For Consumers

Tips for buying life insurance

Here are some tips to help you through the life insurance buying process:

  • Never buy coverage you don’t understand. It's the responsibility of the agent, broker or company to explain your coverage in terms you can understand.
  • Save every piece of paper explaining your coverage and your policy. Keep them on file with your policy. If the agent used a laptop computer, insist on a paper copy of what he or she showed you.
  • With every new insurance policy issued in Washington state you get a 10-day "free-look" period. If you change your mind and return the policy during the free-look period, the company must return your premium within 30 days.
  • Don’t cancel or let your old coverage expire until your new policy takes effect.
  • A life insurance policy is not an investment. If an agent or broker tries to sell you life insurance as an investment with a high return, insist he or she show you that specific guarantee in your contract.
  • Ask questions. If someone offers you a chance to replace a small policy for a larger one that doesn't cost you a lot more, watch out.
  • If you give money to an agent or broker, always get a receipt.
  • Never sign a form with blank spaces and only buy insurance from a licensed agent or an authorized company.