers for an insurance company. If an a broker is unable to recommend a number of different companies, find another broker.
They can sort out problems.
You are travelling to Russia next week on business and need to check if Russia is still a restricted country, and will travelling there affect your life insurance policy. You don’t have time to sit on hold for days on end trying to find someone in your insurance company who actually knows the definitive answer. Your broker is there to help you. Field the question to them, let them use their contacts to find out the answer. Then when they have they can get back to you and let you know if there is anything you need to do.
They are one stop contact.
In theory, once you have a policy you are locked into a company. That company will have a customer support department and should be able to answer your question or handle your problems. In the real world this is not always the case. There are support departments for billing, claims, questions, legal and so on. With a broker, they are a one stop shop for your insurance dealings. Have a problem with your monthly payment; field it to them, a problem with a claim; let them handle it. By using a life insurance broker, you should only ever need to speak to one person.
Peace of mind.
Insurance is complicated, there is no question of that. When you sign that policy are you sure that every “t” is crossed, and every “i” dotted? That’s what a life insurance broker is for, to make sure every thing has been covered and to give you the peace of mind you require.
In conclusion, most people are capable of going out and finding a company that will offer them life insurance, and most will find a policy that suits them to a certain extent. But is it worth the chance that when you found the policy you liked, you missed something. Something that could potentially cost you thousands in the future ?
To put it another way; when your car needs to have the breaks replaced, do you take it to a mechanic and make sure that the job is completed properly, or do you have a look on the internet and do the job yourself, risking the scenario that when you need to stop you might not have done the job as well as should have been expected?