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Shopping for an insurance policy is more than just looking for the best price. Service quality, reliability of the company, and its financial ratings are critical if you want to be certain your family will receive the coverage you've sought by securing your assets.

What can go wrong with service? A lot of things can go wrong that can make your choice of a life insurance company critical both while you are alive and after you are gone. Sometimes the price may look right, but if it comes with poor service, takes a long term to settle a claim, or the insurance company goes bankrupt before you are able to collect, saving those dollars monthly will surely not have been worth it to you and your family.

First and Foremost is Financial Stability
The more important thing to consider is whether the insurance company is financially sound and will be able to pay your claim when the time comes. Luckily using the Internet makes if very easy to research the financial viability of any company. To make it even easier for you, our term life insurance search engine gives you company ratings along with price quotes.

The U.S. has five major ratings services that you can use to check out companies you are considering. These services review the financial strength and the ability of companies to pay their claims. Each ratings service has its own system of grading, so don't expect an "A" from A.M. Best to mean the same thing as an "A" from Standard & Poor's. The superior financial rating at A.M. is A++ or A+ and an excellent rating can be A or A-. Standard & Poor's top rating is AAA.

Your advisor should know the claims-paying ability rating of a particular insurance company; we have them listed with life insurance quotes on .  If you have trouble getting the information from a company, you may want to think twice about buying from them. You can also use search tools at the key ratings sites to research the ratings yourself:

Next Look for Service
Our local network of expert advisors can guarantee you will receive best service possible from individual insurance companies. They are independent and can represent over 150 companies to be certain you not only get the best price, but also get the service and benefits that are most important to your family.

Our advisors also stay by your side and help you review your needs annually to be certain you still have the best coverage for the benefits you need as you face various life challenges.

Once you have picked the company that meets your needs financially, service then becomes the critical factor. You should expect your advisor or broker to have a good understanding of the products that are being sold. You want any claims you or your family may need to make handled quickly and without a lot of hassle.

If you want to double check a company's claims records, check with you state's insurance commissioner. States carefully track the number of complaints filed against a company each year.

Another good thing to do is call an insurance company's customer service line to ask about its claims history. If it's good, they will be happy to share it with you. If you difficulty getting the answer, it could a red flag and you'll want to be sure that you research that company more carefully. It is also a good way to test how the company handles customer calls. If you are unhappy before becoming a customer, it could be a sign of trouble later.

Another key provision you must be certain you understand are the cancellation provisions. You'll usually find these in the actual policy, but be certain you review them with your advisor and understand how they work and how you might be impacted.

Choice is the key

The most important consideration is that is it crucial that you consider all you choices and understand all your options. First look at all the product and company choices:

Good health is rewarded when you are applying for life insurance.  But if you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or some other ailment that makes you a "higher risk" and boosts your premium payments, you could end paying a lot more than you original thought.  An insurance agent may tell you that if you lower your cholesterol or blood pressure, you can reduce your premium payments.

While this may be true in some cases, many insurance companies will express concern that other factors, including the possibility of different health problems down the road, may prevent you from actually getting the premiums lowered or getting a guarantee that they could be.

In an insurance company's eyes, the healthier you are, the less risk you represent.  When you buy your life insurance policy, many companies can even give you specific requirements for a premium reduction (suitable cholesterol and blood pressure levels, for example).  Companies also reward good health in order to keep customers from shopping around for another policy.

After The Policy is Issued: Premium Reduction Guarantee Not Likely

However, insurance companies stop short of putting a provision in your contract that promises your premium will go down if your health improves.  Instead what many companies will put into your policy is that if you re-qualify on a medical basis for a lower rate, they will give you a rate reduction to keep your business.

Another reason you won't get a guarantee of rate reduction from insurers in writing is that they may change their "insurability requirements" in the future, thus negating any promises made.  If you want to show your insurance company that your health has improved, many companies require you to show medical proof from your doctor that you've maintained improved health for a specific period of time.  For example, if you had high blood pressure that you later reduced, the insurance company could ask to see all of your blood pressure readings for the past year from your doctor before giving you a premium reduction.

For more severe health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, the time period for showing improved health can be longer.  Getting a premium reduction after suffering a serious condition like cancer is possible, but a company may require that the cancer be in remission for a long time, such as five to 10 years, before they lower your insurance bill.

There are some ailments for which it is unlikely you will ever get a reduction.  Heart wall damage from a heart attack is a condition that will not improve, thus making it nearly impossible to get a reduction.  In some cases, the company will require you to undergo their own medical tests (collecting blood and urine samples, for example) to verify the information from your doctor.  If the company finds out through any medical exam that you have other serious health problems, they will not charge you a higher rate.  For example, if you lowered your cholesterol but the blood test showed you had developed diabetes, your premium would not increase.  There generally is no limit regarding how many times you can ask the company to revisit your health and premiums, so it doesn't hurt to ask.  They can't go back and re-underwrite to charge you a higher rate.



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