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Ask the Life Insurance Expert

My husband and I are looking for term life insurance. We are in great health. We're not overweight and we have never smoked. What insurer would you recommend for a $500,000 policy on him and a $50,000 policy on me, both for 30-year terms.

You're in a good position to shop for life insurance. Because of your good health and status as nonsmokers, you should be able to qualify for the best life insurance rates for your age.

Before you get life insurance quotes, though, do some homework to confirm that those policy amounts are appropriate for both of you. Forget about simplistic formulas, such as multiplying income by a certain number or adding up your debts. Most experts recommend doing a thorough needs analysis, which considers your short-term and long-term needs as well as the resources you already have. Insure.com's Life Insurance Needs Estimator Tool can help.

Also, make sure that a 30-year term is indeed the best for your situation. The time period should be based on an adequate review of your debts, financial needs, the needs of your dependents and when those will change.

You should recalculate insurance needs every few years or whenever you go through a major life change, such as having a child, to determine whether you need less or more coverage.

You may hear about guaranteed, simplified or quick issue life insurance, which guarantees acceptance and requires no medical exam. Convenient? Sure. But these policies also have higher-than-average premiums. Because of your good health, you're much better off going through the medical underwriting process.

We can't recommend a single company for your needs. The answer will depend on a variety of factors, including the types of riders, or policy add-ons, that are important to you. The availability of certain riders and the rules for how they work vary by company.

Compare policies and life insurance quotes from different carriers. But don't go by price alone. Evaluate the life insurance companies, too. Consider only life insurance carriers that have good reputations and are on solid financial footing. Check with your state's insurance department to make sure the company is licensed to do business in your state, and review financial ratings of the company by agencies such as Standard & Poor's, Fitch Ratings, A.M. Best and Moody's Investors Service. You can find S&P ratings with Insure.com's Insurance Company Ratings Lookup Tool.

For more, see Evaluating your life insurance company.


Last updated: Mar. 30, 2012