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Study says few consumers serious about buying life insurance

By Maryalene LaPonsie on December 7th, 2011

Most consumers aren't serious when shopping for life insurance, according to industry group LIMRA.

A study of consumers' experience shopping for life insurance found that more than half of all American households do not have enough life insurance coverage. However, only 22 percent of households reported seriously shopping for life insurance in the past two years. Of those households, 54 percent actually made a purchase.

The study provides a glimpse into who's shopping for life insurance and what makes them most likely to purchase a policy.

While life events often trigger the need to shop for coverage, meeting with an agent face-to-face is most likely to result in a sale. When there was face-to-face interaction of any kind during the shopping experience, 70 percent of life insurance shoppers bought a policy.

Of shoppers who requested information or quotes from life insurance companies online, just 36 percent made a purchase. Internet shoppers who later met with a sales representative were 1.5 times more likely buy a plan compared to Internet-only shoppers.

Life events trigger shopping

Major life events – getting married, having children, buying a home – are the triggers that cause many people to begin requesting life insurance quotes. LIMRA reports 41 percent of life insurance shoppers were prompted to take action by these or other life changes.

Other reasons serious shoppers began to look for life insurance include being contacted by a sales representative or financial adviser who recommended coverage (25 percent) and becoming interested in life insurance because it was offered as a work benefit (10 percent).

Once they began shopping for life insurance, younger individuals struggled more with buying decisions than their older counterparts. The decision to purchase was often complicated by questions or concerns regarding a policy's terms or value. Specifically, shoppers had difficulty with determining:

  • Whether they were getting their money's worth
  • The policy details
  • Which type of policy to buy
  • How much coverage was needed

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