9 ways to save money on life insurance

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9 ways to save money on life insurance

The great thing about shopping online is that it's fast, convenient, and private. The drawback is that sometimes you find yourself shopping for a product that you don't know much about. For most people, life insurance fits that description.

The truth is it's not hard to buy a good life insurance policy, so long as you know what to look for. A good broker or agent can help you with the finer points of a policy, but you can make more confident choices right out of the gate if you know these 9 shopping tips before you start.

Tips to save money on life insurance

1. Work through an independent broker or agent who can show you quotes from multiple insurance companies.

Why it matters:

Insurers compete on both rates and underwriting, and they customize them for every applicant. This means the best insurance company for you might be different than the best insurance company your friend used.

2. Don't waste time trying to shop different independent brokers.

Why it matters:

Put simply, brokers and agents can’t discount rates, whether online or face to face. Life insurance prices are regulated, so the rate an independent broker shows you for MetLife will be the same rate you’d be shown anywhere, including if you went directly to MetLife. If you find a broker you like, stick with her.

3. Get term, not permanent insurance.

Why it matters:

Most people who need life insurance just need a plain vanilla term policy, which is significantly less expensive than a permanent policy. If an agent pushes you to consider a permanent policy, get a second opinion from a qualified financial planner first.

4. Look for a guaranteed level term premium.

Why it matters:

It's more expensive to buy life insurance when you're older, so by buying young and getting a level term premium, you'll be able to average in the cost of those later years immediately. This will protect you from having to deal with higher premiums later on.

5. Disclose all health issues up front.

Why it matters:

By being transparent about your health history, you'll get the most accurate quote and save yourself a surprise down the road. Even if you don’t think the issue is important—like slightly high blood pressure that doesn't require medication, or sleep apnea—it's likely to be discovered in the underwriting process, and might affect your premium.

There's another good reason to disclose everything up front. If you do, your agent can match you to the most competitive insurer. Some insurers, for example, are more accommodating than others for people with diabetes, or who have a family history of cancer.

6. If you need life insurance, buy it sooner rather than later.

Why it matters:

The cost goes up with age, and the number of insurers willing to work with you might shrink depending on your health history.

7. If you’re thinking about quitting smoking, do it!

Why it matters:

It will save you a lot of money—rates for smokers can be 3 to 4 times higher than the rates for nonsmokers. If you get life insurance while you're a smoker and at some point quit smoking, you can request a requalification for nonsmoker rates after you’ve been tobacco free for at least 12 months. You’ll have to do the medical exam again, but it will probably save you a lot of money.

8. Pay annually if you can.

Why it matters:

You'll save money, because insurers add on extra fees when the premium is paid month-to-month.

9. Get a personal insurance checkup before you shop so you know what to look for.

Why it matters:

If you're not sure how much coverage to buy, the easiest way to find out is to use our free insurance checkup tool [LINK]. We look at your current financial and family situation and your plans down the road and figure out the optimal amount of insurance to buy. Plus, we don't do cold-calls or share your name with anyone, so you can use the results however you like.

Armed with your personalized insurance checkup and the tips above, you'll be able to shop confidently, make smart decisions, and ultimately find the best policy for your specific needs.