Select Quote is one of the biggest independent life insurance brokers representing some of the best life insurance companies in the United States.
Select Quote life insurance marketing materials emphasize their large network of insurance providers and reliance on online and telephone communications.
Overall, their goal is to provide consumers convenient access to competitive premium quotes.
With over two million clients (according to its website), Select Quote’s reach is undeniable. But before forming an opinion, let’s take a closer look at what Select Quote does, their relative strengths and weaknesses, and how they compare to competitors in the life insurance industry.
About Select Quote Life Insurance
Life insurance agents fall within one of two general categories.
“Captive agents” work directly with one insurance company, marketing only policies offered by that company.
Independent agents, on the other hand, have relationships with a network of insurance companies and can direct clients to policies offered by any of the life insurance carriers in their networks.
SQ is an Independent Broker
Select Quote is an independent insurance broker that focuses mainly on marketing life insurance.
Select Quote isn’t a life insurance company and doesn’t directly issue or underwrite policies. Instead, the company acts as a broker, marketing policies on behalf of life insurance companies in its network and helping connect potential purchasers with insurers.
Home, Auto & Medicare
Select Quote also brokers home and auto liability coverage and Medicare insurance, but life insurance—and especially term life—is their bread and butter.
Select Quote is one of the biggest players in the life insurance marketing field and has the advertising budget to prove it.
In fact, if you fall within a key life insurance purchasing demographic, you’ve almost certainly heard or seen their advertisements on radio or TV.
And their marketing is effective—evidenced by millions of dollars in new business each year and customers in every state except South Dakota.
Of course, Select Quote’s life insurance department doesn’t make money by advertising alone—that actually costs a lot of money.
The service they provide to consumers comes in the form of assistance with policy selection and application, along with relatively quick-and-easy access to relevant term life insurance rates from multiple well-regarded life insurance companies.
Basically, Select Quote helps customers compare term life insurance companies, policies and rates in hopes of identifying the best deal available.
As an independent agency, Select Quote works with a variety of insurance companies. Larger carrier networks facilitate rate competition between insurers and often help customers get a better bargain. If a customer ends up buying a life insurance policy, Select Quote receives a commission from the insurer.
So, the company doesn’t directly charge customers for the service it provides—revenue is derived from commissions on completed sales.
Is it cheaper to buy from the insurance company?
Whether you buy your life insurance from Select Quote Insurance, the actual insurance company, or another life insurance broker, such as IBUSA, the life insurance cost will be the same.
The Select Quote Life Insurance Application and Sales Process
Select Quote has a streamlined process intended to make applying for life insurance simple and less time-intensive. You start by speaking directly with a Select Quote employee over the phone or by filling out a form on their website. Initially, you provide some basic information and a general idea of the insurance you are shopping for.
Once you’ve nailed down your general requirements and situation, you complete a more thorough application with the types of data life insurers use in their underwriting. This typically includes a detailed personal and family medical history, tobacco-use status, and a checklist of potentially high-risk activities and conditions.
After submitting the necessary information, you’ll have a more in-depth telephone call with an agent, who assists in further narrowing down the ideal company and policy for your situation.
If you’re prepared to purchase coverage after seeing the available options, you’ll schedule a physical (if required for that policy), receive a formal offer, and—if you’re happy with the terms—commit to a policy.
And if that happens, you enter into a contractual relationship for life insurance with the insurance company (not with Select Quote), and Select Quote receives its fee in the form of a life insuance commission from the insurer.
What Select Quote Does Well (Pros of Select Quote)
Select Quote’s website states that the company is “the oldest and largest independent direct to consumer life insurance sales agency in the United States.”
For a business that size (and Select Quote is exceptionally big by industry standards), Select Quote has pretty good customer service.
Their representatives generally have a decent reputation for courtesy and knowledge and are individually licensed in the states in which they focus.
All things considered, the company is able to serve a remarkably wide customer base and does as good a job with its customer service as could be reasonably expected of an agency its size—though, of course, there are some customer complaints out there, and some individual representatives do a better job than others.
Efficient and Simple
Select Quote’s business model is built around efficiency and simplicity, with a streamlined application process that customers can mostly progress through at home.
Transactions are nearly exclusively conducted online or over the telephone, which can be a convenient way to speed up the insurance-shopping process but may seem impersonal to some customers who prefer face-to-face communication.
Conversely, Select Quote does require at least one telephone call, which could be an issue for customers who prefer to work exclusively online.
As an independent agent, Select Quote acts as a broker for nine different life insurance companies in every state but South Dakota.
So, in most cases, representatives can provide multiple life insurance quotes for comparison.
This approach can save consumers money by identifying the most attractive rates offered among comparable policies.
Because underwriting standards vary between companies, it’s not unusual for customers to see a notable difference between high and low quotes—especially customers who have one or two potential issues in their medical history.
Top Rated Companies
Although they only work with a small handful of companies, Select Quote’s life insurance network includes some of the most highly rated life insurance companies.
So, if you’re able to find the right policy, there’s a good chance you’ll pay lower premiums working through Select Quote than what you could get from a captive agent that only does business with one carrier.
The potential savings Select Quote advertises comes from rate competition among the insurers in its network.
Accordingly, rates available through Select Quote usually won’t be any better than rates available through another independent agent with a comparable network.
And, of course, an independent agent with a larger network of companies to offer may be able to produce a better rate.
According to the Select Quote life insurance website, they don’t favor one insurer over another when making suggestions and recommendations, which allows representatives to provide objective advice and genuinely shop for the best rates.
And they also get paid on the back end, as a commission from the life insurance company, so it doesn’t cost you anything if Select Quote can’t deliver an offer you’re happy with.
Select Quote’s Weaknesses (Select Quote Cons)
Select Quote is pretty good at what it does, but it’s important to recognize that the company’s business model isn’t suited to the needs of every potential life insurance purchaser.
Since SelectQuote represents only 9 companies, there is no way they can meet the need of every client.
With hundreds of life insurance companies in the marketplace, it pays to have options.
Many companies not represented by Select Quote represent various health and lifestyle niches that could potentially save a prospective client thousands of dollars over the life of the policy.
Term is Not Always the Right Choice
And because Select Quote’s life insurance model emphasizes efficiency and sales volume, they strongly favor term life insurance.
If you’re not sure what kind of life insurance you need, there’s a good chance Select Quote will recommend term coverage.
Term life is the simplest and usually the cheapest life insurance product—and it’s definitely useful in some situations—but it has noteworthy drawbacks.
Term policies eventually lapse, by definition, so there’s no guaranty of an eventual payout.
And term coverage doesn’t accumulate cash value and therefore has limited utility as a retirement or estate-planning tool.
Limited Permanent Insurance Policy Options
Select Quote also brokers universal life insurance, which does accrue cash value.
However, Select Quote isn’t well-adapted to brokering more complex policies.
When purchasing term life coverage, personalization is usually limited to the coverage amount and duration. Permanent policies, though, leave substantially more room for customization.
If you don’t take the time to adjust a permanent policy to your individual goals and situation, you might not end up getting the full potential benefit of the policy.
High Volume Call Center
Select Quote is essentially a call-center and online marketplace that prioritizes volume and efficiency (it takes a lot of sales to support a big ad budget).
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that business model in the appropriate context.
If you’re looking for a simple, cheap term policy to act as a financial backstop in the event of untimely death, Select Quote can do that pretty well.
But, if you’re in the market for a more versatile permanent life insurance policy tailored to your personal lifestyle, retirement or estate plan, Select Quote’s business model isn’t designed for that kind of personalization.
No Whole Life Insurance
Whole life insurance is an afterthought, if considered at all, in Select Quote’s marketing. For plenty of insurance shoppers, though, whole life proves to be the best option.
For consumers, whole life combines life insurance with a recession-proof, fixed-rate savings component that’s valuable in retirement planning.
For business owners, whole life provides a guaranteed funding source for succession planning and buy/sell agreements.
And, in the estate-planning context, whole life ensures ready cash for taxes, final expenses, estate debts, or to fund a trust for the long-term care of a dependent loved one without risk of Medicaid disqualification.
Whole life is not the right pick for everyone, so if you’re a better candidate for term coverage, Select Quote’s narrow focus isn’t as big of a factor.
Notably, though, not all independent life insurance agents focus on one type of coverage, and some independent agents can assist clients in purchasing all types of life insurance coverage.
Tough to Meet the Needs of Non-Standard Clients
Although Select Quote’s volume and efficiency-based approach allows it to capably serve a large number of customers, the approach also limits Select Quote’s ability to devote ample attention to customers with nonstandard needs.
For instance, customers who are generally eligible for life insurance but have an imperfect medical history—or seniors older than most insurers’ normal application ranges—are less likely to find the right coverage working with an agent with less time to spend on each individual applicant.
An independent agent who can commit greater attention to each client and offers a more extensive network of insurers is much more likely to help clients with more complex profiles find the company with the best rates.
Be Prepared for the Upsell
It’s also worth noting that, in addition to life insurance, Select Quote also markets home and auto coverage, so you may hear a pitch for other insurance products even if you’re only interested in life insurance.
That doesn’t bother some people, but if you have a hard time saying “no,” or if “upselling” is one of your pet peeves, your experience might be better with a broker who focuses on life insurance.
Generally speaking, Select Quote’s status as an independent broker is a good thing—it allows customers wider selection and enables greater objectivity by Select Quote’s representatives when making recommendations.
According to Select Quote’s website, though, they only have existing contractual relationships with eleven companies (and not every company offers every type of coverage).
Nine life insurance carriers isn’t bad. It gives you more selection than you’d get with many agents. But there are independent agents out there who work with considerably more carriers, allowing customers much more selection than Select Quote.
By way of comparison, IBUSA has relationships with dozens of life insurance carriers and can usually offer a greater variety of policy options and a larger number of rate quotes.
Is Select Quote Life Insurance a Good Option?
If you do a Google search for Select Quote you will see the option asking “Is Select Quote a Scam?” We are not sure how you could come to this conclusion as Select Quote is a fairly good option if you’re fairly certain you want term life insurance and you don’t mind limited individual attention.
Their streamlined approach and customer service typically make the application process quick and easy, and their network of inexpensive life insurance companies can produce competitive rates in most cases.
Not Ideal if You Need Permanent Coverage
If you need life insurance personalized for an estate, retirement, or business-succession plan—or you want a policy to do more than just provide a time-limited death benefit—you’re probably better off with an independent agent whose business model is more conducive to permanent life insurance and personalized policies.
Select Quote strongly emphasizes term coverage, so customers who would be better off with whole life or universal life may not end up with the right policy.
Dozens of Choices vs Nine
Similarly, if you want the most affordable term life insurance, but you have an existing health condition, a dangerous hobby or occupation, then seeking out an agency that works with dozens of life insurance companies will probably be a better choice.
You see, finding the best policy for older applicants or applicants with medical issues sometimes takes additional legwork.
Select Quote’s volume-based business model can disincentivize the extra individual attention needed for customers with unique needs.
Buying life insurance should be a relatively painless process. If you’re inside Select Quote’s term-life wheelhouse, they can make finding a cheap term life policy relatively simple.
But if you anticipate needing more individual attention or are in the market for permanent life insurance, there’s a good chance you’d be better off with an independent agent who can offer more balanced guidance and a more personalized experience.