Thinking of buying life insurance but confused between the offline and online options? If yes, let us look at the pros and cons of buying an insurance policy online and offline. The growing preference of people for handling transactions online, along with the situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, has boosted the popularity of online options.
Let us find out more about these two options for buying a life insurance policy.
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Online vs Offline Purchase
Offline purchase is done physically by visiting the office of an insurance company or vice versa, while an online purchase can be made directly from the insurance company or an online aggregator.
Some major differences when buying life insurance online versus buying it offline are:
Informed Decision Making-The internet provides you access to information about what is life insurance and its different plans. You can go through the information, compare different plans, and choose the one that suits your requirements. You can also read about the different insurance companies and compare their performance on different parameters, such as the claim settlement ratio, customer service, premiums, benefits, etc. Reviews of existing customers can also provide you with a good idea about a specific plan and the insurance company. Several online insurance marketplaces also offer you the opportunity to buy a life insurance policy online, that too, after comparing several options from different insurance companies. In contrast, when you decide to buy offline, you need to approach the agents of different insurance companies to know about their products and features.
Convenience- Online purchases are more convenient than offline, since the former can be completed, anywhere, and at any time. You can buy a policy any time of the day. However, if you are going through an agent, you will need to visit the office of the life insurance provider or the agent during working hours only. Online purchases are more convenient and result in a lot of time and effort being saved.
Access to correct Information– When you buy a policy online, you have access to all the documents, terms, and conditions on the screen. You can even compare different policies and choose the one that suits you. However, when you buy offline through an agent, there are high chances of the agent misleading you with false promises. They may provide incorrect information or hide facts in their efforts to lure you to buy a policy so that they can earn commission on it. You can use an online life insurance calculator to know how much premiums you need to pay for a policy of a specific amount. But when you buy through the agents, you have to go by the information provided by them.
Cost of Buying- The online purchase of life insurance turns out to be cheaper than the offline option, because of the absence of agent commissions and intermediary costs. The premium that is charged when you a buy policy online is lower than the one when you buy offline. This happens because a portion of every premium paid in the offline mode is used to pay the agent’s commission or brokerage.
Accuracy– When you opt for the online purchase of a life insurance policy, you fill out the form and your personal/other details yourself. This reduces the chances of errors that are likely to occur when someone else fills the form on your behalf. The chances of errors happening are quite high when you buy offline, and the forms are filled by the agents on your behalf. Such mistakes may appear to be simple but can cost you dearly during the claim settlement process and may even result in denial of the claim. Again, when you are filling the application online, in the case that any of the columns are left unfilled, your form will not be accepted. In contrast, your agent may forget to fill a column or leave it blank. This can create problems at a later stage.
Level of Customer Support– Many argue that a major benefit of buying a policy through an insurance agent is the quick resolution of all your doubts and problems. The agent will not only help you at all stages, including the claim filing process, but also liaison with the insurance company on your behalf for the completion of various formalities. Your agent will also send you timely reminders about the due premium payments, thereby ensuring that you are regular in your payments, which means your policy remains in force. Recent years have seen insurance companies offering 24/7 support through chat boxes to resolve all customer queries. They also send regular reminders to the policyholders about the due premium payments.
To conclude, the online purchase of a life insurance policy is more convenient and timesaving, by offering you access to lower premiums and higher sum assured. Offline purchases involve personal interaction with the agent, who offers continued support.