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They're everywhere. Ads for cheap term life insurance fall out of magazines and newspapers, pop up every 3 minutes in late-night commercials and cram you mail box. The offers typically promise cheap term life insurance monthly premiums, no medical tests and, best of all,  no insurance agent will call. Now, we happen to think that a relationship with a insurance agent isn't such a bad thing, especially when you have a claimor need personal service. But we're willing to set that bias aside and just examine the facts about mail-order life insurance.

If you cannot qualify for life insurance because of your age or health, mail order life insurance with its cheap premiums and no-questions-asked policies might seem an attractive way to leave your loved ones with a few bucks to cover, as the ads say, "your final expenses." But as the old saying goes, "buyer beware." While some mail-oder insurance companies are perfectly reputable, some are not. Before you send in any money, do your research.

Check your state's department of insurance to make sure the company is licensed to sell insurance in your state. If you buy insurance from an unlicensed insurer, your beneficiaries will have no recourse to your state's insurance department if the company refuses to make good on the policy. Your intention was to provide some peace of mind for loved ones. Instead, they're trying to collect money and negotiate loopholes. You can also easily check an insurance company's profile and credit rating online at A.M Best.

Never sign any contract until you've read and fully understand every word of what you're signing. Call the company and ask them questions. If you get vague or evasive answers (or plain can't get through to a human being), let that be a big, fat red flag.

Don't be swayed by the advertising claims that no agents means cheaper insurance. Paying for those commercials, inserts and mailers costs money, too. Marketing costs are factored into the cost of premiums, so the policy may not be such a great bargain, after all.

Posted 5:08 PM

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