How are instant life insurance quotes calculated?


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 23, 2016|3 min read

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Getting a car insurance quote online makes sense — you put in your location and the model of your car and you can get a relatively accurate quote within seconds. But life insurance quotes should be more complicated, right? How much you pay for life insurance is based on how risky you are to insure, which means taking into account your health and other risk factors. None of that is easy to do online, right?Because it’s not easy to build a comprehensive health questionnaire online, most sites that advertise instant life insurance quotes, like Accuquote or Selectquote, don’t even try. Instead, they ask you to judge your own health and choose one of three options to describe it: best, good, and bad.

But life insurance companies look at health in a far more nuanced way than that. Their calculations are much more specific, taking into account details like your weight, your family history, and even your driving record. Best, good, and bad don’t even begin to describe the way that life insurance companies actually think about you and your risk factors.So here’s the deal with sites like Accuquote and Selectquote: with a few basic pieces of information, like your location, age, and perceived health class, they can give you an instant life insurance quote. But this quote is very rough and frequently inaccurate because it’s based on such limited information.To design a better instant quoting engine, you'd have to start from scratch and build it to take into account as much health information as possible in a relatively small amount of time, so that you increase accuracy while still delivering on the "instant quote" promise. This, not coincidentally, is exactly the life insurance quoting engine we built at PolicyGenius, and 85% of our customers pay a monthly premium that’s within $5 of their original quote. Instant quoting tools at sites like AccuQuote and SelectQuote can’t compete with PolicyGenius on that number.Why don’t other sites build out more comprehensive questionnaires? Mostly because their business models depend on getting you on the phone and talking to a salesperson.. Once they have you on the phone, they’ll collect that health information and give you a more accurate quote, but the odds are that it will be way off from what they originally showed you online. But that doesn't matter (to them), because you’re already on the phone, and the sales pitch has started. They’ll continue to push you to buy from them until you break down or you change your phone number, whichever comes first.

PolicyGenius has the most accurate life insurance quoting engine in the industry, and the benefits don’t stop there. PolicyGenius also allows users to apply for life insurance online with an easy-to-use digital form. If you’re still looking for an agent to guide you through the process, PolicyGenius has agents you can speak too as well. If you want them to hold your hand, they will, and if you prefer a hands-off approach, they can do that, too.In short: instant life insurance quotes are calculated using a number of different variables, and the more variables your life insurance quoting engine takes into account, the more accurate the end result will be.

Image: Roman Mager