When looking to get Washington Life Insurance Quotes it is important to factor in both state specific considerations, and also simple general considerations that are applicable to buying life insurance in any state.
In this article I am going to look at both sides of the coin of getting affordable life insurance in Washington, and also take a close look at how life insurance fits into the Washington economy.
To get started I am first going to present a little background information about Washington to get us warmed up.
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Washington State – A Little Background
Washington is the 18th largest state in the United States in terms of physical land area, with 71,300 square meters (approximately 240 miles wide by 360 miles long) and is located snugly in the top left corner of the United States on the border with Canada.
Its population stood at 6,724,540 in 2010, which places it as the 13th most populated state, though in reality the majority of the population of Washington are clustered around Seattle and so in many respects Washington is a state of contrasts, with high population densities in a few big cities, but at the same time massive amounts of wilderness, forests and mountains with hardly any people.
The Capital of Washington is Olympia which had a population of 46,478 in 2010, and has become something of a cultural center for musicians and artists in the region since the opening of The Evergreen State College in the city in 1967; and unlike many other smaller state capitals whose populations have tended to remain stagnant as there is a drift to larger cities, the population of Olympia has continued to grow quite strongly over the years, from 18,273 in 1960 to its current levels.
The largest city in Washington is Seattle, which has a city population of 608,660 and a metropolitan population of 3,407,848 in 2010.
Lovers of manic guitar playing may remember Seattle best as the birthplace of Jimi Hendrix, and the home to groups such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam. While coffee lovers may stare lovingly into their cup of Jo, and remember that this is also the birthplace of the Starbucks coffee chain.
If strumming your guitar whilst drinking coffee isn’t your thing, then it is also worth noting that Seattle has a higher percentage of college graduates than any other big American city, with approximately 53.8% of all residents aged over 25 holding a bachelors degree or higher.
Unfortunately, there is a certain degree of truth to the adage that it rains more in Seattle, with Seattle ranking in the top 20 cities for the numbers of days it rains every year with 140 days of measurable rain, and in the top 5 nationally for the number of cloudy days every year (226 last year).
Washington is however a relatively rich state, so the populace can afford umbrellas!
The state GDP in 2010 was $351.1 billion, which is roughly comparable to that of an entire country like South Africa ($357.26 billion) or Greece ($305.42 billion).
Washington Life Insurance – The Facts About WA Life Insurance
There are 440 Washington Life Insurance Companies who are licensed to sell life insurance in Washington, and ten of those are actually domiciled in the state.
The life insurance industry is a big provider of jobs in the state, and some 12,000 people are directly employed by life insurance companies in Washington, with a further 15,000 non-insurance jobs being supported by the sector according to the American Council of Life Insurers.
Washington is one of the most valuable regions in the country for Life Insurance Companies simply because the average amount spent on life insurance is one of the highest. On average $160,000 worth of life cover per policy holder for individual life insurance (compared to for example $55,000 per policyholder in Louisiana), and coupled with Washington’s relatively large population it’s no surprise the sector is competitive.
The residents of Washington cumulatively own 2 million individual life insurance policies, and group life insurance cover in Washington amounts to $210 billion, whilst the amount of death benefit cover for individual policyholders is $520 billion.
On a year by year basis what this amounts to is $30 billion worth of individual life insurance cover being purchased every year, and naturally there is an on-going benefit to the residents of Washington as policies mature, endowments mature, they pick up policy dividends, surrender policies or get death benefits. This amounts to an influx of cash of $6 billion each years for residents of Washington, plus another $2 billion paid out in annuity benefits.
What should be clear from all these facts and figures is that life insurance is big business in Washington, and that ultimately the amount of competition that fosters can only be good news for the Washington consumer.
To illustrate that point let’s take a look at the top ten life insurance companies in Washington based on the amount of premiums sold.
The Top Ten Life Insurance Companies in Washington
Based on figures from the Washington Insurance Department, here are the top ten life insurance companies in Washington in 2009 based on market share (premiums sold).
1/ Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company - $121,623,000
2/ New York Life Insurance Company - $110,616,000
3/ Metropolitan Life Insurance Company - $87,687,000
4/ John Hancock Life Insurance Company (USA) - $75,847,000
5/ Lincoln National Life Insurance Company - $65,637,000
6/ Prudential Insurance Company of America - $62,619,000
7/ State Farm Life Insurance Company - $59,249,000
8/ Reliastar Life Insurance Company - $43,360,000
9/ New York Life Insurance and Annuities Corporation - $39,206,000
10/ Pacific Life Insurance Company - $38,948,000
Cumulatively these top ten accounted for 37.57% of the market share during 2009, so that means that approximately 2/3rds of the insurance premiums came from all the OTHER companies.
So it really is well worth shopping around for life insurance quotes before committing to a policy, because there is a lot of depth and competition in the market.
Five Top Tips To Buying The Best Washington Life Insurance
1/ Make sure you read everything carefully and never buy insurance cover that you don’t understand!
Often times people jump in with both feet with something like life insurance and grab the first policy proposal that crosses their path, because frankly giving thought to their own demise isn’t all that pleasant, and they would sooner do something a bit more cheerful.
Understandable, but unfortunately not a lot of use when your relatives come to cash the life insurance check, and find it’s not as big as they had expected.
So make sure you do you due diligence and check out carefully what any policy does and does not include, and don't jump on the first policy you find. Make sure to get some different quotes so that you can properly compare what is on offer.
2/ Keep all the documentation safe and in a file
Life Insurance isn’t going to do your relatives any good if they don’t know you have it, and don’t know where the policy document is.
So keep it all filed away neatly so that in the event that someone goes through your papers they can find it quite easily to put in the claim.
3/ Make use of your 10 Day ‘Free Look’ Period
In Washington State you have 10 days even after you have purchased life insurance to change your mind, and the life insurance company is then obligated to return your money to you within 30 days.
So don’t suffer from buyer’s remorse! Read your policy document again and make sure it is everything you need it to be. If it isn’t then cancel it quick!
4/ Make sure you have cover in place before you cancel the old cover
It makes sense to check whether or not you are getting the best deal on life insurance every few years. But even if you want to change companies you should make sure to stagger the policy changeover, so that there is never a period when you are without life insurance.
Accidents can and do happen and it could be potentially disastrous financially for your family if something happened to you, and you didn’t have any cover.
5/ Be wary of life insurance policies that offer high returns or are sold as investments
Often life insurance companies make investment projections about how their investment portfolios might perform, and so by extension, how something like the investment portion of your Variable Life Insurance might perform.
Change the word ‘projections’ for ‘guesses’ and you have closer to the value of most of these charts.
If it is inferred by a company or an insurance agent that an investment return is somehow ‘Guaranteed’; then get them to show you in the policy document where that guarantee is written down.
Life insurance policies are essentially legal contracts between you and the life insurance company. So if it isn’t in the contract, there is no guarantee.
Washington Life Insurance – The Detail
Speaking in terms of contractual obligations, there are a series of rules and regulations that govern how insurance in Washington is regulated, and these are codified in The State Insurance Code of Washington.
Washington Life & Disability Insurance Guaranty Association
In the event of there being a Washington Insurance Company insolvency, then the Washington Life and Disability Insurance Guaranty Association would step in to help Washington Life Insurance Policyholders.