AccuQuote Blog

Our life insurance blog is dedicated to providing you with valuable information from experts on the topics of insurance, financial planning and personal finance.

Prevent Your Life Insurance Company for “Dining and Dashing” with Your Premiums

By Byron Udell

 

  

It’s perfectly legal for life insurance companies to take years or even decades of premiums from their customers and NEVER pay on a death claim.

In fact, insurers depend on this happening more often than not.

Remember:

Fact #1:  When it comes to life insurance, there’s ALWAYS a loser.  It’s either the customer or the insurance company.   

Fact #2: If the insurer pays the death benefit, it’s virtually impossible for them to make a profit from your policy. 

Fact #3:  A shockingly high percentage of policies NEVER HAVE TO PAY the death benefit.

There is a surefire way to know that, when the time comes, your insurance company WILL pay up, even though the odds seem to be stacked against you. 

The Secret Is Very Simple…

The secret to winning the game is simple.  It can be summarized in six words:  DIE WITH YOUR POLICY IN FORCE.

Sounds easy, right?  So why do so many people lose the game? 

They lose because their policies lapse before they die. 

Again, MOST policies NEVER PAY the death benefit – not because of negligence on the part of the insurance company, but because of voluntary or inadvertent lapses caused by the policyholder.

This can happen for a myriad of reasons.  Sometimes it’s because they no longer want the policy.  Maybe they get divorced, so they intentionally dropped the policy.  Sometimes it’s because they run across some tough times, lose their job.

The bottom line is that the insurance company doesn’t care why they lapsed…  They’ve collected premiums for years, and never end up having to pay a claim.  In other words, they WON and you LOST. 

The profits the insurance companies make on all these lapsed and expired policies SUBSIDIZE the ridiculously high rates of return for the people smart enough to keep their policies in force until they die. 

In effect, the losers pay the winners, and the “house” (the insurance company) takes a small cut.  Almost like a casino…

Here’s the bottom line:  TO WIN THE GAME OF LIFE INSURANCE, you have to own a policy that you’ll be able to KEEP until you die.  For most of us, that means a policy with an affordable, predictable, and level premium for life.  

The Reasons I’m Speaking Out

So why would I share the secret with you, even if you don’t buy your life insurance from me?  

Firstly, I’ve been in the life insurance industry for three decades.  I’ve delivered benefit checks to teary-eyed widows. I’ve seen mortgages paid and college tuition paid for.  And I’ve seen financial devastation piled on top of an already grieving family.  I hate to see families pay premiums for years and NEVER get anything back because they allowed the policy to lapse.

Secondly, I’m hoping that now that you know the secret, you will trust AccuQuote to handle your life insurance, like hundreds of thousands of other folks have.     

At AccuQuote, life insurance is what we do.  We live, eat, breath, and sleep life insurance.  I’ve been on the radio and on TV for over two decades talking about how amazing and important life insurance is, and I’m regularly called upon by the media, including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, CNBC, The New York Times, and Kiplinger’s magazine, to comment on insurance industry issues.  I’m passionate about helping every single person I can to understand all this!

If you are going to own life insurance, you’re either going to WIN the game, or you’re going to LOSE it.  We WANT our customers to WIN.  Call us toll-free at 800-589-0466.  We’ll tell you how to win, and give you simple ways to make that happen. 

You can also get a free quote on a life insurance policy with an affordable, predictable premium that will never increase here.

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Personal Finance Guru Terry Savage Talks Life Insurance in the News, On the Web, On TV, and on the Radio

By Byron Udell

 

For more than two decades, I’ve been helping personal finance expert and nationally syndicated columnist Terry Savage spread the word about life insurance. 

Terry’s a friend, but she’s also one of the people in the media who gets it right when it comes to covering and reporting on life insurance.  She educates her readers, listeners and viewers (yes, she has all three, as she’s now part of the Tribune Content Agency; this means she’ll still be seen on WGN TV, she’ll still be heard on WGN Radio, and now she can be read in the Chicago Tribune and other outlets).

What I really like about Terry, who is a best-selling author, is that she makes life insurance very simple for her audience to understand.  And she does this while still conveying how important it is.

This time, Terry tells us 5 things to know about life insurance.  She cites AccuQuote and quotes me.  Read the piece in the Tribune (if you can’t access because of a pay wall, read it on Huffington Post).  Listen to her talk about life insurance recently on WGN Radio.  And watch her a couple weeks ago on WGN TV’s top rated morning show.

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Life Insurance Exam Tips that Could Save You Thousands

By Byron Udell

 

You probably know that your health is an important factor life insurance companies use to decide how much to charge you for coverage.  The healthier you are, the less you pay.  They get a lot of the information they need by performing a medical exam.

Sometimes the difference in cost is dramatic. Bad results can even cause your application to be denied.  So there’s a lot riding on those results.

What Happens During a Medical Exam?
After you’ve appliedfor a life insurance policy, your agent will schedule a time for you to meet with a nurse or medical examiner. In most cases, the examiner will be able to meet with you at your home or office.

The examiner will ask you some questions about your medical history.  They’ll check your blood pressure. They will also measure your height and weight to determine your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI is an important indicator of your risk of premature death.

(If you’re curious, you may want to find out your body mass index using the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s super-easy BMI calculator.)

You’ll provide a blood and urine sample.  A resting electrocardiogram (EKG) or additional tests maybe required, depending on your age and the size of the policy.

The entire exam typically only takes about 30 minutes.

How Should I Prepare for My Medical Exam?

We’ve provided some helpful tips that will help you get the best possible results on your medical exam in the video below. Following these simple tips will help you pay the lowest rate possible.

Here are a few additional details:

- Eat healthy foods to make sure your blood work is as clean as possible. Really, you should always try to eat healthy (for the record, I’m a vegan).  Even if changing your diet isn’t a priority for you, you should do your best to cut out the junk food for the 7 days before the exam.
     o Green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are known to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Foods high in fiber are good for your cholesterol, too.

- Try to avoid stress and be well-rested, especially the day before the exam.

- Avoid drinking alcohol for at least the 3 days leading up to the exam. Remember, you’re trying to flush the “bad stuff” out of your blood.  You don’t want the insurance company thinking you can’t stop drinking for a couple days, either.

- On the day before the medical exam, try not to take any painkillers or stimulants, including caffeine.  Take prescription medications on schedule but avoid nasal decongestants, aspirin and ibuprofen if possible.

- Avoid any strenuous activity (exercise, heavy lifting, etc.) on the day of the exam.  That ensures you don’t have any extra protein in your urine.

- You’ll want to start fasting (not eating) for at least 8 hours before the exam.  You can drink water – that’s it.
     o It’s a good idea to drink a glass or bottle of water before the exam so you’re ready to give the urine sample.

- Don’t use any form of tobacco the day of the exam.

These medical exam tips can help you avoid abnormal test results.  Failure to follow these basic tips can put you in a lower rate class, which can cost you thousands of dollars in premiums over the life of the policy.  You may even have to retest with your primary care physician at YOUR expense.

We want to make sure you get your life insurance at the lowest rate you can qualify for.  These tips will help you do that.

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What is Time Diversification? (and what does it have to do with life insurance?)

By Byron Udell

 

There is not a financial advisor on the planet worth his salt that does not recommend diversification. 

Diversification among asset classes.  Diversification WITHIN asset classes.  “Never put all your eggs in one basket,” so they say.

Why?  Because it minimizes risk and smoothes out bumps in the road by reducing the volatility in the value of a portfolio. 

So what’s missing?

LIFE insurance.  Life insurance is a financial instrument unlike any of the above.  It’s an asset class that has characteristics that perform infinitely better under certain circumstances than any of the above.  And while an otherwise perfectly balanced, perfectly allocated portfolio may protect you against certain types of risks, it completely fails to protect you if it has no time to perform. 

Take Bob, 50, who has no life insurance, but has stocks, bonds, real estate, and cash.  The experts say Bob and his wife will have plenty for retirement when he turns 65.  But if Bob dies tomorrow — no matter how well diversified he thinks he is — his financial plan will have failed.

Life insurance is the only way to protect against the possibility that you might not be around to see your investments blossom, and not including life insurance exposes your portfolio to significant risk.

What asset class, other than life insurance, would guarantee to turn pennies into dollars?  The fact is, the odds of death are 1 out of ONE… that’s 100%!  We just don’t know when.  And if it happens before the rest of your portfolio has time to do its job, your financial plan didn’t succeed, at least with respect to your spouse, children, and grandchildren.

Adding life insurance to a portfolio—looking at is as an asset class that provides what I call TIME DIVERSIFICATION—is the ONLY way to protect against the very real possibility that you may not have time to finish the job.  NOT including life insurance in a portfolio exposes that portfolio to significant risk that could otherwise be entirely eliminated.  I’d go so far as to say that, based on the statistics in the marketplace, and my almost 30 years of experience, it may be the biggest oversight of our time. 

Take a look at this link, http://www.investopedia.com/university/risk/risk2.asp, which discusses the various different types of risk and diversification.  They totally ignore time as a risk and speak nothing about time diversification.  It’s amazing to me that the well accepted diversification paradigm could overlook this critical risk factor.  But then again, it wasn’t THAT long ago that everyone thought the earth was flat, and that the sun revolved around the earth.  It always takes time and significant energy to change a paradigm.

Fact is, if you happen to die before your time, life insurance is an asset class that delivers an ROI at death that is impossible to match.  And even if you happen to die when you’re supposed to (at your actuarial life expectancy), then its returns are STILL better than long term zero-coupon bonds.  In fact, the ROI at death, at life expectancy, is actually HIGHER than the insurance company earns on the premiums. 

Life insurance is, unfortunately, the most universally misunderstood financial product on the planet.  But when you actually look at the numbers, it’s really not that hard to understand. 

I ask you, do you think it’s likely, or even possible, that you or I will live long enough to make a bad deal out of a life insurance policy?  I don’t think so. 

And when you die, while you will likely leave behind lots of different assets, life insurance is by far the cleanest.  When set up properly, the life insurance proceeds are paid in cash within days, are income and estate tax-free, are not subject to the costs and complications of probate and, as such, can immediately be deployed for living expenses or other investments.

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Can I Still Get Life Insurance If I Use Marijuana?

By Byron Udell


I never thought I’d be writing a blog post like this, but with the “holiday” (April 20th, or 4/20) approaching, it makes sense to talk about how smoking marijuana can and will affect your life insurance rates.

Fact is, most companies will still consider you insurable if you like to indulge, whether it be recreationally or medically.  However, those companies will most likely put you in the “smoker” or “tobacco” classes, which have rates as much as 4x those assigned to otherwise healthy non-smokers.  Of course, your rate also depends on other factors like your health and lifestyle.

There are a select few companies who will give you a non-smoker, preferred rate if you only use marijuana 1-2 times a month.  There’s no way the average consumer would know which companies treat marijuana smokers favorably; that’s why comparison shopping and using a smart quote tool is so important.

Like with any health condition or lifestyle choice, it’s imperative that you’re 100% honest and forthcoming on your application.  If you're not, and they find your THC (the active chemical in marijuana) levels elevated, your whole policy can and probably will be rescinded, or voided.  Even worse, if you die, and they found out you smoked, vaped, ate, or consumed marijuana in any way, your death benefit will NOT be paid.

You should know that if you use cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, or any unauthorized prescription drugs, you WILL be denied coverage.  Also, if you have been arrested for selling or possessing marijuana, you will most likely be denied coverage.

It’s probably a good idea to stop smoking for a week or two before you get your medical exam. For more tips to help you get the best exam results, check out this short video.

All life insurance companies are different and they will quote differently.  That’s why it’s ideal to shop the market.  At AccuQuote, we do this for you!

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