Choosing the right life insurance advisor

How do you know if you’re getting the right advice?

Investing in a life insurance policy is a big decision to make, and if it’s your first time looking into the subject, it can be overwhelming. Not only are there different types of life insurance to choose from, but most individual policies have options for different riders as well. You can study life insurance on your own all you want, but to really make an educated decision, it’s best to talk with an expert.

Life insurance advisors are there to answer your questions and help you make as well-informed a decision as possible, so it’s important to feel confident in the advisor you choose. Depending on the life insurance policy you decide on, you’ll most likely be dealing with the same agency for years, or if you take out a whole term policy, the rest of your life. That’s all the more reason to make sure your life insurance agent is someone who you trust and who has your best interests in mind. To help you out, here are a few things to look for to ensure you’re falling into the right hands.

Great personal skills
Life insurance is ultimately a way to plan for death, and that’s a subject that shouldn’t be dealt with in a hasty manner. When browsing around for the right insurance company, set up an appointment with a few different agencies, so you get a feel for the options you have. A quality insurance advisor should appear friendly, professional, and above all else, eager to get your specific needs met. To do this, an insurance advisor must be competent and confident, as well as provide excellent customer service. 

A good listener
Avoid life insurance agencies who are using the used car salesman approach; if they do all of the talking and want you to sign your name on as many addendums and riders as possible, that’s a big hint that you’re in the wrong place. Make sure that your needs are addressed, your questions are answered, and your concerns are being heard. There are several ways to tell if someone is actively listening to you; leaning in, repeating back what you say, and asking open ended questions are all clues that what you’re saying is actually being taken to heart.

Testimonials and credibility
Check out what testimonials the company has on its website, and to get an even better idea of how reputable and accommodating the service is, look into sites that aren’t directly related to the company, where users are allowed to discuss and review products and services. On-site testimonials can be helpful, but many only host the positive reviews, which can lead to biased results. Word-of-mouth is the best way to get an honest opinion, so ask neighbours, friends and family which insurance provider has been helpful for them. Any honest and reliable insurance advisor would be happy to provide you with an Australian Financial Services license and a few references to ensure his or her credibility.

A well-rounded perspective
It’s important to find an advisor who has been in the field for a long time, illustrates a wide range of knowledge and keeps up to date with current news and events in the insurance world. Taxes, payment schedules and legal issues are all things that should be brought up in the conversation. Investing in a policy involves more than finding a plan which sounds good in theory and getting a signature on a document; understanding and analysing your current financial situation now, and any income-related changes you’re expecting in the future is something the advisor needs to do before he can help you determine what is the best policy that fits in your budget. It’s also important that any piece of paper you’re about to sign is explained in great detail and your advisor should always ask if you have any questions before he hands you the pen. This shows that your best interest is in mind and any confusion or uncertainty you’re feeling is cleared up before your policy is active.

Choosing a life insurance provider can be difficult and it’s important to take your time with the decision since it’s something that affects you and your family’s life. Ask questions, shop around and make sure you don’t settle for anything less than the highest quality service.

Mark Haberfield is a creative bloke who focuses on life's frequent waves of change. When he's not spearfishing on the NSW south coast, Mark writes for AAMI.com.au life insurance



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