Your Role When Purchasing Insurance

Understanding what you are purchasing when buying insurance will help avoid misunderstandings later.

Please take a moment to review Council’s checklist of questions to consider when looking to purchase insurance or work with an insurance agent, salesperson, or adjuster.

If you have additional questions or concerns about an insurance agent, salesperson, or adjuster, please contact us.

  • See licensing details for an individual insurance licensee or company: Search the Licensee Directory for:
    • Whether an individual or company is currently licensed as an insurance agent, salesperson, or adjuster in BC, and
    • The type of insurance a licensed person or company can sell.
  • Look for any disciplinary action taken against an agent, salesperson or adjuster: Search disciplinary decisions.
  • Ask for information about disciplinary action taken on an individual, agency, or firm — including any licence restrictions or conditions: Contact our Regulatory Services Department.

Have More Specific Insurance Licence Questions?

Your Role When Purchasing Insurance

  • Be as accurate and concise as you can: Provide the insurance agent with accurate information to the best of your knowledge, and be clear about what insurance coverage you’re looking for, and why — this helps the agent to better assess your needs, and provide you with the most appropriate insurance product options.
  • Give reasonable projections or estimates when requesting an insurance quote: You may need to provide the insurance agent with projections, estimates, or assumptions about your personal information to get an insurance quote. Provide as reasonably accurate information as you can — a quote is not an insurance policy guarantee, and a change in your personal information may significantly affect the quote.
  • Take the time you need to ensure you understand what you are buying: Ask questions regarding the product(s) being recommended:
    • Is the policy you are about to purchase, replacing a different insurance policy? If yes, why is it being replaced — and what will happen to the old insurance policy?
    • If you don’t want the policy anymore, will you be charged a fee to cancel it?
    • Are the premiums guaranteed to stay the same, or will they change at some point in the future — and why might they change?
    • What date does your coverage come into effect?
    • Do you know what is not covered by your policy? Sometimes knowing what is not covered, is as important as knowing what is covered.
    • Are the premium projections guaranteed, or are they estimates based on today’s best guess of future interest rates? This could change how long you must pay for your life insurance policy.
    • If you borrow money to purchase insurance, what will happen if your policy decreases in value?
  • Review the restrictions on your temporary insurance coverage: Some forms of life insurance will have temporary insurance coverage while the insurance company is underwriting the policy. Such temporary insurance is usually subject to many restrictions, so take the time to ensure you understand what those restrictions are, and how they may affect you.
  • Find out what will happen if you change your mind: Ask your insurance agent what the consequences are if you decide to change or cancel your coverage; for example, in six months, or on a life insurance policy, in two years.
  • Have a written record of your conversations with your insurance agent: Always feel free to ask your insurance agent or adjuster to confirm any transaction in writing. Take as detailed notes as possible of your correspondence with your insurance agent or adjuster, including date, time, and location, especially when:
    • You give your agent or adjuster instructions to act on your behalf to make a change of any type, for example to take a loan, or agree to any settlement.
    • The agent or adjuster confirms important issues to you verbally.
  • Read all proposals carefully: Take the time you need to review the information provided by your insurance agent, and ask as many questions as you need to clarify details.
  • Clarify the acronyms: Ask your insurance agent to explain any acronyms you don’t understand; for example, “DSC” (Deferred Sales Charge).

If you have additional questions or concerns about an insurance agent, salesperson, or adjuster, please contact us.