Choosing a life insurance company

Now that we have offspring, my wife and I need to bulk up our life insurance. We have smallish policies through our employers, but we have recently been made to feel very guilty about the paltry coverage these policies offer.

Does anyone have a particular insurer to recommend? Or un-recommend? Or advice on how to pick an insurer? (We will probably get term policies, 20-year, for ~$1 million each.) (And we are both generally healthy, age 34.)

My husband and I went through bestquote.com and ended up with Protective Life (fairly cheap for a 500K policy although it would be even cheaper if my husband didn’t smoke). We had a good experience with Protective Life - they came to us for the physical and to sign all the papers so the legwork is minimal.

You should generally be looking at a term policy rather than whole or universal life, unless you have a particular reason for needing permanent insurance. Any of the internet based quote services should be able to help you out. Most people will be surprised at how cheap term life insurance is and wonder why they put it off for so long, especially if you are fairly young and don’t smoke.

I heartily agree that you should get term life. This site should be a must when evaluating a insurance company: http://www.ambest.com/

Disclaimer - I work for the life insurance division of an insurance company, a very large one. That said, I myself am not one of their customers (other than what’s offered for base coverage under my employee benefits).

I think all of the policies offered by all of the companies are going to be pretty similar. Indeed, I’m sure of it - once someone has something that blows everyone else away, everyone else is pretty quick to copy it. And if you’re really going for term, well, it’s inherently a simple product that doesn’t have a lot of strings or bells and whistles. (And it’s your best choice, IMO).

If I were you, I’d do my shopping for an agent over a company - you want someone you feel comfortable with, someone who’ll answer all of your questions and give you all the explanation you need without being pushy or condescending. I’d look for an agent who is not affiliated with any one (or two) companies; someone who advertises as an independent - it’s likely they’ll have a better selection of products and will be able to get you one that’s the best fit.

For that level of coverage, you will be required to get a medical exam. This exam may be as simple as a brief paramed physical (height, weight, short medical history, give some blood and a urine sample and you’re on your way) or it may be more involved. Any reputable agent/company will use a service who will come to you for this exam at their expense; you shouldn’t be required to go out of your way at all.

You could also look into simply increasing the coverage offered by your company - it will be an extra charge for you, but will probably just be withheld from your paycheck with the other benefit deductions, so it’s arguably more convenient (although your term premiums will probably be set up for an automatic deduction from the account you specify anyway). If you increase your coverage through work, you’ll probably still have to go through the exam - there’s no getting out of that. But it might be slightly more convenient for you.

If there’s anything else I can answer, I’d be happy to.