A client left me a message to call over the weekend and when I caught up with him today he had quite a story to tell. He has had a policy in force with me for 7 years, a 15 year term insurance policy.

As his story goes he went to the ER about 6 weeks ago with severe diverticulitis and a perforated bowel. The doctor told him that if he had waited a few more hours he might not have survived. After the bowel resection and a 5 week stay in the hospital he got out about a week ago and, especially since his wife is permanently disabled, they had a discussion about the state of his life insurance, hence the message left for me.

I would have returned his call on the weekend but I was on my way home from a vacation. Being very anxious about the whole insurance question he decided to go online and see what a new policy would cost. He called the largest on line agency and told his story to an agent there. He reviewed all of his health history including his brush with death and subsequent 5 weeks in the hospital. He told them he had just discontinued use of a colostomy bag within the past week.

The rates that were quoted were preferred plus rates, the best rate class available. I shared with my client the reality that the agent he talked to was either stupid or was blatantly practicing bait and switch, a practice where you are quoted low to rope in your business and then when the agent delivers the bad news several weeks later, you get a song and dance about his bad news being the best you will find so you might as well put yourself out of your misery and put it in force.

I know! You say you would never put the policy in force if the rate changed, but bait and switch isn’t tried because it “might” work. It works and the crooked agents that do it know it and the agencies that support the practice know it. They all know it’s illegal but they also know they can always claim ignorance.

So, my client is quoted preferred plus rates by stupidquote.com and the reality is no insurance company is going to touch him at all until he is fully recovered, at least six months, possibly a year due to the high risk of post surgical infection with something like a perforated bowel. With bugs like MRSA around companies like to know that you are past that possibility. In a year or so, with no complications, there may be a shot at standard but even that is going to be a bit of a long shot. He will eventually be able to get standard rates and maybe in 5 to 10 years he might be able to get better.

Bottom line. Think it out before you seek quotes. Are you really a picture of near perfect health, past and present? Have you been hospitalized or had emergency surgery in the last 5 years? Do you really believe you should qualify for the same rates as someone who is in perfect health? If someone listens to your dramatic story of life and death and quotes you the best rate class, don’t bite. They shouldn’t be in the business if that’s the best answer they can give you.

FYI. My client is going to hold on to his current policy which is in force at preferred rates and we will review and shop it once he is completely past this incidence. We discussed conversion as an option if things don’t go as planned.