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Consumer Protection

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Consumer Protection for life insurance

Find out how you're protected

Like any industry, there's always some bad apples but life insurance is a heavily regulated industry with a great deal of consumer protection at the State and Federal level.  This is important since the decision you're making might have ramifications decades from now when the life insurance benefit is needed (hopefully not).   Let's look at how you're protected. 

It's important to first understand that most of the protection for consumers is done at the State level through the various State's Department of Insurance.  The carriers and life insurance brokers must comply with their rules and there is a process of licensing in the case of the brokers to make sure they keep up with their ethical and professional requirements through continuing education.  The protections break down into a few different areas so let's cover some of the most important.

Truth in life insurance advertising.  This should be pretty obvious and the industry is pretty good in comparison with other industries.  A life insurance carrier or broker cannot advertise falsely.  They cannot use teaser rates without explaining what that rate represents (for example, a rate must be based on a certain age, health status, etc).  They can't just print the lowest rate on the market without showing that applies to.  The rates usually have to be approved by the Department of Insurance.  There may even be governance on how much a rate can increase depending on the State but this is rarely an issue with term life insurance since the premium is fixed.  A carrier or broker cannot bait and switch (i.e. that one real cheap car price listed which isn't available at the lot).  Keep in mind that the term life rate you are quoted online may be different than the final offer by the carrier based on your health status, application, and paramedical exam.  The quoted rate is based on a certain set of criteria which may be different than your actual health situation (sometimes...even to your surprise at the result of a paramedical exam). 

General ethical responsibilities.  You go into a life insurance purchase with the expectation that if you pay the premium over the course of the policy, it will pay out if need be.  Many in the general public have an uneasiness about life insurance companies (or insurance in general) but complications during claims payment are rare and we stick with the better companies to avoid hassles.  We can always help our clients at the time of benefit payment and it's helpful just to have a 3rd party advocate but the process is pretty clean in most cases.  The local Department of Insurance would be the destination for complaints or conflict resolution if you exhausted your avenue with a tricky claims payment.  You can google "Department of Insurance" followed by your State to initiate this process.

Life insurance brokers also have requirements to protect consumers.  The key ones are as follows.  Twisting and Churning.  Essentially, this is the fraudulent process by which an unethical insurance agent tries to get you to replace a perfectly well-suited life insurance policy to buy a new replacement one so that he/she can earn commission.  There are situations where a person is on a very expensive life insurance policy they can no longer afford (or shouldn't be overpaying for).  If a life insurance agent is offering you about the same as what you have now merely for replacement, that's a big warning sign.  Whole life also comes into play here where the cash value is used to pay for the policy of another plan.  Whole life is expensive in general but it you really need a professional and ethical life insurance broker to look at your situation and explain to you the benefits and disadvantages to any proposed changes.   A life insurance should present you with all the information you need to make a good decision.

In order to take full advantage of the protection available through the Department of Insurance, there are a few key points for you as the applicant/insured.  Always be honest, thorough, and complete with the information you provide during the enrollment process.  If a carrier find fraud on your behalf, it can jeopardize your life insurance benefits.  Avoid anyone who tells you to be less than honest in order to get approved.  Ultimately, it's a risk to you and your life insurance coverage.



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DISCLAIMER   -   Information provided on this page is intended as a general overview.  Your situation regarding life insurance may be different and we strongly          
 recommend speaking with a license life insurance agent.  This information is solely the opinion of etermlifeinsurancequote.com and may not be suitable for you.