Five unconventional life insurance tips

For most people, buying life insurance is typically very low on the priority list. It’s just not something we tend to think about day to day. Despite that, it is a very important financial planning tool that is essential for protecting your family and loved ones.

When it comes to buying life insurance, three basic questions seem to come up frequently:

  1. Do I really need life insurance?
  2. How much life insurance do I need?
  3. What kinds of insurance should I buy?

As much as these questions are very important to buying life insurance, there are some other life insurance tips to be aware of.

Be wary when replacing your insurance

One of my financial advisor friends says when he does not want to talk to people on an airplane, he always make a point of telling the chatty person next to him he sells life insurance for a living. This is because the roots of negativity stem from the old stereotype of the insurance salesperson that wore a plaid suit and went door-to-door peddling life insurance policies.

As much as the insurance industry has changed, there are still some bad life insurance sales people around. Some people of these sales people encourage clients to replace existing life insurance policies simply to pad their wallets and close a deal rather than for the good of the client. Although there may be times where replacing a life insurance policy makes sense, be careful when cancelling an existing whole life or universal life policy. Make sure you get a second or third opinion before you trigger potential surrender charges and lose any preferred rates.

Be careful when selecting a no medical life insurance plans

No medical life insurance policies can be attractive if you have health issues or concerns of being uninsurable. Remember that these policies carry higher premiums and lower face amounts than traditional life insurance policies.

Typically there are two types of no medical life insurance plans:

  1. Simplified issue policies usually have no medical tests but with a questionnaire containing up to a dozen health questions
  2. Guaranteed issue policies have no medical tests and no health questions.Guaranteed issue plans have death benefits which are limited to a return of premium plus interest in the first two policy years.

Non-medical life insurance are designed for applicants with significant health issues.

Avoid accidental death insurance

Many Canadian life insurance companies heavily market accidental death insurance to unsuspecting consumers. I’ve seen so many people who think they have life insurance but really only have a low cost accidental death insurance policy. Accidental death policies are very profitable to insurance companies, because they have a very low claims rate. In fact, less than 3% of all life insurance claims are paid out because of death by accident.

Use a life insurance broker

Many life insurance agents are still ‘captive agents’ which means they only sell insurance products from one company. Life insurance brokers will shop the market to many life insurance companies instead of just one company which increases the chance of buying better products at better rates.

Don’t get fooled by buying just the cheapest

When buying term insurance, it’s easy to believe that it makes sense to buy the cheapest policy. However, there are times where the cheapest now gets much more expensive later. Some insurance companies use low initial premiums as a type of loss leader to get the sale but then they make it up by jacking up the cost at renewal time.

Just like anything else, remember that it makes sense to do your homework and hopefully these life insurance tips help you when you shop around for any life insurance product.


  1. Shannon-ReadyForZero

    Thanks for sharing this information! Life insurance policies seem so complicated but I know I have to start learning more as I get older. This is very helpful!

  2. Carrie Smith

    I never knew the tip about finding a life insurance broker. But that makes sense. I’ll have to check that out. Thanks!

  3. Life Insurance

    When I write that, I’m biased. When Jim writes this, he’s….just plain correct :). All are excellent, very astute points.

    One point of clarification on the last point about renewal premiums on life insurance. Years ago comparing renewal premiums was a viable strategy. We would do present value cost comparisons over time to factor in these renewal premiums. However in today’s marketplace, everyone’s renewals suck. If you purchase a term life insurance policy you should expect that you won’t ever want to renew the policy in any case – the renewal premiums will be 5 to 10 times the premiums in the initial term.

    As a result, you should expect that you will not renew your term life insurance policy. Either purchase a term that’s long enough to cover off the entire duration of your need, or if you purchase a shorter term assume you will either purchase a new term policy (with new medical exam) or convert your term policy to a permanent life insurance policy (if you are unable to take a new medical exam). That ability to switch to a permanent life insurance policy without a medical is an important fall back option, and it’s why I only recommend term policies that have guaranteed conversion to permanent life insurance as part of the contract.

    • Dan

      Wow, thanks for the addition! The option to convert to permanent life insurance is really a must-watch-out-for in the contract, so true.

  4. Select Your Term

    If you are confused in taking insurance policies then these five tips will solve your problem very easily and you will get the best and beneficial insurance policy. Nice post with informative information.

  5. Daniel Johnson

    It’s no wonder we don’t think about life insurance day to day. Death isn’t something we generally like to think about at all. As a result, many people fail to properly prepare for it. Life insurance isn’t for everyone, but is a must for anyone with a family of dependents. The important thing is to keep the topic on top of mind so people will act on it before it’s too late.

  6. Mary Grace

    Hi Jim, I enjoyed reading your post. This is a great tips not only for beginners but for those who wants to adjust their life insurance.

    I want to ask, why did you say we should avoid accidental death insurance? Please explain further. Thanks!

    • Brian So

      Because your beneficiaries’ need for the death benefit should not depend on whether or not you died from an accident. If your beneficiaries need $500,000 for financial support upon your death, the way you die does not affect this amount and therefore is of no importance.

  7. Santanu

    Buying a cheap insurance has become a trend these days as people think they are done with their part. When the fact is these people hardly realize the importance of a life insurance. One should know why he/she is buying that life cover and accordingly look for the best product irrespective of premium amount.

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