How to Shop for Life Insurance - Step-by-Step Guide


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 15, 2024

How to Shop for Life Insurance - Step-by-Step Guide

Beginner’s Guide to How to Shop for Life Insurance

Nobody really wants to dwell on the thought of passing away, but when you have a family who relies on you for their financial security and well-being, it's crucial to plan ahead.

To ensure that your loved ones are financially protected even after you're gone, it's essential to learn how to shop for life insurance and, most importantly, find the best provider that suits your needs. Discover how to secure your family's future by exploring the world of life insurance and finding the perfect provider for you.

Shopping for the Right Life Insurance Policy

When it comes to life insurance, there are various types to consider. If you're new to the world of life insurance shopping, it can be a bit overwhelming to find the perfect policy. But worry not, we're here to help you navigate through it all.

In this guide, we'll provide you with all the information you need to make the process of shopping for life insurance smooth and simple. You'll learn how to score the best deals and ensure the financial well-being of your family even after you're gone.

From understanding the reasons for buying life insurance to getting into the nitty-gritty of the application process, we'll equip you with the knowledge to shop for life insurance like a pro. Choosing the perfect policy that meets your needs will be a breeze with our guidance.

Reasons to Buy Life Insurance

The thought of death isn’t a pleasant one when you are newly married, starting a family or growing your bunch. If you pass unexpectedly, your spouse may have a difficult time supporting him or herself and any children you may have.

Life insurance is a great way to ensure that your spouse and little ones are taken care of when your paycheck isn’t supporting the family any more.

A great life insurance policy can help to cover costs that arise shortly after your passing or even further down the road. The first cost that life insurance covers is often funeral and burial costs.

The money from life insurance can also be used to pay off the house or car, so that your beneficiary has one less expense each month. Many people use life insurance money to send their children to college.

If your spouse has very little in the way of expenses, he or she may consider using the money for an investment in stocks, CDs or mutual funds.

The most important thing is that your family has the money to use in whatever way suits them best. You can relax knowing that they will be well taken care of after you’re no longer with them.

Buying Life Insurance 101


You can buy just any old life insurance policy, or you can buy life insurance the right way. If you are looking for an insurance policy that will take care of your loved ones for years to come, you are in the right place.

Buying life insurance is not a process you want to go into blindly. The more you know, the better off you will be. Before you dive in, there are a few things that you need to know, such as, where you should buy life insurance, what kind of coverage you need and what type of policy best suits your family.

Learn where to buy life insurance, where to get the most accurate quotes online, how to choose the best type of life insurance, how to get the best prices and more.

Where to Buy Life Insurance

When it comes to buying life insurance, there are three main options: purchasing from an insurance company, using an online broker, or working with an independent insurance agent. Among these choices, the most popular and preferred method is buying through an independent agent.

By choosing an independent agent, you'll have a personal guide who can navigate you through the sometimes daunting process of life insurance. While having one-on-one assistance from an agent is valuable, it's also important to conduct your own research. This way, you'll be equipped with the right questions to ask during your meeting with the agent.

Online brokers provide a convenient way to purchase life insurance. You can explore different options at your own pace without feeling pressured to make a decision.

If you opt for buying through an independent insurance agent, it's advisable to do your homework. Before meeting with the agent, take some time to gather online quotes. This will give you an idea of the potential costs involved.

How to Find Life Insurance Quotes Online

With over 90% of online life insurance quotes, you only get an estimate. If you are just getting a rough idea for a price to take to an agent, this is fine.

If you’ve decided to purchase your life insurance online, you will want to make sure that the quote is close to the actual cost of the policy that you want. This way there will be no surprises when you get your first bill.

Here at InsuranceRanked, we know the value of an accurate quote. You will get the full picture when you request your quote. Get a life insurance quote from our top services here.

Choosing the Right Type of Life Insurance

Different situations call for different types of life insurance. Term life insurance is the option that most people go with because it is the most affordable. This type of policy provides coverage for a precise period of time at a set rate.

Term life insurance lasts as long as you’re making payments. Keep in mind that coverage ceases the moment you stop paying.

There is another type of life insurance that goes by a few names. Whole, universal or cash-value life insurance lasts as long as you live. This option isn’t always as affordable, but it makes certain that your family is covered, no matter when you pass.

Many agents try to push whole life insurance policies because the commission checks that come with it are bountiful.

Choosing the perfect type of life insurance will depend heavily on your budget and your age.

How to Save Money on Life Insurance

Life insurance is a great investment for your family. It is designed to ensure the financial well-being of your family in the future so you’ll want to choose a policy that fits well into your current budget.

There are a few things to consider when you’re trying to save money on life insurance.

  1. Only buy as much coverage as you need.
  2. Buy it sooner than later. It’s cheaper when you’re young and healthy.
  3. Look into both term and life insurance and compare.

These three tips will help you to find a life insurance policy that fits perfectly into your budget. Shopping around for the best policy is a must.

Life insurance can be quite affordable if you shop smart! You’ll find that there are plenty of cost-effective policies. There are some term life insurance policies that cost as little as $15 a month for $250,000 in protection.

Things to Consider When Buying Life Insurance

Life insurance is not a one-size-fits-all sort of deal. It is important to shop around for the policy that best suits your family’s needs.

There are a few boxes that you need to check when evaluating different policies so that you can be sure that you have the coverage that you need for a price you want.

Make sure to consider these five components when buying life insurance.

  1. Payout Process
  2. Affordability
  3. Payment Plans
  4. Living Benefits
  5. Conversion Policies

It is always a good idea to take a holistic approach when purchasing life insurance. This is an investment that will affect those who you love most, so you should weight all of your options very carefully.

Payout Process

Your loved ones should have access to your life insurance the moment that they need it. Some policies make you pay in for a few years before the payout is available. If you had this type of policy and something happened to you in the first week of taking out the insurance, your family would not have access to this support.

Choose a policy that provides coverage from the first day that you pay. Avoid simplified issue policies if possible.


Adding another monthly expense to your budget should be carefully planned. You need to choose a life insurance policy that doesn’t break the bank but still provides you with the coverage you need.

Policies are much more affordable when you’re young and healthy, so you should consider buying you life insurance sooner than later.

Payment Plans

Finding a life insurance policy with convenient payment plans is essential. Since you payment will be recurring and long term, make sure your policy has an effective automatic payment system. Missing your payments can have rough consequences, so setting a up a plan to avoid them is important.

Living Benefits

If there comes a point when your spouse and children no longer need financial support in the event that you pass away, you may want to tap into your life insurance benefits.

Accessing living benefits is great because that means you lived a long life and you get to enjoy the money that you set aside for your loved ones since they are okay on their own.

Conversion Policies

Different types of life insurance policies are useful at different stages of life. Sometimes you buy a policy that seems like the right fit in the moment, but a few years down the line it may turn out that you need a different type of policy.

In order to prepare for this possibility, choose a policy that has conversion features. Make sure that you can convert your policy to one that works better for you if the need arises. You will thank yourself later.

How to Name Beneficiaries

While many people buy life insurance just for their spouses and children, there are different ways to set up beneficiaries. You’ll want to identify a primary beneficiary. You’ll need this person’s full name, date of birth and social security number.

Next, you will decide if you are going to give different beneficiaries set percentages of the pay out or if you want it to be divided by branch of the family tree. These two options are called per capita and per stirpes, respectively.

If you want the payment to be divided up and spent where it is most needed after you pass away, you should make the primary beneficiary somebody who is both trustworthy and responsible.

In the event that something happens to your primary beneficiary, you should list a secondary beneficiary. It is also wise to review the list of beneficiaries on your policy from time to time. The needs of your family may change, so you want to make sure the plan always covers those needs.

It is important to be very specific and intentional when listing your beneficiaries. It is wise to steer away from general titles like “Husband” or “Children” because these relationships can easily change in the case of divorce.

If you have adopted children or grandchildren, be sure to include them. They are your family, so you don’t want them to get slighted during the payout due to any clerical errors.

How to Apply for Life Insurance

There are a several steps involved in applying for life insurance. The process may be a long one, but the peace of mind that having an excellent life insurance policy brings makes the long process worth it.

Get a Quote

After you get a quote and choose the policy that is perfect for your situation, you will begin the application process. If you are applying in person, make sure that you come equipped with all of the necessary information.

Get Examination

Once you file your initial application and it is verified by an agent, you will set up an appointment with a paramedical professional. This practitioner, will conduct a physical to evaluate your health. The physical is comparable to the examinations done by a nurse when you go to the doctor for your regular wellness check up.

Since paramedical professionals are mobile, scheduling your appointment will be a breeze. He or she can come to your house or stop by during your lunch break at work. This examination will be quick and painless. Your vitals will be charted and a small sample of blood will be collected. Cholesterol levels, drug use, diseases and glucose levels are the main things that are being tested.

Remember to be completely honest about your health. If it comes out that you provided false information, that could cause issues down the line.

Wait for Application to Process

After the paramedical professional submits the information gathered in your exam, there will be a little be of waiting. Your health is the most important thing that is considered in the application process. You may be asked questions that feel a bit invasive time and time again. This is just so the agent has a clear picture of you health.

Get Approved and Make Payment

Once the paperwork from the physician is submitted and approved, the underwriter will get to work. You will review a full copy of the policy then you can make your first payment. If you choose a policy that is active after the first payment, you’re all set!

Information Needed to Apply for Life Insurance


When you’re getting started on the journey of applying for life insurance you should prepare all of your materials. Things will get pretty personal in this process so make sure that you are entering your information into secure portals only.


There are few pieces of information that you should have on hand to get started. First and foremost, you’re going to need financial records. You’ll need detailed records of your income and outstanding debts.


Your health is a major factor in the price of your life insurance and coverage you are eligible for. Have major health records on hand. This includes documents stating any past diagnoses and current prescriptions. Your primary care doctor’s information will also be useful.

Since a physical examination is part of the process, make sure that you are completely transparent with any health issues that you might have. It is better to be upfront than to hide your ailments.


Last but not least, make sure you have adequate information on all of your beneficiaries. Names, dates of birth and social security numbers are required. You’ll likely need additional contact information, depending on where you buy your life insurance.

Get a Life Insurance Quote Online

Now that you have a better understanding of life insurance, it's time to get a quote. We're here to assist you in selecting the policy that best suits your unique situation.

At InsuranceRanked, we understand that ensuring your family's financial security during challenging times is a top priority. You can leave behind the stress and worry because we'll provide you with the most suitable coverage options. Look at our top providers here.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

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