Can you trust instant life insurance quotes?


Adam Cecil

Adam Cecil

Former Staff Writer

Adam Cecil is a former staff writer for Policygenius, a digital insurance brokerage trying to make sense of insurance for consumers. He is a podcast producer, writer, and video maker based in Brooklyn, NY.

Published May 17, 2016|3 min read

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Instant life insurance quotes are a nice idea. Just put in a little bit of information about yourself and get a dollar amount seconds later. Lots of other insurance products are like this — car insurance, for example. But life insurance is more complicated than car insurance, so how can we be sure that instant life insurance quotes are trustworthy?The answer to that question is complicated, but you can usually judge the accuracy of instant life insurance quotes based on how many questions you need to answer before you get those quotes. Sites like AccuQuote and SelectQuote ask for only a few basic details — date of birth, gender, location — and rely on shoppers to judge their own health class.

It’s that last part, the health class, that decides exactly how much you’ll pay, and it’s not easy to guess or judge for yourself what class you’re in. Every life insurance company has different standards for how it treats various health conditions, and it’s impossible to figure out what health class you’re in without going through a more detailed questionnaire.Another thing to make figuring out your health class more complicated: it’s not just based on health. Your health class is also determined using information about your family history of health conditions and other risky behaviors, like scuba diving or rock climbing.Because health classes are complicated to figure out, sites like AccuQuote and SelectQuote focus on getting you to fill out the bare amount of information necessary to give you a number — regardless of whether or not it’s accurate. Before they show you the dollar amount, they have you give them your email and phone number. This allows them to contact you and start the sales process before you get a truly accurate quote — only after you talk to an agent about your health will you get a more accurate idea of how much life insurance will cost.PolicyGenius, on the other hand, asks a lot more health questions up front for two reasons: one, it allows us to more accurately calculate your quote, and two, we don’t believe you should have to talk to someone on the phone to get your real quote. While the form may take a little bit longer to fill out, the quotes you get at the end are a lot more accurate — 85% of our customers get a policy within $5 of the original quote they received on our site.

And because all of that health information was collected online, if you decide to come back and purchase a policy through us, you won’t need to spend nearly as much time on the phone. Plus, once you take a look at your options and decide what policy you want to apply for, you can do it all online, with just a short phone call to confirm. The whole process is faster, easier, and allows you take your time. Plus, you won’t get a million emails a day from PolicyGenius, and no one will call you without your express permission.Let’s go back to that original question: can you trust instant life insurance quotes? To that, we say yes — but not all instant life insurance quotes are equally trustworthy. A good rule of thumb is that shorter questionnaires will lead to inaccurate quotes, while more in-depth health questionnaires allow for a more accurate calculation.

Image: Susane Feldt