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If you’re looking to buy life insurance, our tool can help you locate and compare life insurance quotes so you can find the best deal. We’ll also help you decide if you need life insurance and walk you through the process of choosing a life insurance policy that fits your needs. Learn important terms and policy options as you explore different life insurance providers below. 

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How to Get Life Insurance Quotes Using the Tool

This tool provides pricing estimates from several top life insurance providers. You’ll just need to answer a few questions about your age, life circumstances, and annual income to help us determine how much life insurance you’ll need. From there, you can expect to see quotes from multiple providers.

Life Insurance Terms You Need to Know

Buying life insurance can be confusing and overwhelming if you don’t understand the common terms used in life insurance policies. Here are some terms you may come across:

  • Face value/policy value: The face value of a policy is the same as the death benefit, which is the amount of money your designated beneficiaries will receive if you die during the term. 
  • Beneficiary: In life insurance, a beneficiary is the person designated by the policyholder to receive the death benefit in the event the insured person dies. 
  • Underwriting: Underwriting is the process of determining an applicant’s level of risk. In life insurance, underwriters use information about your age, health, and smoking status to determine the likelihood you’ll die during the term. The higher your risk, the higher your premium will be. 
  • Insured person: This is the person covered by the policy. When this person dies, the death benefit will be paid. 
  • Policyholder: This is the person who purchased the policy. 
  • Premiums: A premium is the amount you’ll pay to keep the policy in force. You may be required to pay premiums monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually. You may also pay for a policy in full on the date of purchase. 
  • Cash value/account value: In permanent life insurance policies, the cash value is the amount that earns interest and is available for you to borrow. 
  • Surrender value: This is the amount you would receive if you decided to cancel your policy—the cash value minus any early termination costs. 
  • Dividends: Dividends are portions of an insurance company’s profits that are paid to eligible whole life policyholders. Not all companies pay dividends. You can typically choose to receive these payments in cash, put them towards your premiums, or buy additional life insurance.

Who Needs Life Insurance?

Anyone who has family members who depend on their income to meet their needs should purchase a life insurance policy. Ask yourself, “If something were to happen to me, would my family’s income be enough to cover our financial obligations?” Those obligations could include paying off a mortgage or other debt or saving for a child’s education. 

Even if you don’t have dependents, you might consider buying a life insurance policy if you want to provide for your funeral expenses. If you own a business that would suffer without you, you can also name your business partner as a beneficiary. Some people also choose to purchase whole life insurance as a way to save for retirement, but most financial experts say that’s not a wise investment. 

What Kind of Life Insurance Should I Get?

Most people only need life insurance to cover them during a specific period, such as while they are paying off a mortgage. In this case, term life insurance is typically sufficient and much more affordable than whole life insurance. However, some families prefer a policy that builds cash value and provides extra benefits like critical illness coverage. 

There are a few types of life insurance products available to choose from:

Term Life

Term life insurance protects your family for a specific period of time, typically between five and 30 years. If you die during the term, your beneficiaries receive the full death benefit. However, if the term expires before you die, you won’t get a payout from the policy. 

Best for families and people with debt

Final Expense

Final expense insurance allows you to prepay for your funeral expenses with a series of premium payments. In most cases, you can get these policies without answering health questions or taking a medical exam. 

Best for older people and folks with health issues

Whole Life

As the name suggests, whole life insurance covers you for your entire life. Your beneficiaries are guaranteed a death benefit, but these policies generally come with a higher cost. Whole life insurance also accrues interest, building a cash value component you can borrow against, and some life insurance companies pay dividends to whole life policyholders. 

Best for estate planning, people with special needs children

Getting a Life Insurance Quote Online vs. an Agent or Broker

Some life insurance companies use captive agents who can only sell you life insurance from that particular provider. Unless you have already chosen a provider, working with a captive agent will limit your options. Independent agents represent multiple companies and have the ability to bind policies and provide claim support, but they don’t work with every life insurance company out there, so you could still miss out on opportunities when compared to doing your own research. 

Brokers represent consumers looking for insurance and can assist in determining the type of policy you need, how much coverage you should buy, and which company can offer you the best price. However, they can’t bind policies, so you’ll still need to work with an agent or provider directly when you formally apply for a policy. 

Getting quotes from every provider can take time, and it can be difficult to compare policies. However, online life insurance comparison websites can do a lot of the work for you. Still, if you’re new to buying life insurance, you may seek the advice and support of an agent or broker. 

Online/Direct Agent  Broker 
Best for people who like doing their own research and want the most options Best for people who know what they’re looking for but want a human to help them compare prices Best for people who need financial guidance to choose the right type of coverage

How to Compare Life Insurance Quotes

When getting a life insurance quote, you’ll need to provide information such as your age, height, weight, and income. You may also need to answer questions about your current medical conditions, medications, family medical history, criminal record, and driving violations. You should get quotes for the same type of policy so you can compare pricing accurately. For example, if you’re looking for term life insurance, choose the same term and face value for each quote, or use an online quote comparison tool. Also consider whether the quote is conditional based on a medical exam. 

How to Compare Life Insurance Companies

As you narrow down the list of life insurance providers that could potentially meet your needs, research each company and consider the following:

  • Eligibility: Make sure you’re eligible for the insurance provider’s policies based on your age and health.
  • Employer-sponsored vs. individual coverage: You may be eligible for group coverage through your employer, and in most cases, this will be less costly. However, you should ensure the coverage is sufficient for your needs and portable if you leave your job. 
  • Cost: Look for a company that can provide you with an affordable estimate for the coverage you need.
  • Ease of issue: Consider whether you’d prefer a policy that doesn’t require a medical exam and instead offers instant coverage online.
  • Complaints: Research any recent lawsuits or enforcement actions against the company and check the company’s complaint index with the NAIC. An index below 1.00 indicates a relatively satisfied customer base. 
  • Credibility: Check the company’s ranking in the most recent J.D. Power U.S. Life Insurance Study, and look up customer reviews on third-party websites to see if there are customer concerns.
  • Financial strength ratings: Make sure the company is well-rated for financial strength from independent agencies such as AM Best and Fitch since this indicates the company can reliably pay claims.
  • Availability of riders: If you want to customize your policy with riders such as chronic illness coverage, long-term care, or life insurance for your child, make sure the company has the options to meet your needs.
  • Availability of final expense products: If you’re looking to prepay your funeral costs over time, ensure the company you choose offers this type of policy.
  • Customer service: Make sure you have plenty of options for contacting the company and prioritize insurers that offer live chat or 24/7 support.

Things to Know Before Buying Life Insurance

  • Know your financial obligations and goals: Before you shop for life insurance, you need to decide how much coverage to buy and how long you want the policy in force. “To determine how much life insurance you need, consider how much money is needed to take care of your family and responsibilities,” says Lacrecia Cade, president of the brokerage Atlanta Life Insurance. “This could include ensuring there is money to cover your mortgage, cars, kids’ college or private school tuition, or even additional caregivers who may be needed. You want to estimate what your family would lose if you weren’t able to contribute.” 
  • Consider your health: Your current health will influence what options are available to you. Cade says some issues could make it difficult to pass automated underwriting, including “any type of chronic illness, as well as obesity based on your BMI, high blood pressure, or having high glucose levels such that you’re considered a pre-diabetic.” If that’s the case, you may need help from a broker to compare the underwriting standards of different companies and find an affordable policy. 
  • Decide if you want the policy to build cash value: Cade says term policies are less expensive, but a “whole life policy will accrue cash value and you can withdraw it or borrow against it during your life.” 
  • Decide if you want the policy to provide living benefits: Some providers let you customize your policy to provide more than just a death benefit. “Think of your life insurance as part of a protection portfolio that you need to build,” says Cade. “Many life insurance policies now have accelerated benefits that pay you if you get seriously ill and need cash to help pay your expenses if you’re unable to work. So, consider the full suite of options to make sure you’re protected and ready.” 
  • Think about how you want to manage your policy: Many life insurance companies offer online tools that make it easy to accomplish changes without calling an agent. Decide if that’s important to you. Some companies even allow you to adjust your coverage online as you go. 
  • Know the options available from your employer: Consider whether the group coverage offered by your employer is sufficient to cover your needs and portable should you leave your job. You may need to purchase supplemental coverage, either through your employer or as an individual policy. However, Cade says you should look at the two sources of coverage in tandem. “It’s just as important not to over-insure as it is not to under-insure,” she says. 

Read More About Life Insurance Companies

As you compare life insurance quotes, you may wonder how each company fares in terms of customer service, reliability, policy offerings, and financial strength. We use a robust approach to evaluate each company based on available pricing data, third-party ratings, and qualitative research. Our life insurance reviews can help you narrow down your options once you get a few quotes that fit your budget. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Life Insurance Quote?

A life insurance quote is an estimate of how much your premium will cost for a life insurance policy. Your individual quote is based on factors such as your height and weight, age, and smoking status. Life insurance quotes aren’t always exact, especially if a medical exam is required to confirm your health information, but they can help you compare approximate costs across companies.

How Much Does Life Insurance Cost?

Life insurance is more affordable than most people think. According to LIMRA’s 2021 Insurance Barometer Study, more than half of Americans expect life insurance to set them back three times the actual cost. While whole life insurance can be expensive, typically running about 10-15X the cost of term life insurance, a term life insurance policy for a healthy 30-year-old costs only around $160 per year. Group coverage through your employer can cost even less or be included as a free benefit. But your individual price will depend on factors like your age, gender, occupation, height, weight, and smoking status. Adding riders to your policy can increase the price.

Should I Get a Life Insurance Quote?

Using a free tool to get life insurance quotes online is one of the best ways to start comparing a wide variety of life insurance companies. Independent agents typically only work with a handful of companies, so you’ll be left with fewer policy options. And it can be difficult and time-consuming to find an experienced broker. However, if you have health issues that might affect underwriting, have difficulty using technology, or have complex customization needs, working with an independent agent or broker may be a better option. Also keep in mind that quotes for whole life policies, especially those with a high face value, aren’t typically available online.