In the five years that I have been writing about personal finance, I have done quite a bit of research on life insurance and other insurance products.
In that time, I’ve concluded that I’d rather do pretty much anything—including cleaning the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a toothbrush—than shop around for insurance.
If you have ever bought an insurance product, you can understand my attitude. Between the difficulty of comparing apples to apples among products and the relentless nature of high-pressure insurance salesmen, it’s no wonder that 43% of Americans have no life insurance coverage whatsoever.
But insurance is an important part of financial health, and going without necessary coverage is a terrible idea. This is where PolicyGenius comes in. This site was created to take the frustration and difficulty out of getting the insurance you need.
Here’s what you need to know about what PolicyGenius is and how it works:
What PolicyGenius Offers
PolicyGenius was founded in 2014 by Jen Fitzgerald and Francois de Lame, two former McKinsey consultants who wanted to make navigating insurance a less frustrating process. They dreamed up the idea of creating an online insurance platform that helps consumers find the coverage they need, for everything from life and long term disability insurance to pet insurance and renters insurance.
It’s not just that PolicyGenius has created a place to compare insurance products and quotes—there are plenty of online insurance marketplaces out there. What makes this site different is its commitment to meeting consumers’ needs. Fitzgerald and de Lame told Alleywatch in 2014 that “we really understand how people make decisions about insurance. We’ve built our experience around those insights, rather than a desire to simply ‘Kayak’ it.”
Unlike other sites, which simply give you the basic facts, PolicyGenius offers an excellent insurance content library so that you can understand the specific details of the policies you are investigating—as well as a one-stop shopping, unbiased advice and transparency, and licensed experts available via phone or online. But the cornerstone of the PolicyGenius experience is the Insurance Checkup tool—the only big picture insurance tool you can find anywhere.
Know What Insurance You Need with the Insurance Checkup
For consumers who aren’t sure where their coverage gaps are, the Insurance Checkup can help you figure out both how much and what kind of insurance you need. The Checkup begins with some pretty typical questions: name, gender, date of birth, zip codes, and employment status and occupation.
I was delighted to find that blogger was listed as an occupation and that “stay-at-home parent” was one of the choices listed for employment status. Right away, the Insurance Checkup makes it clear that the folks behind PolicyGenius recognize the universal need for insurance. Not every insurance salesperson or marketplace does.
From there, the tool asks you some questions to get an idea of your acceptable level of risk, as well as the usual questions about your marital status, living situation (specifically whether you rent or own your home), and the age and number of kids you have. Then, you will need to give an estimate of your income and assets, as well as your debts.
The final section of the Checkup asks about what types of insurance you already carry, covering everything from life, long term disability, and health insurance, to auto insurance and pet insurance.
Once you have completed the Checkup, PolicyGenius creates a To-Do List of items for you to look into. The entire Checkup process takes approximately five minutes to complete, and it gives you a good starting place for determining where your coverage gaps are—with no sales pitch. If you don’t need a policy, PolicyGenius will not try to sell you one. The To-Do List is set up so that you can explore your options for each item on the list in your own timeframe, while keeping all of the items available for future decisions.
Independent Insurance Broker
One of my favorite fictional insurance salesmen is Stephen Tobolowsky’s hilarious portrayal of Ned Ryerson, the insurance agent in the Bill Murray comedy Groundhog Day. “Needlenose Ned” may be an exaggeration for comedic effect, but anyone who has sat through a hard-sell presentation from an insurance agent may feel like that aspect of the movie was more like a documentary.
PolicyGenius helps you steer clear of insurance salespeople like Ned the Head because it is an independent insurance broker. As such, the site offers unbiased advice on more than two-dozen A-rated top insurance companies that have been researched and vetted by the PolicyGenius team. Your information is also kept safe with the site and will never be sold to a third-party vendor—meaning you don’t have to start dodging phone calls and emails from agents like Ned and his ilk. Bing!
It’s also important to remember that working with an independent insurance broker means that commissions and marketing fees have already been calculated into the costs you see on the site. Each insurer pays PolicyGenius a commission for each policy sold, and those commissions are included in the prices listed on the site. The policy you find on PolicyGenius will cost you the same amount, whether you purchase through the site or buy directly from the insurer. Ned can’t offer you that deal.
First Rate Customer Service
PolicyGenius was founded on the idea that insurance consumers need unbiased advice and clear decision support while comparing policies. For that reason, the site offers a non-commission-based customer service team that can help you determine what policy will best serve your needs. You can reach customer support online or over the phone from 9am-6pm EST weekdays.
In addition, once you receive a quote for a specific policy, the site provides you with a support phone number to call for any questions or concerns.
The customer support team will also help you file the paperwork to apply for the policy you have chosen. Once you have selected a specific policy, you will click on the “Apply Now” button and provide some more detailed information for your application and then submit it for review.
A dedicated expert will be assigned to you to manage your application, and your expert will guide you through the process from beginning to end. Not only will this expert handle the paperwork and help you schedule your medical exam, by they will also help you retrieve your necessary medical records and be on hand for any questions you have.
Taking the Sting Out of Shopping for Insurance
Buying adequate insurance may not be anyone’s idea of fun—but it shouldn’t have to be painful. The folks at PolicyGenius have created a tool that allows you to get expert, unbiased advice, apples-to-apples comparisons, one-stop shopping, excellent customer service, and a way to see how insurance fits in the big picture of your financial life. Learn more about PolicyGenius.