When you begin searching for life insurance, it’s understandable to want immediate answers. And with the internet, it’s possible to obtain a life insurance quote in just a few minutes’ time. However, it’s worth wondering whether these tools are as accurate as we hope. So, just how accurate is an online life insurance quote, and how far off might they be?
Factors that Influence Life Insurance Costs (and Quotes)
While you might think that plugging in your age, health status, weight, and other minute details would generate an accurate life insurance quote, that may not be the case. In fact, life insurance companies often consider much more than just your health status and age. Once you decide you need life insurance coverage, consider the following influential factors.
Your Overall Stats
The first consideration for online life insurance quotes is your overall age and fitness level. Some policies are only available for people within a specific age range, while some age groups may have to pay more for similar coverage.
Gender can also influence life insurance pricing, as can your overall health. Smokers, for instance, can expect high life insurance premiums because smoking increases your risk of developing serious ailments.
Your weight and BMI are also influential factors, as people who are obese often face difficulty obtaining coverage. However, an online generator that only considers weight may not be as accurate as one that calculates a BMI, presenting another obstacle toward obtaining coverage.
Other stats like your marital status, the type of work you do, and even your driving record may affect the bottom line. However, many online life insurance quotes won’t factor these items in, giving you an unrealistic view of life insurance costs.
Although many people believe they won’t be able to obtain life insurance with a pre-existing condition, fortunately, that’s not the case. However, a pre-existing condition may affect your ability to qualify for some companies’ life insurance plans.
With other companies, you can often expect difficulty obtaining coverage, with medical exam requirements, the need for documentation and diagnosis paperwork, and more. You may also wind up paying more for life insurance overall.
However, an online quote generator may only consider the pre-existing condition and not your current health status. Seeing an agent or actually beginning an application for life insurance can help provide a better idea of what to expect regarding cost and benefit options.
Further, some insurance companies may also require more information on your diagnosis and current health. This information can positively affect your quote, especially if your condition is manageable via diet and lifestyle or minor medication adjustments.
Family Health History
Even if you have never received a diagnosis for heart disease, if you have a family history of the condition, it may influence your rates and ability to obtain life insurance. The same goes for other conditions that have a genetic component.
Because genetics play such a huge role in the development of heart problems, an insurance provider may choose not to provide you with coverage—or they may charge you exorbitant premiums. Unfortunately, they’re operating under the premise that you have higher odds of developing that condition, even if you’re perfectly healthy right now.
Therefore, an online life insurance quote may not ask family health history questions, or it may leave out the most vital details. The omission can affect your total quote, whether positively or negatively. The bottom line, however, is that it may not be accurate.
In many cases, your employer may offer one or multiple kinds of life insurance policies. And while it’s true that relying on employer-sponsored life insurance can be limiting in some ways, it’s usually the most convenient and accessible option for many workers.
Regardless of your occupational or organizational affiliations, it’s important to consider all options when seeking out life insurance. Also consider the fact that if you leave a job, you may not be able to find comparable policies elsewhere.
It may be worth the research to obtain a policy outside your employment—one that you can take with you if you ever leave the company. Also, if you already have another type of insurance with a company, they may offer “bundles” or other packages to existing customers. Existing membership is one affiliation that can have a positive benefit on your life insurance quote.
How “Smart” is the Algorithm?
If you submit an online form full of information, that is a vastly different scenario than speaking with an agent or representative who understands life insurance. Plus, one wrong character or figure, and you could wind up with figures that are off by hundreds of dollars or more.
Even the most comprehensive online quiz or form can’t possibly factor in every item that will influence your life insurance costs. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all when it comes to life insurance, but online quotes take the personalization—and the accuracy—out of the process.
Getting an Accurate Life Insurance Quote
Because there are so many variables in the life insurance quote “formula,” it’s difficult to determine whether you are getting a realistic quote. Especially if you are using an online generator, there may be vital questions missing from the form or screen.
Overall, the most accurate way to obtain a life insurance quote is to speak to an agent. Especially if you have never had life insurance coverage before, it’s helpful to either sit down or talk on the phone with a life insurance agent.
This way, you can explain any health conditions or extenuating circumstances that may affect the cost of life insurance or your ability to obtain it. Also, an agent can help you “shop around” once they have all your information; you can compare rates and benefits without filling out the same information many times over.
Of course, a quick online quote is the fastest way to get a life insurance figure. But if it’s not accurate, then it might just be a waste of time in the long run.