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Life Insurance

Three Things To Do Before You Buy Life Insurance

By Alexandra Macqueen • Published July 11, 2023 • 4 Min Read

If you're planning to buy life insurance, you might be worried about the kinds of questions you'll be asked. While shopping for life insurance may feel intimidating, here are three things you can do to make sure you're ready.

If you’re planning to buy life insurance, you might be worried about what you need to know and the kinds of questions you’ll be asked. But buying life insurance is different for everyone, because your needs are unique, but a little preparation can help ensure you get a policy tailored to your needs.

Here are three things you can do first to prepare.

1. Estimate how much insurance you need

Probably the most important step in preparing to buy life insurance is to get some idea of how much insurance coverage you might need. While a professional can help guide you through this decision, having a general idea of your needs can save you time.

Start by reviewing your existing financial situation and your future financial goals. Here are the kinds of questions you might ask yourself:

  • How much debt do I currently have? Include your mortgage, any car loans, lines of credit, student loans, and any other money you owe currently.
  • What future expenses do I expect? This might include the cost of raising a child, paying for post-secondary education, and saving for retirement.
  • What are other final expenses? This can include funeral costs, possible capital gains, legal fees, estate taxes, and small cash gifts for beneficiaries.

Once you’ve added these up, you’ll have a better idea of the amount of insurance that might be right for you — and you’re more prepared to get the most out of meeting with an advisor.

2. Find the right professional advisor for you

The next step is to find a professional advisor you trust.

Life insurance can be an important step in securing your financial future — helping ensure financial goals are achievable even if the unexpected happens. That’s why it’s important to find a professional who is the right fit for your family, your situation, and your goals.

What characteristics should you look for in an insurance advisor? The right advisor for you is one who:

  • Communicates well with you and your family. You and your family should be comfortable asking your advisor questions, as well as answering detailed questions about your finances.
  • Shows they have your best interests at heart. Your advisor should take the time to get to know you and build the trust required for a successful partnership.
  • Is a qualified life insurance advisor. Your advisor is there to help you understand different kinds of policies, consider your coverage options, and help you decide what best fits your needs.

How can you find an advisor who fits these qualifications?

Your best option is to interview several candidates to find the best fit. Ask friends, family and others you trust for their recommendations, or speak to a trusted organization you’ve worked with in the past. Then don’t be afraid to reach out to more than one potential advisor. Credible advisors often offer free insurance reviews with no obligation to buy. This can be another great way to find out if they’re a good fit.

3. Prepare answers for application questions

When you’re buying life insurance, your policy will be tailored just to you, based on factors like your health, your habits, and your activities. That means in addition to financial questions, you’ll need to answer questions about your health, your job, and what you do in your spare time, such as:

  • Do you smoke? Many insurers categorize people as smokers if they regularly use tobacco or nicotine in any form.
  • What kinds of activities does your work require? Are you exposed to any risks in your job?
  • What hobbies or activities do you do in your spare time? Do you participate in potentially higher-risk activities, like snowboarding or scuba diving?

In addition to answering questions like these, your overall health will probably be assessed. This information is used to ensure you’re getting an insurance quote that matches your health, as well as confirming the information is accurate. Although these questions may feel overly personal and even intrusive, they are important to ensure the policy you get is right for you.

By doing these three things, you’ll be better prepared to have a discussion about life insurance with an advisor. Knowing how much coverage you might need, the type of questions you might be asked, and being prepared to answer them honestly and completely, can help make applying for insurance easier.

Another way to prepare is to do some initial research online. RBC Insurance has tools and information for researching all aspects of your insurance needs — from calculators to help you understand how much life insurance is right for you, to information on the different types of insurance for your needs.

If you have questions about life insurance, you can contact an RBC Life Insurance Advisor who will be happy to help.


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*Home and auto insurance products are distributed by RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. and underwritten by Aviva General Insurance Company. In Quebec, RBC Insurance Agency Ltd. Is registered as a damage insurance agency. As a result of government-run auto insurance plans, auto insurance is not available through RBC Insurance in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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