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Where should I purchase insurance?

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We can't tell you what insurer to choose, but we can tell you that you'll be able to buy insurance almost anywhere, especially simple products such as term life insurance. The days of depending on a local insurance agency for everything are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. First off, Internet quote sites enable online insurance purchases. Beyond the impact of the Internet, recent changes in federal law have paved the way for banks and brokerages to get into the insurance business.

Depending on the type of insurance, your options will include some subset of Internet websites; telephone numbers for direct insurance companies (those that don't work through agents); banks; brokerages; and celebrity-pitched, late-night TV offers. Of course, local agents are still an option -- both independent (that represent a number of insurance companies) and representatives for a specific company.

Thanks to the Internet, you've got the latest facts at your fingertips and are entering the insurance transaction stage as a highly educated consumer.