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Web-based life insurance may not be in your best interests

You've heard the ads. You know, how the guy getting interviewed tells everyone how he got a "male, age 42, on cholesterol medication, a $500,000 life policy" for $21 a month. Sounds pretty good, right? And, what convenience! No agent in your house, and all done with a phone call and a couple of clicks of your mouse. You buy everything else online, why not life insurance?

Well, for starters, you have to keep in mind the purpose of life insurance. You don't buy it for the insurance; you buy it for what the insurance does, and that's the protection of those people and things that you love. Life insurance is not a tangible product. You can't touch it, hold it or show it off to your friends. Having an agent gives you the peace of mind that there is someone advocating for your family and/or business if you should die. Remember the last time you called your cable company or a utility? Did you get a human? Not likely. You got a recording telling you that if you wanted "X", press 1, "Y", press 2, or maybe you even get to have a conversation with a robot. The point is, if you die, do you want your spouse, for example, to call an 800 number and be put through this number game when he or she is totally distraught? Or would you rather have an agent, one with an established relationship with both of you, make the call on your behalf?

Additionally, life has a way of changing. Detours to your life's plan can get in the way. Divorce, for instance. 50% of marriages today end up in divorce court. That great life insurance policy has your ex as the primary beneficiary, and divorce has no bearing on this, since your policy is a contract. If you had an agent, he or she would know to make the necessary changes to your policy, which can be especially important if you've remarried. Imagine your new spouse's reaction if you die and the benefit goes to someone else.

And, even though the online companies represent all of the major life insurers, there's no guarantees that they'll be in business when you call. By having an agent, the worst that could happen is that he or she is retired, and another local agent has been assigned to the case. Yes, buying online may save you a few bucks on premium, but is price alone that important, or is paying a few extra bucks worth it for the value of having a local representative? If you don't know one, go online to for assistance in finding one.

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