If you follow these 11 simple tips, then you will save BIG on your life insurance policy.
Tip #1: Compare Multiple Quotes
Back in the day, my wife used to sell insurance for a big outfit. Since I was also able to offer insurance, we did a comparison.
We based it off a quote she did for a male individual applying for term life. When we ran the quote, it was more expensive to go directly through her, even though we were both offering the same company and the exact same products. Lesson learned: it pays to shop around.
There are stark differences between a captive insurance agent and an independent insurance agent.
Captive insurance agents usually represent one company and can only offer policies from that company. Independent agents are allowed to represent several different insurance agencies and are not tied to one specific business. Using a captive agent could be much more expensive, even if you bundle all your policies together.
Make sure to use an independent agent like PolicyGenius who can quote you among various carriers. This is even more crucial if you have some health condition that qualifies you as a high-risk individual. Along those lines…
Don’t buy through your cousin who just got into the business: Agents come – and go just as quickly. Some agencies push hard for new agents to sell to family and friends. Once the supply of familiar contacts has been exhausted, the agent is out looking for a new career. And you don’t want to buy something as important as life insurance from a newbie anyway.
Tip #2: Don’t Procrastinate
Unless you’re Jack Palance and doing one-arm pushups at the Oscars at the age of 70, the chances are as you get older, your health is going to decline. Surprise, surprise. Procrastinating in buying your term life insurance can have a drastic impact when you go to apply.
I know what you’re thinking: Oh, nothing will ever happen to me.
Tell that to the 37-year-old male who had no prior condition but had a heart attack at the age of 32. Luckily, he’s okay, but due to complications that resulted from the heart attack, getting life insurance is not impossible, but it’s super expensive.
Super expensive does not equal cheap.
The longer you wait, the more expensive life insurance could be, especially if you’re a male. Every year that you get older, your term life monthly premiums could go up by as much as 10%.
Every year that you age is one year closer to death (fun thought right?), which means that insurance companies have to charge you more to earn their money back.
Tip #3: Get Healthy
If your idea of the three healthy food groups is Cheetos, hot dogs and Ben and Jerry’s, then eventually you’re going to pay in more ways than one. Eating crap, aka junk food, can have drastic effects on your cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, which can crank up your insurance premiums super quickly.
If you’re trying to get the cheapest term life rate possible, you have to cut out the crap. Regular exercise can also significantly reduce your chances of having health complications or being diagnosed with diseases.
The American Heart Association suggests getting at least 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day.
Similar to dumping bad habits, if you’ve lost a lot of weight and began to exercise, it’s a good idea to ask your agent for a policy reevaluation to see if you’re eligible for lower monthly premiums.
Some of the best life insurance companies in the United States even offer incentive programs to their customers. These programs are working to make their enrollees healthier and live longer.
Each Wellness program is different, but most of them include some “point system” that reduces rates depending on how many points you accumulate. These programs typically include an activity tracker to measure the amount of exercise you do every day.
Tip #4: Don’t Smoke (or Chew)
Not too long ago, I had a client that was applying for a term life policy. He doesn’t smoke, and as far as I knew he didn’t chew either. A week before he had his physical, he was working in his yard and decided to indulge in a cigar to celebrate when he finished.
I’m fairly certain that any other time he could have gotten away with it, but not 7 days prior! Sure enough, the tobacco showed up in his system, and his premium went up; it went up a lot. If you want to make sure you’re getting the cheapest term life policy possible, put out the cigarette and grab a stick of gum.
Smokers can expect to pay double or triple what a non-smoker is going to pay.
If you’re like the client that I worked with that had a celebratory cigar, find a company that is going to be favorable towards your habits. There are dozens of companies that will allow applicants to have cigars on special occasions, typically a couple every year, and not automatically give you smoker’s rates.
Bottom line: If you’re a smoker, cut that crap out! Kicking the habit will save you thousands of dollars every year (not to mention the money you save from not buying cigarettes).
If you already have a life insurance policy, but you’ve kicked a bad habit like smoking, you can have your policy reevaluated. It’s easy to have your policy reevaluated, in most cases you just have to ask your insurance agent. Depending on how long you’ve kicked these habits, you could receive a lower monthly rate.
Tip #5: Slow Down
A good friend of mine used to drag race cars as a weekend hobby. Supposedly, that weekend hobby transferred over into wherever he drove. His lead foot resulted in several traffic violations, not only increasing his auto insurance premium but also jacking up his life insurance premium.
Having several accidents or speeding tickets could jack up (pun intended) your monthly premiums.
Because of all the deaths that occur due to reckless driving, line insurance agents have started looking at driving records as a part of the application process.
Sure, going 10, 20, or even 30mph. over the speed limit might save you a couple of minutes, but it could break your bank. Stop driving like Jimmie Johnson – you’re not a NASCAR driver! Make sure that your term rates don’t get caught speeding, too.
Tip #6: Don’t Forget the Family
When applying for life insurance, many people don’t realize that family history comes into play, too. Even if you are super fit, but you’ve had a parent pass away prematurely (think before the age of 70), for a condition that could be hereditary, like heart disease in fathers for sons, or breast cancer in mothers for daughters, it could mean bad news for your insurance premiums.
If those conditions took their life, that could mean immediate disapproval in the worst case scenario or a higher rated class in the best case scenario. Obviously, some conditions you can’t control with your parents, but if they’re not exercising and taking good care of themselves, you have an incentive to speak up.
If you don’t know your family history, or you’re adopted, don’t worry it isn’t going to hurt you. Be honest with your agent and tell them that you don’t know how healthy your family history is. So, before you start looking for cheap life insurance, call Uncle Bobby and see how his health is doing.
Tip #7: Stop Living Like Sir Richard Branson
It’s always fun to take a little bit of risk to get your heart rate going. A scary roller-coaster ride, skiing, tubing behind a boat are all good examples of this. Even the top life insurers don’t think twice if you partake in any of these activities.
If you’re a sky-diver, space jumper, crocodile wrestler, that’s a completely different story. Just because Richard Branson likes to do crazy things doesn’t mean that you need to too, especially if you’re trying to get cheap term life insurance. You don’t have to quit all of your hobbies and live in a bubble. You can still continue to do the things you love, as long as your hobbies are safe.
Aside from skydiving, several hobbies can raise your premiums that you might not think about. Activities like riding a motorcycle, hunting, boating, and scuba diving can cause your monthly premiums to go up anywhere from $500 – $2,000 every year.
Tip #8: Tell the Truth
When applying for life insurance, you have to be transparent. You must share everything about your medical history, especially if it’s going to come back on your records. You might not be able to handle the truth, but the insurance companies will, and will do so by denying you.
Lying to the life insurance agent does nothing but slow the process down and cause you more trouble in the end.
The insurance agent wants to help you get the best rates possible; they are working on your team, being 100% honest is important. So before applying for life insurance, be ready to give factual answers for the following categories:
- Your family history – You should be prepared to provide serious health conditions of the members of your direct family line. That can include parents, siblings, and even children, as all can indicate the presence of genetic issues. If your mom or dad died young from health conditions then you may be in for higher rates.
- Your occupation. Some occupations are considered to be hazardous by the insurance industry. Insurance companies will charge a higher premium as a result. This is something that you will want to discuss with your insurance broker, so you can decide the best companies to apply to.
- Health conditions. Think carefully that any health conditions that you have, even if you don’t think they are serious. This can include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a previous bout with cancer. It’s always better to disclose these conditions, than to ignore them and hope that the insurance company won’t find out.
- Your weight. They’re going to weigh you so there’s no point in giving an optimistic number on the application.
- What you do for fun. If you have any potentially hazardous extracurricular activities, you’ll have to disclose these as well. Insurance companies do have an issue with people who are into skydiving, deep-sea diving, or flying a private plane. If you don’t disclose it, and the insurance company finds out about it later, they could void your policy.
- Bad habits. This includes smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use. What you think of as only an occasional habit, can classify you as a higher risk. If you have any these habits, it may be best to drop them before applying for life insurance, if getting the lowest possible rate is your overriding concern. Otherwise, disclose them to your broker so he can find the best companies to apply to.
- Your driving record. A history of traffic accidents, police citations, and especially DWI/DUI episodes will matter for insurance purposes. Information is readily available through databases, and the insurance company will check.
- Your Credit History – I know it seems crazy to think that your credit is a factor in an insurance decision, but statistics do not lie. Life insurance companies have determined that people who have better credit not only pay their premiums on time but also take fewer risks and are less likely to need to make a claim on their life insurance.
Each of these will have an effect on the premium. Be honest up front, that way you can find the insurance companies that will take the most favorable view of your specific situation. Not only will lying just cause more problems and slow the whole insurance process down, but there could be some serious consequences of lying on your life insurance application.
If you are dishonest and you’re accepted for coverage without disclosing that information, the insurance company could refuse to pay out on the policy. Hiding the truth could cost your family thousands of dollars and leave them without the resources they thought they were going to have.
Tip #9: Establish Your Goals – What Do You Want Your Policy To Do For You?
This is where you determine how much insurance you need, and for how long and where you match your life insurance to your actual needs so you don’t pay more than you need to.
Here are some common uses for life insurance:
- Paying off your mortgage. If you have 20 years remaining on your mortgage, and you owe $150,000, then a 20-year term life insurance policy for $150,000 will get the job done – assuming no other needs.
- Paying off other debt. If you have large amounts of credit or business debts to pay off, you may want to maintain a policy large enough to do that.
- Providing for your children through adulthood. Figure out how much your spouse will need each year to care for your children without your income, then multiply that figure by the number of years remaining until your youngest child turns 18 or 21. That will also help you to determine the length you need.
- Financing your children’s college education. You may want to make an allowance to cover your children’s college education. Figure out how much that is, and you will have your insurance number.
- Allowing a business partner to buy-out your share of the business upon your death. This consideration is mainly for the self-employed, but it can be super important if you are. You can buy a term life insurance policy that will provide your business partner(s) with the capital needed to buy-out your family’s interest in the business upon your death. Your partner will get the business – and your family will get the cash. Brilliant arrangement, don’t you agree?
- Paying estate taxes on your estate. Even if you have so much money that you are self-insured, you may still want to keep a life insurance policy to pay the estate taxes. In that way, you will ensure that all of the money you have saved for your heirs will go to them, not to the tax authorities.
These are just general parameters to help you decide how much insurance you need, and for how long.
Most people need life insurance for more than one of these issues, so you have to crunch some numbers to come up with the final amount you will need.
This will help you to buy only as much life insurance as you need, which will help keep the cost down.
It doesn’t take rocket science to do this, but I still see many people that fail to do these easy steps.
Tip #10: Only Buy What You Need
Along those lines, don’t buy more than you need. The goal of life insurance policies is to provide for your loved ones after your passing. Because death is a scaring topic, many consumers get worried about leaving their loved ones with thousands of dollars in debt.
This fear will cause a lot of people to buy a larger policy than they need.
Many financial experts suggest reevaluating your life insurance needs once every couple of years. Because your life changes so frequently, you might find that your life insurance needs change also.
Having children, paying off your house, or going back to college can drastically change your financial situation, which could impact the amount of life insurance you need. Don’t get scared into paying for more insurance than you need.
The average person actually buys around $400,000.
Your situation is greatly going to determine the amount, as well, even if you aren’t basing it on a few things from above.
Take stay at home moms, for example. While a stay at home parent doesn’t make an income, their work around the home is what allows the other person to go and make an income. Therefore, they need coverage, too!
Think about it like this… if something were to happen to the spouse who is at home, the working parent would be required to either pick up the slack and not go to work (loss of income), or to hire someone to do the same work (increase in expenses).
Even a $250,000 policy (which is where there are lots of price breaks) can be enough to buy the spouse some time to get things straight over a medium range of time. Buying a $5M policy would obviously be overkill.
Buying a quarter million may even allow you to skip the exam and still get super affordable rates.
Which brings me to my next topic…
Tip #11: Decide Whether Skipping the Medical Exam Is Worth It!
If getting your blood drawn is not your thing, then there are options to get cheap life insurance with no medical exam.
The millennial generation is the greater purchaser of this kind of life insurance coverage because they value convenience more than any other.
Our go-to carriers are Assurity and Fidelity that not only get you life insurance without a physical but also issue the policies very fast.
But you have to realize that if you’re bypassing the medical exam, the insurance company is taking on more risk and you’re going to pay for it.
Another drawback is the protection.
You’ll get the same protection, but you might not be able to get the same amount.
Depending on the carrier, you might be severely limited on how much insurance you can buy.
When does it make sense to get a no exam term life insurance policy? Here are a few of the most common instances:
- Need Life Insurance Fast – Most commons reasons are to secure a business loan for collateral assignment or to satisfy a divorce decree. With a no medical exam policy, you can get life insurance much faster.
- Absolutely Hate Needles – One client confessed to me that the sight of a needle will make her pass out. A no exam policy was definitely in her future.
- Totally Impatient – Do you hate waiting for things to get done? Traditional term insurance takes 4-6 weeks to process. Life insurance without a physical can take anywhere from 48 hours to 2 weeks tops to be put in force. Sure, a no medical exam is going to be faster, but that speed doesn’t mean that it’s always the best option.
The other possible situation that no-exam life insurance policies are a good option is if you absolutely CAN’T be approved for a traditional policy with a medical exam.
You have to be careful though, there are people who have health problems, so they automatically assume that they would be declined if they applied for a life insurance policy, but in most cases, that isn’t true.
Additional Ways To Save Money on Your Term Life Insurance Policy
Here are 4 additional bonus tips to keep you from paying too much:
- Buy while you’re healthy. Life insurance is one of those things that we often tell ourselves that we’ll buy “later”. But later can bring about the onset of health conditions that will make your policy more expensive. If you’re healthy now, then now is the time to get your life insurance.
- Avoid up-sells. There are a host of policy riders that can be added on just about any life insurance policy. They have benefits, but they will raise the cost of your insurance. For that reason, you’ll want to keep them to a minimum. Couples should buy their own policies, not just add each other as riders, for other reasons, too.
- Bundle – IF it will save you money. You can sometimes save money on your insurance policies by bundling them together. Just make sure that you aren’t paying too much for one type of coverage so that you can save on another. If the company that you have your auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance through also offers life insurance, you could save a huge chunk by buying it through the same company.
- Make sure the insurance company is reputable. You should make sure that the company is rated “A” or better through a ratings agency such as A.M. Best. It will do you little good to have the cheapest life insurance policy if the company won’t stick around long enough to pay a claim.
Get a Free Life Insurance Quote Today and Save
Life insurance is important for any family.
No family should ever have to worry about covering the final expenses of their loved ones.
Life insurance will not only pay for bills if something were to happen to you, but it also gives you peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of.
Getting cheap term life insurance is not difficult.
As we explain in this article, start by getting quotes and comparing rates. We’ve lined up some options that we recommend, but you’ll need to do your own research as well. Your life and your needs are unique, so dedicate some time to shopping around and getting exactly the right policy for you and your family. Use our recommendations as a starting point, and get your free quote now so you can have a policy in place as soon as possible.