Happy family with life insurance

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A reliable life insurance company gives you peace of mind.

When you buy life insurance, you're buying insurance that you may have for a long time -- 10, 20 years or even lifelong. And since life insurance is not protected like your bank account might be by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, you want to make sure you are buying from a company that you trust to be around for a long time. Here are some guidelines:

Get several comparison quotes. In addition to doing life insurance comparisons on price, it will also help you judge the response service of the company or agent when you ask follow-up questions.

Research the company's financial stability. Once you have some quotes you like, you can do some quick checks by contacting five different rating agencies that rate the financial strength of insurance companies. These rating agencies are: A.M. Best, Weiss, Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's. You can usually get the ratings from their Web sites or by contacting them directly. 

Choose a life insurance company that's licensed in your state. It can be easier to get help from your state insurance department if you have any issues when the company is licensed to do business where you live. To verify this, check with your state insurance department. 

If possible, check their service and claims records. Give them a call and see if their agents or representatives seem helpful and willing to offer you advice. Has your state insurance department received any complaints about the company's service or claims record? When you shop for life insurance quotes, be sure to look at what each policy and company offers. Do they have options that you might want later down the road … like the ability to convert your policy to another type? 

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