always read the fine print

As a broker for the past 15+ years, I’ve learned that very few people will ever qualify for the life insurance rates that are advertised on TV or in periodicals. The rates advertised ALWAYS show the “Preferred Best” health rating class. Some of us may qualify for that rating class, most of us will not. If you are in perfect health but 5 pounds over “ideal weight” (according to the insurance company’s chart) you will qualify for Preferred rates, but not Preferred Best. The owner here at TMJ Corp has always jokingly said, that in order to qualify for Preferred Best rates, you need to be “A marathon runner who’s never met anyone who’s had a cold.” Now that is a bit extreme, but I think it makes the point. These ads are classic examples of bait and switch. Lower rates are shown to get a prospective client to apply, when the company “underwrites” the application and their decision comes back at less than a “Preferred Best” health rating, the agent then needs to convince the client to take the policy at the higher rate. If you are accurate up front, there are fewer surprises in the end and the client will know what to expect from the beginning. The client won’t be left with a false hope of an unattainable low rate I recently provided a client with a quote based on the health information this client provided to us. We always try to be very accurate with our quotes. All quotes are based on health rating classes. Health rating classes are determined by the insurance companies themselves, but, since we’ve been in the business for 50 years, we are able to determine, with a few questions, which rating class you should fall in to. This client was curious why the rates I provided were so much different than the rates advertised.

Here is the advertisement:

The rates I provided for this client were considerably higher than the rates shown in the above ad. I am able to quote all of the same companies that this ad is showing (and many more) but this ad is showing rates that are unrealistic to expect for many people. I believe that this and all clients appreciate our accuracy and honesty more than being mislead to believe that their rates will be lower than they qualify for. If I quote a client $10 per month and the rate comes back from the insurance company at $100 per month I should have advised the client in advance that they will likely not qualify for $10 per month and the rate will be closer to $100. And I do. All of us at TMJ do.

I’ve chopped out the name of the company placing the ad because I don ‘t need to advertise for them on my website/blog. In doing so, I’ve also chopped out the fine print, which was not legible in this scan anyway. The fine print said:

“NOTE: The sample 10 year California best class female term life premiums shown above are not specific to any individual person or insurer.”

I do not fault this company for placing this ad. There are a few women that will be able to qualify for these rates. But when men see these rates and don’t look at the fine print, they are in for a surprise when it comes time to obtain life insurance quotes.

The bottom line is … read the bottom line, the fine print to determine what rate class is being represented. Better yet, call me and I’ll help.