Online shopping has made everything, including buying life insurance, easier. You go online to find an instant quote for life insurance, you do a little browsing, and click on a tantalizing title promising it’s the “best place to get life insurance quotes.”
So you click.
The popup menu asks about your gender and date of birth. No problem, every insurance company needs to know that. Men and women have different life spans (men’s are shorter) and older people have higher mortality rates. This is standard information.
Some will ask if you smoke or not. Makes sense. Your health is part of the standard underwriting equation. And a few will ask about the state you live in because different states have different regulations.
But then it can get a bit more…invasive. Which isn’t necessarily a problem except that you’re required to answer every question before you get carrier options and quotes.
Let’s look at some companies and the questions they ask.
Before providing a list of carriers and a quote, PolicyGenius will ask questions about your employment (including the hours you work), your educational level and annual income, and your driving record.
Then you get the information you seek.
SelectQuote asks some of the same questions as those listed in the previous section but will also inquire about any risky hobbies you may have, like skydiving and rock climbing.
They will then ask for your email and home address before they give you the quote. And we all know that’s so they can keep bugging you about buying from them long after you’ve moved on.
Before they ask you any questions, Haven Life asks you to create an account before they give you any details about what they offer.
Now, Ladder Life wants to know everything but the name of your dog, including annual income, your children, your mortgage, risky hobbies, travel plans, drug usage (including marijuana), criminal history, driving record, weight change, how long it’s been since you’ve visited your doctor, your medications, any surgeries you’ve had, HIV status and will not proceed until you’ve given them your address.
PolicyWand will ask what state you live in (which, as mentioned above, is because different states require different regulations. You don’t want a quote from a carrier who it turns out can’t do business with you). They will also ask about your gender and date of birth, your smoking habits and your general, self-rated health status, how much coverage you want and for how long you need it.
That’s it. You immediately get quotes from a host of companies. Actual quotes. Not a range of quotes. Actual quotes.
Now, it can be argued that the more information a life insurance company collects up front, the better the carrier match they’ll make. However, the fact is that asking so many questions up front can pigeonhole you into accepting an insurance policy based on what they think you need, rather than allowing you to decide what you need.
In short, asking so many questions before giving you quotes prevents you from seeing all the options open to you. And you’ve given them more information than you may feel comfortable giving in the process.
It pays to shop around for the best life insurance quotes online. But how much are you willing to give away to do it?