What things should I keep in mind when buying an insurance policy?

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about your life insurance purchase:

  • Take your time. On one hand, don’t put off an important decision that would provide protection for your family. Make sure you fully understand any policy you are considering and that you are comfortable with the company, agent and product. When you purchase a policy, make your check payable to the insurance company, not to the agent. Be sure to get a receipt.
  • After you have purchased an insurance policy, keep in mind that you may have a “free-look” period — usually 10 days after you receive the policy — during which you can change your mind. During that period, read your policy carefully. If you decide not to keep it, the company will cancel the policy and give you an appropriate refund.
  • Review the copy of your application contained in your policy. Promptly notify your agent or company of any errors or missing information.
  • If an agent or company contacts you and wants you to cancel your current policy to buy a new one, contact your original agent or company before making a decision. Surrendering your policy to buy another could be very costly.
  • If you have a complaint about your insurance agent or company, contact the customer service division of your insurance company. If you are still dissatisfied, contact your state insurance department. Most departments have a consumer affairs division that can offer help, and some have a toll-free number to respond to consumer requests.
  • Review your policy periodically or when your situation changes to be sure your coverage is adequate.