20 March 2014 0 Comments

“I can do better than that…”

shutterstock_125272760When a life insurance agent assures you that he can do better than a policy you currently own before obtaining all the facts—beware!  If the word “may” is substituted for “can” it’s worth listening to what that agent has to say.  Otherwise it’s likely hyperbole.

The tendency to overstate or bend the truth is not unique to insurance agents.  Take the case of George H.W. Bush who said, “Read my lips:  no new taxes,” and after he was elected went on to raise taxes.  Or, Bill Clinton’s famous, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” who…well, you know.

It may not be unusual for a salesperson in the heat of trying to make a sale or for a politician vying for office to overstate, but the truth will come out.  So, be cautious of an agent who speaks badly of another insurance company, or slams the other agent’s policy recommendation instead of pointing out the strengths of their proposal.

If an agent has quoted you a premium assuming that you will qualify for the most favorable underwriting class before asking you many, many questions—it’s likely a ploy to get you to submit an application and then hope for the best.  If your father died of a heart attack before the age of 60 you will most likely not qualify for that super low premium.  Did he ask questions about your family’s health history?  If not, ask him how he can possibly be accurate on his premium quote.

Relying on an agent who always quotes the lowest possible premium, regardless of an applicant’s medical history may not do any harm.  Maybe you’ll be lucky and get that low premium, but it can waste your time going down blind alleys and cause you to turn down an offer you already have that might be lost by digging up more information.  That can hurt you.  And, besides, isn’t it always better dealing with someone who gives you straight answers and accurate advice rather than telling you what they think you want to hear?

Next I’ll be discussing riders available on term policies.  Do they make sense to consider?

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