Is it safe to buy insurance over the Internet?

There are a lot of ads on radio (even on podcasts) selling insurance.

Call a random 800 number or visit a website, plug in your information, and get covered.

Is this a good idea? It depends. In a sense, we sell insurance over the Internet because we use online applications to enroll our clients with most of the companies we work with, and usually do so without a face to face meeting with our individual clients.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to buying insurance over the phone or Internet

1. Know what you are buying.

There are some very good insurance plans out there, and there are some very crappy plans out there. Do you know the difference?

This is particularly true when it comes to health insurance. Are you buying a true insurance policy or a discount plan? Always know this: What is the most you would have to pay out-of-pocket if you had to use the coverage? What’s the worst-case scenario. (Hint: There needs to be a cap on what you have to pay!)

2. Don’t just buy insurance based on price.

This is related to point one. The old adage is often true: You get what you pay for, so if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

And recognize that in some cases the price won’t stay the same. If you buy a Medicare supplement plan, for example, the price in year one won’t be the same as the price you’ll pay down the road. An unbelievable first-year price from a random company you’ve never heard of can (and often does) escalate pretty quickly over a couple years.

3. Know who you are buying the policy from.

If you dial a random 800 number you heard on the radio, there’s a good chance you’re talking to some guy in a cubicle farm 500 miles away. There’s also a good chance he’s using a script designed to get you into a profitable plan, and he will be very motivated to close the deal on this initial phone call. (Trust me, I’ve been in seminars training people on the “one call close” and have interacted with people who run these phone banks.)

Your insurance agent shouldn’t be in a cubicle farm 500 miles away.

In the digital age, you don’t have to have a face to face meeting to buy insurance from someone. But you need to know who you’re talking to, where they are, and if they know what they’re doing. He should be willing to answer any of your questions, and you shouldn’t feel any pressure to buy something immediately.

Here’s an important question: Will you be able to easily reach this person if you have questions or run into issues down the line? 

4. Be careful entering your contact information!

There are consumer-facing websites that promise to give you insurance quotes and connect you to local agents. So what happens after you enter all your information?

Your phone rings – a lot. Your inbox explodes. That website makes money by selling “leads” to insurance brokers – and you just became a hot lead! Most of those buying the leads run big call centers with robo-dialers scanning for open phone numbers that connect you with one of their reps trained to power you through a “one-call close.”

You don’t want to deal with that stuff. (When you enter your information in our contact page, rest assured we are the only ones who will contact you, and we won’t bug you and don’t use robo-dialers!)

How to Buy Insurance Over the Phone or On the Web

Most of the individual clients who work with us never meet with us face to face. We’re not under any illusion that we’re living in the 1970s here.

But there’s a difference between talking to someone 500 miles away in a cubicle farm (who may have had an insurance license for a few weeks) and talking to an experienced professional you know how to reach in the future. We’d like to be your trusted pros.

 

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